Financial Wellness

Rewiring Your Brain for Higher Earnings

In my book, Overcoming Underearning, there’s a story about a snail climbing a cherry tree in the middle of winter. A beetle looks down, spies the snail slowly inching up the frozen bark, and cries out, “There ain’t no cherries up here.”

Unfazed, the snail replies, “There will be by the time I get there.”

That little snail offers us a potent formula for financial success. Think big. Act small. And, no matter what, never, ever stop until you attain your goal.

The idea is that if you do something everyday, no matter how small, no matter how brief, you will eventually arrive at your destination.

But it’s not just the practical, external steps that matter. The inner work is a critical factor.

Willpower Won’t Work! Rewire to Spend Less

You swear, starting today, you’re going to curb your spending. And you really mean it. Until….

You spy an online ad for this adorable summer dress that’s to die for. Later, you flip through the Costco catalogue and that Vitamix Blender you’ve been eyeing is on sale.

Without thinking, you whip out your card, make your purchase and you feel great. Until the bill comes. Then you remember your vow and beat yourself up for not having more will-power.

BUT WAIT! According to the latest research, all the will power in the world may not be enough. Blame it on your brain.

A recent study did brain scans on people who planned to buy with credit cards and those planning to use cash. They discovered a notable disparity in brain activity between the two groups.

“Buying on credit doesn’t just ease shoppers’ inhibitions,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “It actively encourages purchases.”

The Conversation No One Wants to Have. But You’ll Be Sorry If You Don’t.

This year would’ve been my father’s 95th birthday. It got me thinking about the day I went to my mother, wondering what my Dad, who was seriously ill, had planned for her after he passed.

I was terrified to ask her that question. When I finally screwed up the courage, she made it abundantly clear: this was not a conversation she wanted to have.

I made it even clearer: avoidance was not an option. Here’s what happened next:

1. We had “The Talk.” I had Mom sit down with Dad and look at all their financial documents: bank statements, investments, estate planning, etc. This was not, by any means, an easy conversation. Nerves were frayed. Mom glazed over. Dad lost patience. I kept scratching my wrist (a nervous habit) until it bled. But by the end, Mom knew where every penny was and what arrangements he had (and hadn’t) made.

2. We assembled “ The Team.” My Dad was very much a do-it-yourselfer. Mom needed the support of professionals. First my sisters and I found an estate lawyer and together my parents created a very good, tax efficient estate plan. Then we helped her find an investment advisor and a CPA. She still meets with her team on a regular basis to this day.

The Trinity of Trust

Years ago, I trusted my husband with my money. He was a stockbroker after all. But, alas, he lost almost everything. After our divorce, I was terrified to trust anyone again.

Then at some point it dawned on me. I couldn’t just ignore money. I needed to start trusting myself. But how? I was financially clueless.

If you’re in a similar situation, let me introduce you to what I’ve come to call the Trinity of Trust. It’s how I began the journey of reclaiming my power and taking financial responsibility

As I spent time connecting with each point on this triangle, I found myself building a firm foundation of trust in myself, in others who were trustworthy, and in the my Higher Power.

Are You a Victim of Financial Abuse? 10 Red Flags

Financial abuse is a serious form of domestic violence, but no one ever really talks about it.

While financial abuse is devastating, many, like me, may be totally unaware it’s happening to them.

In the beginning, financial abuse can be so subtle it’s easily misinterpreted as a loving gesture.

“I don’t want finances to stress you,” my first husband would say to me. “Let, me take care of the money and I’ll give you what you need.”

However, as in my case, the abuser’s efforts to control will, in time, escalate into intimidation, threats of violence and often, physical harm.

