What is Making Peace with Money?
It is both a practical and a healing process which can be done in little bits, at any time, in any place; for both personal and business finance.
It begins by looking at your relationship with money and becoming aware of your thoughts, how you talk about it, and most importantly, how it can affect your actions.
It is mindfulness for money.
Mindfulness helps us to focus on the present moment, and that is really important when dealing with money. It is great to forecast and aspire to a certain level of earnings, but living too far in the futures can stop you from acting now, especially if you have big goals. Likewise, dwelling on past experiences with money can hold you back; you may have been comfortably well-off, or you may have had traumatic experiences, either way that has gone, and things can change for the better, or worse, depending on what you do now.
Mindfulness is about slowing down the brain, and getting it into a relaxed state. When relaxed, the brain becomes more creative, and can deal with complex problem solving. If you are in a constant state of thought or worry, then you generally won’t get anywhere.
When you become aware of your thoughts, words and actions you can start to see certain repetitive patterns, some of which can be negative.
Exercises you can do to help understand your ‘Money Blocks’ and how to overcome them.
How Making Peace with Money can help you through this time
The Corona Virus pandemic is a challenge unlike anything most of us have ever experienced in our lives before. You couldn’t plan for it, and businesses certainly couldn’t forecast it.
The lockdowns experienced in most countries are having a massive, negative impact on many businesses, and many people have lost their livelihoods overnight.
The rapidity of the changes we have had to contend with mean there is a lot of uncertainty and stress, and this in turn causes higher levels of fear and anxiety.
Increased fear has a huge impact on our health and lowers our immune system, but it also means we make rash, impulsive decisions. From prehistoric times, our brain has been hardwired to react to scary situations in a split second, by running or fighting (fight or flight). It can also paralyse us into not acting at all, like a deer caught in the headlights.
Mindfulness doesn’t make the situation go away, but it does help us to deal with it in a calmer, more relaxed way. It is also impartial. There is no blame laid in mindfulness, it is about assessing the options and taking the best action that you can at the present time.
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change. - Charles Darwin
Uncertainty is a constant in life at the best of times, and the pandemic has amplified things to extreme levels, however during this time we have seen some businesses thriving, and people coming up with ever creative ways of dealing with the challenges we now face.
The practical side of Make Peace with Money is all about financial planning and control, but how do you plan in a time of crisis, when things change on a daily basis?
The key is ‘CLARITY’. You can still plan, but you need to have a clear idea of where you are first. I work with both individuals and businesses; those that are surviving at the moment are the ones who have their finances in order. They have systems in place that they can rely on and that are up to date.
It doesn’t mean they are invulnerable, but it means they can change with the times; they can adapt quickly.
Whether it is with an individual or a business, the first thing I ask my clients to do is to get their bank statements and to look at what they’re spending on a monthly basis. This is the clarity stage.
We then get to work on making a budget and putting a plan in place to help them control their spending where they can.
These steps sound very simple, however, the main problem I find is that there are insufficient systems in place, and this is where the clarity stage can take a long time to complete.
So many people believe they have everything in order, or simply trust their accountants to do it all for them, and this is one of the biggest hurdles I encounter.
It is not that people are lazy (ok, some are), it is generally that people are really busy, and let’s face it, most find finance boring. It can also be those money blocks that I was talking about earlier. One of my clients had such a bad experience with a failed business deal that the trauma meant he refused to open letters because he was afraid it would be bad news from the bank.
I have found it ironic that in some businesses the finance team is the most under resourced because it’s not a money making department. This crisis has highlighted to me how important the finance team actually is. I really worry for the companies that are now desperately trying to piece their accounts together, and maybe even realising that the numbers they thought they could trust are actually incorrect, all because they left it to someone else.
With my corporate clients I ensure that there are sales forecasts, budgets and cashflow forecasts are in place, and we are now seeing how important these structures are in helping the MD’s to get a clear picture of where they are and what decisions they need to make to try and keep the business afloat.
My tips for survival in an uncertain time.
Now is the time to be extra vigilant with your finances; this could last a long time, so having a plan and a budget is really important.
It’s not all bad; there may be areas where you are actually saving already, without even realising it; how many times would you normally go to the pub or go shopping? Are you saving on petrol or other travel costs because you are at home?
The most important thing is to try and look after your health.
I have faced a lot of personal challenges that have affected my finances, and along the way I learnt that it is best to deal with the situation, rather than bury my head in the sand.