Mood of the Market
Mood of the Market
One essential evolutionary step in Americans' money consciousness will be to stop checking out, falling asleep, tuning out and turning off when it comes to everything from financial, retirement and estate planning; to monitoring and managing our income and -- especially -- our expenses.
Step one of this awakening is to rethink or totally eliminate some of the latent money beliefs we have that cause us to check all the way out.
In previous columns we've discussed how many of these beliefs, like "My kids are spending me into the poorhouse," or "My creditors are hateful vultures" simply fall apart under scrutiny, using a series of questions and belief "turnarounds" that are detailed by self-help author Byron Katie.
What still remains, though, is to understand what it would be -- what it would look like, if you will, to take a conscious approach to our personal finances. Fortunately, someone has already done this.
Financial therapist Bari Tessler-Linden has created an entire method of approaching money with consciousness, clarity and intention that she calls, well, "Conscious Bookkeeping." Don't let the word "Bookkeeping" fool you -- Tessler-Linden offers guidance on how to live in a way that is awake when it comes to money, not just how to enter numbers in the right credit or debit column.
Foundational to Tessler-Linden's philosophy are three "gateways" to living consciously with respect to money -- these are three experiences that initiate those who have been living in murky money waters to a life of clear, intentional financial management.
The first of these is financial therapy, which she describes as "exploring your relationship to money on a practical, emotional, psychological and spiritual level" -- while this can (and sometimes should) be done with a therapist, it's not necessary to spend a Freudian decade on the couch reconstructing every cent your parents spent.
Rather, Tessler-Linden focuses on key money memories and influences that may be contributing to financial dysfunction or simply coloring how we relate to money now.
Next comes "bookkeeping training," proactively obtaining the education and developing the habits of a sound money-planning and tracking practice -- with emphasis on the practice.
The third gateway, "life visioning," is compiling a clear vision of how you want your life to look, then using that information to generate and "live into" what she calls a "values-based Map of Intention (aka budget)." What your bookkeeping software might label "housing," your map of intention might call "sanctuary."
One of the most common complaints about bookkeeping and money management is that it is so dry and boring. When you use your own life, your own vision and your own dreams to populate the fields of your financial books, they suddenly become much more juicy and even -- dare I say -- fun to cultivate and work on, on an ongoing basis.
Tessler-Linden takes her study of money "consciousness" beyond these three gateways, articulating 11 core elements of a conscious approach to money. These offer, collectively, a cure to the money consciousness dilemma so many of us face.
You can explore all 11 on your own for free, here, but the elements that most of us seem to need to spend the most time with include:
And that simply reinforces her overall message: that living with true consciousness in the many places where your money touches your life is not only possible, it's the best way to live.
Tara-Nicholle Nelson is author of "The Savvy Woman's Homebuying Handbook" and "Trillion Dollar Women: Use Your Power to Make Buying and Remodeling Decisions." Tara is also the Consumer Ambassador and Educator for real estate listings search site Trulia.com. Ask her a real estate question online or visit her website, www.rethinkrealestate.com.
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