Archive for Financial Planning Posts

published in Change, Death, Financial Planning, Grief, Life After Loss, Money, Prosperity, Widowhood by Maryanne | December 20, 2018 | 2 Comments

This is the 5th and final blog in the Fall 2018 Life After Loss blog series: 

Grief & Money Go Together Like Flies & Honey

 

In other words, they don’t.

Unfortunately, they do tend to dance into our lives, hand in hand, at the same time…like some sort of poorly-matched dynamic duo.

On some deeper level, we may perceive the money we receive, as the result of a loved one’s death, as “blood money.” And because of this, much to our dismay we may find ourselves giving it away – in one form or another – as fast as possible.

But believe me, this is rarely intentional.

So what’s going on?

“If you come into big money when you’re not ready for it on the inside, the chances are your wealth will be short-lived and you will lose it.”

– T. Harv Eker

Why?

Because, as one of my all-time favourite authors explains:

“It’s hard to hold on to what we don’t believe we deserve, whether it’s money, love, or success.”

– Sarah Ban Breathnach

But why, for Heaven’s sake, wouldn’t we believe we “deserve” the money?

Because if a sizeable chunk of change has come our way as the result of the sudden death (or not so sudden) of a loved one, we may feel guilt. Even if we had absolutely nothing to do in bringing about the death of our loved one, we may still experience guilt…although we may not be consciously aware of it.

But WHY would we feel guilty?

Because we are still here…alive and hopefully healthy (although probably not very happy) and yet our loved one’s life is over. It’s called survivor’s guilt and although it is not rational, it is very real. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to last long – if diagnosed. The problem, of course, is that it often isn’t diagnosed. Rather, the fallout of survivor’s guilt manifests – often for years to come – in our choices, our lives, our actions, our habits, our relationships and oh yes, our bank account.

Whether we like it or not, our ability to make prudent financial decisions in the wake of a significant loss is often hampered by the fact that we may be spending money in an attempt to make ourselves feel better. We might be trying to fill the void in our lives – and the Grand Canyon-sized hole in our hearts – with stuff.

Does it work? In the short term, sort of. In the long term, no.

The temporary high that comes with spending does not – cannot – fill the emotional and spiritual void in our hearts and lives…although it can certainly fill our homes and closets with copious amounts of clutter and crap. As with the drug addict needing the next high, the hit that comes with buying something soon subsides and the quickest way to get that quasi-good feeling again is to spend.

I strongly suspect that when we are in the depths of grief, we also spend to feel some semblance of control. If our loved one has been oh-so-unfairly yanked from us, we learn a very brutal life lesson about just how little control we have. And I think it is human nature to not take particularly kindly to this realization. So to compensate, we may choose to go shopping and buy whatever the heck we want…because we can. We may not be able to financially afford this activity but in the short term, the sense of power it temporarily gives us seems worth the long-term ramifications.

But real power – authentic power – doesn’t come from buying things. It can’t. Authentic power has to do with our souls and our purpose for being here. Yes, money plays a significant role in us fulfilling our purpose…but the soul’s currency is not cash. It is love and service, kindness and compassion.

The next time you go to purchase something, ask yourself: what is you are really trying to buy?

Finally – but perhaps most importantly when it comes to the dynamic duo of grief & money – the reality is that we may be shocked to discover that the death of a loved one has caused a hurt that is, unbelievably, far worse than we ever could have imagined.

This passage from the book, Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence, captures beautifully what I suspect may be going on below the surface in the wake of experiencing an incredibly painful loss:

“And dimly she realized one of the great laws of the human soul: that when the emotional soul receives a wounding shock, which does not kill the body, the soul seems to recover as the body recovers. But this is only appearance…Slowly, slowly the wound to the soul begins to make itself felt, like a bruise, which only slowly deepens its terrible ache, till it fills all the psyche. And when we think we have recovered and forgotten, it is then that the terrible after-effects have to be encountered at their worst.”

In other words: even though some time may have passed since our loss, the horrific hurt we have experienced – the wounding of our soul – may be just starting to make its way to the surface. Choose wisely how you handle that hurt. Spending and/or giving away more money than you can afford will, in the long run, cause more harm than good.

Money is sacred. Money is freedom. But with freedom comes responsibility.

“If you expect your money to take care of you, you must take care of your money.”

