Summary of this edition:
1) Beth’s 2012 Financial Appreciative Review
2) Growth-Helpers for a wonderful 2013
1) Ed Jacobsen offers tools around conducting an Appreciative Review of the past year. http://www.edwardjacobson.com/files/AYear-endReview.pdf
He emphasizes to NOT wait until the year changes over (which is what I was going to do because I feel “too busy” for this exercise).
So a holiday gift from me to you is to write this today and give you a chance to do your own review! Please feel free to send your results to me if you would like some appreciative eyes on it.
I’m feeling so grateful for the growth I was encouraged to participate in over the past year. For this newsletter, I will focus my Appreciative Review on my relationship with money and business.
I. Notable Events:
- I continued to send my predictive spending plan to my mentor, without missing a month. I definitely had months where it was more slack and less detailed, and I definitely had months where I wished I didn’t need to do it. Looking back, that is a slippery slope when I depart from doing such a basic, healthy practice. It leaves room for me to rationalize not taking care of myself, or thinking that I don’t need to (or, worse, do not deserve it).
- I moved part-time offices from 18th and Folsom to 24th and Castro. The previous office was my first rental experience. I shared the space with artists and a photographer. Moving to the new office has me sharing space with therapists, a great fit for the money counseling I enjoy doing so much. Was also an interesting process to “let” myself want a better space, beyond the already “fine” one. I see how having more of an understanding of my financial situation increases my options. That, in my experience, can be a mixed blessing.
- I finished funding my Roth IRA by the second quarter, meaning, I reached the annual maximum of what I can put in it. For those fuzzy on that detail of the Roth, it basically is a type of investment vehicle where you deposit money that has been taxed already. Then, when you withdraw the money, the tax part is already handled and no additional taxes come out. It’s recommended for people who think their tax bracket will be higher later in life. (Considering I started out underneath the poverty line after changing careers and starting from scratch, things are looking pretty certain for me to be better on this topic later in life!)
- Had an extremely painful and startling experience of meeting with new clients, a couple, for the first time, and thinking it went great. Well, apparently, I hadn’t been on the same page with her as much as I thought. She sent a somewhat scathing email after the session I had been feeling good about, and I went down like a house of cards. It brought up my insecurities and my fears of “not doing it right”. The growth that came out of it is, A) this is uncomfortable work for many folks…sometimes the messenger gets shot, and it doesn’t mean the messenger delivered a faulty message, and B) I took in her feedback and developed a tool that I now send all prospective clients that very clearly lists what I do and do not offer as part of my financial organizing and counseling practice. If you would like to see a copy of that, let me know and I will send it to you! I remain humbly grateful for honest feedback. She didn’t have to share that, so, ultimately, it was a generous gift on her part.
- I volunteered at the Job Corps program on Treasure Island, to talk financial basics with the 18 and 19 year-olds who were heading out in to the working world. Really enjoyed their questions and perspective, and felt the universality of combining longing for something better with also accepting how things will likely be. I find that the difference between settling for less than one deserves and proceeding to excel within the bounds of reality is a mixture of good information and compassionate support.
- I decided to practice what I preach, and I opened a business-expenses-only checking account with debit card. This saves me a step every time I make a purchase with it. I no longer have to manually record the expense in an iPhone app, so I remember to deduct it on my taxes…now, just weekly, I categorize the transactions in that business account. Taking that step has made my business feel more “real” and “grown-up” in an unexpected way. It’s like that simple step increased the dignity that I feel around the services I offer.
- I offered my first group session, and 4 people attended. 4 people was exactly the number I wanted, so that was cool to see that manifest. I’m both excited and nervous to offer more group sessions this year. I find that the investment of time and some money to create these group offerings adds to the vulnerable feelings that arise for me around organizing a party for which I hope people will show up! I know it’s not for everyone to have their process on display to others. But I also know that it can be incredibly healing to forge even community for a couple of hours to spend time on making realizations about our financial situation. (I’m including the links for future group sessions below ).
- I read Carl Richards’ Behavior Gap, and benefitted from his breakdown of the cycle of buying high and selling low. That changed how I approach investing, and prevented me from making emotional and fear-based decisions around my investments.
- I read that book in anticipation of attending the Financial Therapy Association Conference, where Richards was the keynote speaker. Made some great collegial connections there, and felt a renewed excitement of working within the emerging field of Behavioral Finance. The works feels very important to me, in my soul. There is a very tough preciousness about it. So much first chakra/survival/self-worth juiciness woven throughout it.
- I went with my FriendHusband to a conference about investing in metals. That really pushed an edge for me to perceive that I would “belong” at something so guy-centric. The other women there were of 2 varieties…investors who looked to be in their 60’s or 70’s and like they had just stepped out of their librarian job, or the hot babes in their 20’s who had been hired to sell products. So, I didn’t find my tribe (and I also ended up falling asleep on a couch there waiting for it to be over), but I went. That was growth that will hopefully open other doors for me inside of myself to try things that are totally new to me.
- The talk and mania about the Fiscal Cliff has been interesting. About a month ago, I became one of “those people” who emailed my financial planner, in a bit of a panic that he may have changed his suggested investment strategy and forgot to tell me. I felt the inner discomfort of, “what if this whole thing really does fall apart?”
Now that we are out of the woods with the Christmas, et al, gift-giving mania, I wanted to make sure you knew about some excellent resources, should you want to gift yourself with some growth and added awareness for 2013! These are people in the Bay Area whose work is important and who I trust implicitly. I have had the highest quality experiences with them, and glad to share them with you!
- Sean Burgess, Certified Financial Planner. When you have money you would like a sound and simple investment strategy around, head to Sean. He is a fee-based planner, entirely devoid of fine-print shenanigans. http://burgessfinancial.com/
- Robin Crawford, Esq. When you want a will, trust, power of attorney, etc. done, Robin is wonderful to work with. I appreciate how he lives, and that emanates in to his business and manner with clients. Would be especially great if you are trying to get affirs in order for aging parents living in CA. Also, very wise to have your own will done (as I have done mine). http://www.robincrawfordlaw.com/
- Pooja Dang, Life Coach. There are so many good coaches in the area, with a high concentrations of trainings and open curiosity abounding in the Bay Area. Pooja has both the natural chops as well as training to support people who want an extra level of attention on their goal-setting and achieving process. http://www.poojadang.com
- Veronica Monet, Clinical Sexologist. Such an amazing resource for people who want compassionate and highly educated support around their sexual and intimate lives. I just adore her, and feel in my bones that her work is essential for our having a healthier planet. She’s fantastic with getting couples to reconnect and understand each other even better. http://www.yourtango.com/experts/theshamefreezone
- Val Tate, Expressive Arts Therapist. Val is free in her soul. I appreciate her vision and the space she is able to hold. http://www.valtate.com
- Linda Gruber for Acupuncture. I see her at least monthly and she is able to renew my energy and spirit like nothing else. http://lindagruberacupuncture.com/