How do you know if you’re a victim? Here are 10 Red Flags. Read them carefully and circle the ones that apply to you:

  1. Your partner refuses to talk about money. They get defensive, angry or accusatory.
  2. Your partner goes on spending binges, buying expensive items you really can’t afford.
  3. Your partner racks up debt on your credit card.
  4. Your partner frequently gambles, at the casino, the race track, or in the stock market.
  5. You get frequent calls from creditors, which your partner dismisses or assures you everything is ok.
  6. Your partner keeps saying you don’t have enough to buy certain items, which doesn’t make sense based on your incomes.
  7. Your partner uses money to control you or restricts your access to money.
  8. You question their financial decisions, and they immediately turns the table and makes you wrong.
  9. You notice how often you excuse, justify, rationalize their behavior to others and yourself.
  10. Your gut tells you something is wrong.

If even one of these red flags feels even remotely familiar, I urge you to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 (SAFE). They are there, 24/7, to give you the help, information and resources you need.

Have you been affected by financial abuse? Share in the comments below. Your story could help someone else.

The Timeless Wisdom of Wealth Creation

The year is 1926. Henry Ford announces the 40-hour work week. The first SAT test is administered. And the notorious gangster, Al Capone, is terrorizing New York.

But the real news is this. The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clausen—perhaps the best financial book ever written–hits the shelves.

This quaint parable, filled with timeless wisdom, became a classic because it demystifies wealth building like nothing else I’ve read.

When we first meet the richest man in Babylon, he is telling friends the secret to his fortune.

“I found the road to wealth,” he tells them, “when I decided that a part of all I earn is mine to keep.”

The men look at him incredulously. “Is that all?” one asks, insisting that of course everything he makes is his to keep.

The wealthy man just shakes his head. “You fool, you pay everyone but yourself,” he cries, pointing to the clothing sellers, sandal makers, and wine merchants.

Instead, the rich man counsels them, learn to spend less and pay yourself first. “For every 10 coins thou places in thy purse, take out for use but nine.”

This is the way that Wealth Builders live—a part of all they earn goes into their personal savings on a regular basis. In other words, they pay themselves first.

I’ve watched countless underearners transform small salaries into hefty bank balances by simply socking away small amounts into a savings account every month.

But now, unlike 95 years ago, you can do this automatically. Fill out a form and voila, the bank takes care of everything.

What do you do next? The rich man’s guidance is simple. Once you learn to live on less than you earn, next “seek advice from those who were competent through their own experiences to give it. And, lastly…make gold work for you.”

If you follow Clausen’s timeless wisdom faithfully—pay yourself first, learn from those with experience, and invest for long term gain–you’ll find yourself well on the way to wealth!

What gets in your way to creating wealth? Comment below and let me know

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How to Have a Legendary Love Affair…with Money

In the spirit of Valentine’s day, I have a suggestion. There’s no better time to start having a legendary love affair with your money.

Think of it this way…

Money is like the perfect romantic partner. All it wants to do is serve you, support you and protect you.

All money requires in return is for you to respect and appreciate it by taking good care of it.

In other words, money needs your attention. It needs your understanding. And it needs to feel valued.

Without those, neither a mate nor money will stick around for the long haul.

And as in all relationships, there are good times and bad times.

Bad times are not the time to turn your back, throw in the towel or ignore your finances. At least not if you want to grow old together.

How do you survive the rough patches? Seek professional advice. Ask a lot of questions. Ensure you are positioned to grow and flourish when the tide turns.

It all boils down to this. When money feels your love, you both will live happily ever after.

What are you doing to make sure your money feels your love? Leave me a comment below and let me know.

What Covid Taught Us About Money

I’m a Wall Street Journal junkie. When I first subscribed, 25 years ago, I was totally intimidated. But I’d lay it on the kitchen counter and every day I’d pass by it figuring, by osmosis, I’d pick something up. I credit that ritual for greatly reducing my fear of investing.

The Journal is always filled with interesting and instructive articles. Last week, for example, I was riveted by the headline Personal Finance Lessons We Can All learn From a Pandemic Year.