– Suze Orman

If you suspect that I speak so passionately on this subject matter because of personal experience, you’d be right. I have learned the hard way that spending money one cannot afford to spend – whether that’s buying stuff, donating to charity, gift-giving, trying to make the world a better place through funding financially unsustainable projects, and so on – does not bring a loved one back. It does not make people love you more. It does not right a wrong.

What it does do is put you in a financially precarious position that can jeopardize your future and rob you of the freedom to forge a new path of your choosing.

If you have experienced the loss of a loved one and are struggling with how to make prudent financial decisions, my wish for you this coming year is to get the professional guidance you need to get back on track…your track to a financially sustainable future.

Will I be blogging more about grief & money in the future?

You can bet your bottom dollar I will. If you want to receive these blogs, be sure to subscribe to the Life After Loss blog series (they will resume in mid-2019).

In the meantime, you may find our Potent Prosperity Principles daily quote cards of use (but if you are taking my advice and curbing your spending, you don’t have to buy the cards! There is a link in the blog where you can read all 30 quotes).

But if you do wish to order a set of the quote cards ($7.95 for set of 30 cards), please visit our Etsy store.

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here

 

 

 

 

published in Change, Financial Planning, Gratitude, Inspiration, Money, Prosperity, Quotes by Maryanne | November 13, 2018 | No Comment

Potent Prosperity Principles Quote Cards Now Available!

 

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

– Benjamin Franklin

Interested in attracting more money, prosperity & abundance into your life?

Check out our brand new quote cards, “Potent Prosperity Principles.”

The goldfish artwork on this set of quote cards was created by Melanie Pope. We chose to use the image of the goldfish because according to Feng Shui, a fish represents wealth and prosperity (the actual word in Chinese for fish also translates to abundance).

There are 30 cards in a set. Each card is 2.5 inches x 2.5 inches. The goldfish is on the front of each card and then on the back of each is a different quote.

 

Here are some more sample quotes: 

“The habit of managing your money is more important than the amount.”

– T. Harv Eker

“There are many roads to prosperity, but one must be taken. Inaction leads to nowhere.”

– Robert Zoellick

“It’s hard to hold on to what we don’t believe we deserve, whether it’s money, love, or success.”

– Sarah Ban Breathnach

To read all 30 quotes, please click here.

Suggested Uses

These powerful prosperity reminders are great to keep for yourself…we suggest you put them in a dish and read one every morning. The sets also make delightful gifts for family & friends.

These quotes are also the perfect thank you gift for clients of financial planners!

Pricing

The quote cards are $7.95 per set (plus $2 shipping) or 2 sets for $14.95 (plus $2 shipping).

To purchase single or 2-packs, please visit the PGP on-line store. 

For larger quantities, please e-mail us for bulk pricing & to order.

Other Quote Card Sets by Pink Gazelle Productions

Wise Owl Wisdom Inspirational Quote Cards

Life After Loss Daily Quote Cards

About Pink Gazelle Productions Inc

We are a Canadian company that was started by Maryanne Pope in 2002. We create literary, theatrical and cinematic works that strive to challenge, enrich and inspire the lives of both artist and audience. Our tagline is Authentic Lives; Authentic Works. To keep in the PGP loop, please click here to subscribe to Maryanne’s blog, Weekly Words of Wisdom.

 

published in Achieving Your Dreams, Book Reviews, Dreams/Goals, Financial Planning, Inspiration, Money by Maryanne | February 23, 2016 | No Comment

Money Matters Part 2 – Saving Saavy for the Not-So-Young

money tree

“The best time to plant an oak tree was 20 years ago…the second best time is today.”

Chinese Proverb

In my recent blog, The Greatest Financial Gift to Give a Child Won’t Cost YOU a Cent, I wrote about the importance of encouraging young people to start putting aside money on a regular basis to build a significant-sized nest egg.

The numbers, of course, speak for themselves…when it comes to getting compound interest to work its magic, time is the key ingredient.

But what about all those people who don’t have 40 or 50 years left to save for retirement?

Well, according to financial expert, David Bach, it’s never too late to start. “Even if you’re starting late,” Bach writes in his book, Start Late; Finish Rich, “you can still amass quite a respectable amount of money.”

And you don’t have to be earning some sort of mega annual income either. In fact:

“How much you earn has almost no bearing on whether or not you can build wealth.”

