Do you know what a chief financial officer (CFO) does? Here’s why I ask:
No one – and I do mean no one – has ever said to me, “Jacquette, I want you to teach me how to be a better chief financial officer (CFO).”
You as CFO is not an option – it’s a must!
I don’t just say this because I’m a financial geek and I want you to become one, too.
I say it because “you as CFO” is a financial reality that I believe:
- You may be resisting and ignoring – thinking it’s a fad or the latest marketing hype by the financial services industry.
- You might misunderstand – thinking the responsibilities of the CFO role are all about crunching numbers.
- You may be minimizing – thinking the need to don your CFO hat is not really necessary. After all, the economy and employment landscape will eventually get back to the way things were pre-2008 (or the Great Recession), right?!
When the job you have isn’t the one you want
Do-it-yourself personal finance is nothing new. Truth is, you’ve been doing some aspects of this ever since the very first time you got an allowance or got paid for your very first job.
However, the new economy, which makes entrepreneurs of us all, calls for a more expanded vision of what do-it-yourself personal finance looks like in terms of the actions you take, decisions you make, and your level of engagement.
- That means being a financial leader in ways you may not have envisioned.
- That means being more proactive and less passive.
- That means looking beyond the numbers and being more curious about the story the numbers are telling.
- That means performing some analysis; doing some forecasting; creating some reports, etc.
- That means having a process to turn information into insight and using said to formulate a strategy.
- That means recognizing that you don’t really manage money as much as you manage your choices.
- That means recognizing that money isn’t one-dimensional – even though we all tend to talk about it as if it is.
- That means making time to manage your money.
- That means being accountable for your decisions, but not feeling like you need to make them alone.
- That means recognizing that there are few money choices you can make that don’t affect all aspects of your life…and vice versa.
- That means embracing a role you didn’t expect to have.
CFO of You, Inc.
I know, I know — it sucks when the job you have isn’t the one you want. Or, when you feel ill-prepared for the task at hand.
You knew adulthood came with the responsibility of managing your money and your financial choices. But to this degree…hmmm???
Nope. You as CFO is not a fad and it’s not marketing hype; it’s your new reality.
Just consider the plethora of consumer-based online tools and applications and websites geared toward helping you connect with and leverage your financial power.
Crunching numbers is one aspect of what a chief financial officer does. But so is being creative and anticipating the future you want and the future that might be, along with planning for multiple outcomes.
“Jacquette was able to help me look past the basic dollars and cents, to see the thought patterns that were driving my spending choices. The tailored financial action plan she delivered was realistic and easy to follow, moving me towards my goals.” Aduke Thelwell
Would you like to experience results similar to Aduke’s? Would you like support managing your CFO role fully and more completely? Become a member of the Financial Intimacy Lounge. The Charter Member rate of $47 a month expires on April 30th.
Helping you don your CFO hat with greater confidence is one of the ways I can help you get more from your money and for your life. Working with you inside the membership is one of the ways I can make your CFO role less overwhelming and a heck of a ot more fun!
If you’re a gardener, you wouldn’t dare pull your fruit, vegetables, or flowers before they were ripe or ready to bloom, right?
In a similar way, if you want to get pregnant, you’d want to do everything possible to ensure you’re healthy and able to carry the baby full term, right?
Good and necessary things happen in the “dark and quiet” time of incubation – whether you’re talking about growing food, flowers, or babies. Or, ideas. Or, money.
The Power of Analogy
It’s Springtime, and you’re likely to start seeing a plethora of garden-and-money analogies…it’s the perfect season for said! And I’m hopping on the bandwagon, too.
Last month, I was a featured speaker in a virtual summit hosted by Robin LaCross. It was called “Raising Empowered Daughters – Sowing the Seeds for Healthy Body Image, Sexuality, and Relationships.” Next week, I will be a featured guest in Xandra O’Neill’s summit – “Creating Fertile Ground – How to Boost Fertility, Overcome Fear, and Trust the Journey to Motherhood.”
As far as I know, Robin and Xandra do not know each other (although they probably should!). But I found two things interesting about their events. First, the intentional use of “gardening” language as a metaphor for the goal of their events. Second, the foresight to include a conversation about money in the overall dialogue.
Pause for a moment. Think about your money decisions AND your actions.
Now think about what happens in a garden.