“With 2020 in the rearview mirror,” the article began, “there’s a lot of economic damage to be assessed. But there are a lot of personal finance lessons we can learn—lessons that will put us in good stead whatever the economic future holds.”

There were 15 excellent lessons. Let me share my 5 favorites.

A Spiritual Approach to Financial Angst

I woke up this morning, with an almost obsessive thought. It’s time to preach the gospel of the Metafiscal.

Metafiscal, a word I coined, blends financial knowledge with metaphysical principles, melding the spiritual with the practical in regards to money. You don’t have to be religious to be Metafiscal. I’m certainly not.

But I do agree with Deepak Chopra who said, “We need a more spiritual approach to success and to affluence.”
Especially in the midst of so much financial angst and upheaval.

It’s no accident that “In God We Trust” is emblazoned on our currency. God can be whatever you’re comfortable with—a personified deity, a Higher Power, your inner wisdom or an all-encompassing energy far greater than our earthly selves.

When I was going through my financial crisis, with a million-dollar tax bill and no money in the bank, I was sure God had abandoned me. But eventually I realized, it was me who had abandoned God.

“When you think God has not answered your call,” declares A Course in Miracles, “you have not answered His.”

I did as the Course instructed. “Learn to be quiet, for His Voice is heard in stillness.” I spent hours in prayer, meditation, along with learning about money. Over time, the veils began to lift. Slowly I took the financial reins, and shockingly, I actually enjoyed the process.

I’m convinced that healing financial angst is not meant to be a solitary journey. When you focus on communing with the Divine, requesting guidance, developing a deep sense of trust in the inexplicable forces of the Universe, along with studying the practical facts, everything changes.

Financial success becomes a transformational journey, a sacred initiation, empowering you to become all you’re meant to be and to do what you’re put on this planet to do.

I’d love to hear how you’ve combined the spiritual with the practical in your financial journey. And if you haven’t, do you think it might be time? Leave me a comment below.

Don’t Let Your Brain Be The Boss!

Quick. Pick one. Which would you rather have: (A) Higher earnings or (B) More in savings?

I’m guessing you went for (A). Most people do. We tend to be far more concerned with increasing our income rather than growing our net worth. But hey, it’s not our fault. That’s how our brain is wired.

A recent Cornell University study discovered that our brains are biased toward earning and against saving. Perhaps it’s the immediate gratification our paychecks offer while socking away savings feels about as gratifying as watching grass grow

“Fundamentally it comes down to this,” the study reported. “Saving is less valuable to our brains, which devote less attentional resources to it. Our brains find saving more difficult to attend to.”

If ever there was a strong case for rewiring our brains, this is it. Fixating on earnings can be fool hardy. I call it the Illusion of Affluence. I see it all the time with successful women. Their significant earnings give them the illusion, but not the security, of true abundance.

It’s a fact. Wealth doesn’t come from what you earn. Wealth comes from what you save. But wait…getting rich isn’t the only reason to be a saver.

Consider the title of a 2016 study: “How Your Bank Balance Buys Happiness: The Importance of “Cash on Hand” to Life Satisfaction.” This study, as reported in What the Elle (my favorite financial newsletter), found that higher savings is a better predictor of happiness and well-being than hefty incomes.

Add to that the result of the 2018 Ellevest Census: “The #1 confidence booster for women is saving and investing (63% of women ranked it over things like salary and education).

The message is clear. Don’t let your brain be the boss. Instead, train your mind to rewire your brain to focus on savings rather than obsessing about earnings. (If you haven’t read my free ebook, The Rewire Response, you can get on this page.)

Which would you choose: (A) A big fat paycheck or (B) lots of money set aside? Leave me a comment and tell me why.

Meet Barbara Huson

When a devastating financial crisis rocked her world, Barbara Huson knew she had to get smart about money… and she did. Now, she wants to empower every women to take charge of their money and take charge of their lives! She’s doing just that with her best-selling books, life changing retreats and private financial coaching.

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