David Bach, Start Late; Finish Rich

Rather, explains Bach, “It’s not how much we earn, it is how much we spend.” And some of that spending can easily be trimmed by looking at what Bach calls the “Latte factor.” If, for example, you are currently buying a fancy coffee every day for $5 – and you instead saved and invested that $5 per day, you could actually build a nice little sum of money.

Here are some numbers 🙂

If you save $5 a day ($150/month) and got an average 10% return on your money (compounded annually), then in 10 years, you would have $30,727. But in 30 years, you would have $339,073.

Now, if you double your savings and were able to save $10 a day ($300/month) and got an average of 10% return on your money (compounded annually), then in 10 years, you’d have $61,453. But in 30 years, you’d have $678,146. Now we’re talkin’ – especially if you put that $3600 a year into a TFSA as then that money can be withdrawn tax-free.

And let’s say you can afford to put aside $20 a day ($600/month) and got an average of 10% return (compounded annually), then in just 20 years, you would have $455,621. But in 30 years, you’d have $1,356,293.

Now of course, the stock market at the moment isn’t exactly reflecting a 10% rate of return. And you’d be lucky to find a GIC for 2% these days, let alone 10%. Fair enough. But building wealth by regular saving and prudent investing – regardless of our age – isn’t usually a quick rich scheme.

Rather, it is slow and steady wins the race, even if you’re just starting that race in your mid-forties. Because historically, the stock market has provided investors with a decent average return on their money. Between 1900 and 2012, the average total return/year of the Dow Jones Industrial Average was approximately 9.4% and that, of course, includes the crash of 1929.

Looking at the stock market returns over shorter chunks of time, the 1990’s, for example, were a phenomenal decade with the average return per year being 18.17%. The next decade (2000 to 2009) was not so great: 1.07%. But then in the following three years (2010 to 2013), the average return was 16.74%.

“What counts is your time in the market, not market timing.”

– Investment Funds Institute of Canada

Alas, David Chilton, in his book, The Wealthy Barber Returns, suspects the stock markets may have more rocky times ahead in the short term. “Going forward,” writes Chilton, “we might have to deal with “muddle-through” financial markets fighting the headwinds of excessive public and private debt and the resultant slow economic growth.”

I suspect he’s right (but then again, that also means that there are – and will likely continue to be – some tremendous buying opportunities in the markets).

According to Stats Canada, personal debt is on the rise: Canadians owed almost $1.64 for every dollar of disposable income they earned in the third quarter of 2015. In 1990, this figure was about 90 cents.

And on the subject of personal debt: if one is carrying any sort of a balance on their credit card and only paying the minimum monthly payments, accumulating any sort of wealth is going to be extremely difficult.

Here’s a powerful example from Start Late, Finish Rich:

If you owe $10,000 on a credit card and pay only the minimum payment (with an interest rate of 19.98%), it will take you more than 37 years to get out of debt – and before you do, you will have forked out nearly $19,000 in interest charges.

Yikes.

“Credit cards allow us to act wealthier than we are,” explains Chilton in The Wealthy Barber Returns, “and acting wealthy now makes it tough to be wealthy later.”

Yup.

So what to do? Well, I think this observation speaks volumes:

“When I sit down with people who have saved sufficiently throughout their lives, I see three common denominators: 1) They paid themselves first; 2) They started young, or if not, they compensated with increased savings rates; and 3) Their debt management followed the approach of “Owe No!”

David Chilton, The Wealthy Barber Returns

As for how much to pay yourself, experts suggest you set aside 10% to 15% of your gross income – especially if you’re starting late in the game to save.

And if you have significant credit card debt, David Bach suggests your first step is to call your credit card company and ask for a lower interest rate. And if they won’t give you a lower rate, then find a credit company that will – and transfer your balance.

Interestingly, however, Bach does NOT suggest you pay down debt first and THEN start saving. Rather, he strongly suggests you do both!

But I reckon if a person is concerned about their financial future, perhaps the worst thing they can do is…nothing at all. For it is better to plant a small seed that will grow into a little oak tree than plant no seed whatsoever 🙂

Related blogs by Maryanne:

The Greatest Financial Gift to Give a Child Won’t Cost YOU a Cent

The Magic of Compound Interest – Why Geometric Progression Matters

Tales, Tears & Triumphs – Transforming Your Relationship to Money

A Great Gift Gone Bad – A Cautionary Tale about Investing Properly for a Child’s Education

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and the Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive Maryanne’s weekly blog, please sign up here.