Does Your Financial Garden Need Some TLC?
In no particular order, here are eleven (11) words/phrases that come to mind when I think about gardening literally (and metaphorically) along with suggestions for how to use these words to give your financial garden some tender loving care:
Seeds – All growth begins with a seed.
What financial seeds are you planting? How are you defining “seeds”?
Soil – Seeds need fertile soil in order to thrive.
Is your financial soil fertile or barren; how do you assess your soil’s abundance or lack thereof?
Nurturing – All soil requires attention. It comes in the form of proper light, watering, and turning the soil, to name a few.
Very broadly, there are only four things you can do with your money: earn it, save it, invest it, and spend it. Of course, if you dig deeper there are nuances within these categories – what nuances are saying, “Knock, knock”?
Trust – While all soil requires attention, sometimes that attention takes the form of purposeful non-action – aka leaving it alone and letting whatever you’ve planted do its thing.
How purposeful are you with both what you do, as well as what you don’t do, when it comes to your money? Are your actions systematized or haphazard and reactionary? How well do you trust in yourself (for making the decision) and in the process (for the results)?
Get your hands dirty – Granted, you probably wear protective gloves whilst gardening, but you still have to get your hands in there – to dig, turn, pat.
In similar fashion, you have to “get in it” when it comes to your money. I say it often and I won’t stop: abdicating is not a viable option.
Surrender + Patience – Control what you can as best you can, then you must surrender to nature and have patience and let Her do her thang.
Same applies to money. Do your job and let money do it’s job, but be clear about the job you want it to do for you.
Vision – Usually when you plant a garden, you have in your mind’s eye what the garden will look like in full bloom. This vision influences where/how you plant your seeds.
Far too often people are haphazard with how and where they plant their financial seeds – don’t be one of those people.
Time – It takes time for the invisible to transform into the visible.
In similar fashion, it takes time for a financial mustard seed to morph into a financial oak tree.
Pruning – Cutting away the weeds and removing what is dead is necessary for the overall health of your garden.
When it comes to your money, do you know what’s preventing your money from working as hard for you as it possibly can? Do you know what your financial weeds and leaks look like? Do you have the strength and patience to prune them away?
Acceptance – All that you plant won’t make it. And that’s okay. It’s what you prepare for.
Make your financial decisions knowing that not every one you make will be “right.” The goal is to be right more often than not!
In case you’re wondering, no I didn’t forget my math skills. The eleventh slot is an invitation: What comes to mind for you when you think about gardening and connect it to money?
Thinking of the myriad choices you make regarding your money in the context of a financial garden is a perfect metaphor!
In fact, it’s a wonderful way to manage your expectations about what happens and when – because you can’t rush healthy growth. Likewise, the garden framework provides your money with some structure + direction (because like a child) it needs discipline to grow properly.
One of the many conclusions I’ve come to about managing money is that it is a lot less about moving the dollars & cents.
It’s a lot more about managing who you are becoming as you move those dollars & cents.
Coming Full Circle
To bring this back to the beginning…
I think it was absolutely brilliant of Robin and Xandra to use gardening terminology as a way for talking about matters important to parents and parents-to-be. It’s a great technique that creates just enough distance between the subject and the subject matter for maximum learning and enhanced ahas!
Plus, how freaking awesome to acknowledge the key and critical role of money in almost every goal and aspect of life – including raising healthy daughters and creating a fertile ground for pregnancy.
To grab a copy of the summit, which includes the replay recording of my conversation with Robin LaCross, click here. To join my “Couples, baby…oh yeah, money!” conversation with Xandra O’Neill on April 9th, click here.
p.s. in case you missed my earlier invitation, it’s time for the quarterly Financial Open House. Later tonight – 8pm EDT – is when you get to ask questions and I get to provide answers! Register here.
Well, not literally. But metaphorically, it does.
I’ll explain in a minute. First, some context.
I’ve spent the last several weeks exploring the delusion of hard work (as a constant state of being) and how it affects your finances.
Selfishly, I wanted to dive more deeply into the whole work-n-money paradigm. In light of my own evolution in this area, I wanted to counter the notion that working harder and struggle and success are inevitable cousins. Instead, I wanted to invite more ease into my business and life – along with more money.
Turns out, my personal quest was a mirror for what many of my coaching clients (and blog readers) are dealing with, too. Or, is it the reverse?
A Rabbit-hole of a Different Kind
Old-school programming about work, about money, and about the dynamic relationship between work and money, are so ingrained that you and I barely even recognize what we’ve embraced as “gospel.” Therefore, we don’t recognize the ways in which we are stuck – blindly making choices that actually don’t serve us in the best of ways.
Since working hard(er) tends to go hand-hand with our glorification of busyness, it seems only fitting to wind down this series discussing the exact opposite of this mindset and approach. It’s time to introduce the next layer in what is truly an on-going conversation.
Hence, this question: Could a slower pace and more quiet mind positively impact the way you manage your money?
And the reason the interplay between meditation and money is the focus for this month’s Financial Intimacy Hour. (Not registered? Click here. It’s tonight – Wednesday, 3/26 at 8pm EDT.)
Let’s face it, money can be stressful at times!
What that stress looks like differs depending upon whether the issue is related to earning it, having it, managing it, or sharing it. And each day, you have a multitude of decisions to make in any or all of these areas.
This brings me to the dance I referenced.
What typically happens when you feel stressed about money? I’m going to bet you shift into the “I need to do more (fill in the blank)” mode. How right am I?
Activity or movement of any sort seems more logical than just passively sitting by and doing nothing to alter your circumstances. (And to be clear you don’t have to be broke and in debt to feel stressed about what you’re doing or not with your money…just saying!)
But what if you and I have it all wrong here?
When the financial pressure is on…when your financial stress is at its highest, what if the act of becoming still (which is often perceived as “doing nothing”) was precisely what you needed to do next? What if it turns out that your wisest choices stem from this place?
So, How Do You Dance?
The “to-do vs. to-be” dance is a delicate tango.
Ultimately, you need to take action, but the difference lays with how you dance. From my own experience, I can attest to the fact that whenever I lead with to-do (which is usually based on fear), stuff becomes an even hotter mess!
On the flip side, when I lead with to-be – however unnatural and uncomfortable it may feel – the better the outcome AND the better I feel about the outcome.
To-do vs. to-be is all about attitude, mindset, and intention and whether you’re in the front being pushed by or in the front leading. This is why I am TOTALLY fascinated with how the practice of meditation can help you and me make smarter money decisions.
Could meditation hold the key for you to experience (even more) financial success than you have to date – because it plants you more firmly in the front as the leader of your money?
Let’s explore the interplay between meditation + money together. Let’s unpack whether it can positively impact the way you manage your money.
And don’t worry…while we are diving into nebulous territory, my guest, Kandace Simmons, and I will make certain you have clear, concrete and practical takeaways that you can implement immediately should you so choose to!
p.s. would you like to help me spread the word? Awesome (and thank you)! Please share this link:
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day…Happy V-Day!
Last week, I shared how I thought the holiday wasn’t just for expressing love for and to another person. With this question – “How in love with your life are you right now?” – I was encouraging you to think about this day differently than you may have previously. I suggested it was an opportunity to also express love and gratitude to and for life. And, I gave you some questions to ponder.
As I have been working through those same questions, one word keeps surfacing: vulnerable.
Merriam-Webster defines vulnerable as “capable of being physically or emotionally wounded, or open to attack or damage.”
Yikes! None of that sounds pleasant. No wonder we have a hard time being vulnerable with each other.
But it’s good for you
Yet, if you think about the richest, closest relationships you have – the ones where you feel the deepest connection – I bet there’s one thing these relationships all have in common: mutual vulnerability.
In these relationships there’s open (even if tentative at times) communication whereby you share and disclose things you’d never open up for discussion with others.
And when it comes to love and money, there’s just no escaping the necessity for vulnerability.
It’s all about exposing the good, bad, and ugly. Or, as my friend and colleague Manisha Thakor would say, it’s about “getting financially naked.” Continue Reading…
Later tonight I’m hosting the first Financial Intimacy Hour of the year. My guest is Ali Shapiro, a client-described Swiss Army knife of wellness.
I’m excited to introduce you to her because she fuses together the tools of a nutritionist, trainer and psychologist. A perfect combination given the topic we’re tackling – the complicated and curious connection between emotional eating and impulse buying.
Of the top-ten New Year’s Resolutions for 2014 “lose weight” was #1 and “spend less, save more” was #3, according to the University of Scranton – Journal of Clinical Psychology. So, we’re talking about dieting and budgeting because there’s a high chance you made a food or money related resolution.
And there’s an even greater chance that 29 days into the new year, your enthusiasm, energy, and resolve have begun to fade. Not exactly the result you were intending, eh?
Where did your vigor go? Have you slipped or are you slipping because: Continue Reading…
I recently conducted a survey (click here if you’d like to weigh-in), and one respondent said this, “I like earning [money], but don’t care much for managing, investing, budgeting, etc.”
Too bad this isn’t an uncommon sentiment.
Too bad it’s becoming a more costly one to have.
Last Friday, I appeared on HLN to talk about the consumer impact of Target’s data breach. The retailer was back in the news because earlier that day, they announced that the number of consumers affected jumped to 70 million – up from the initial reporting of 40 million.
By the time the evening news rolled around, consumers’ sense of safety would be jolted once more. Target’s number had morphed to 110 million! And as if that wasn’t enough, the tony retailer Neiman Marcus released a statement that, it, too, experienced a security breach of customer data during the 2013 holiday season.
The *Real* Wake-up Call
It’s easy to watch the news or read the papers and focus on the hackers. After all the rising number and sophistication of these cyber crimes are scaaary!
It’s easy to view this is as a call-to-action for retailers and financial institutions. No doubt, they do need to up their game and get better at working together to improve what they do to protect our financial and personal data. Especially when so much of what they collect is used by them to evaluate your creditworthiness and mine. And let’s not forget the bottom-line: the costs associated with these breaches will eventually trickle down to you and me in terms of higher cost of goods.
But the real wake-up call is for you and me as consumers – especially if you’re a consumer who suffers from a consistent dose of financial apathy.
You might not geek out about the numbers like I do. You might not enjoy digging “behind” the numbers for the story about what’s really going on. But these recent breaches are a reminder that it doesn’t matter if you find managing your money boring, or uninteresting, or down-right unpleasant…
YOU can’t afford not to care about the aspects of managing your money you don’t like.
Making the shift from financial apathy to being fully engaged doesn’t have to be burdensome. Here are a few easy habits to make it so:
- Use the mobile banking feature for your banking accounts and check your balances and transactions
- Set up daily email alerts on your banking accounts to notify you when your balance goes beneath a certain amount and/or when a transaction above a certain threshold hits your account
- Check your credit cards to confirm the transactions shown are yours
And as soon as you finish reading this, head to www.annualcreditreport.com to pull your credit report to review and confirm the accuracy of what’s reported.
The unfortunate reality is that the recent breaches will likely become more frequent, not less. And the hackers are betting on you and me to be complacent when it comes to our money management and monitoring.
Don’t you think there’s too much at stake to let that happen? I do.
p.s. would you join a membership program that fuses together financial coaching, training, and planning? Click here to let me know.
It’s the top of the New Year. By the way, if you missed my holiday message – Happy New Year!
At this time, you and I are bombarded with messages about resolutions and goal setting. (And yes, irony of ironies, I’m weighing in on the conversation.) The flood of emails and news reports also probably means that, like me, you’re coming face to face with a few repeat offenders – aka, those goals that show up year after year!
You work and work and work on the goal and yet you’re not able to claim victory and say, “Yes! I achieved XYZ.” Or, you haven’t made the sort of progress that makes you proud – feeling all tingly inside for a job well done.
What a sucky way to kick-off the New Year, right?!
I can write about this, because I can relate to it. And this got me to wondering…perhaps I am going about some of my goals the wrong way. You might be, too.
Maybe the goals that keep showing up over and over are inviting us to dig deeper and we keep missing the clues. What do you think?
Some would say the holidays are the absolute worst time to discuss money.
This is actually the best time, if you do it right. And by right, I mean make it fun and meaningful.
That’s why I asked: Do you like to play (money) games?
But first things first: whether it’s between couples or family members or good friends, talking about money can be awkward at times. There’s no skirting that. So, it’s time to embrace a little bit of awkwardness.
A game with some mystery can help you with that!
The format for this game was inspired by a friend and her description of what her family did during the Thanksgiving holiday around the theme of gratitude. As for the questions – that’s all me.
Before we get to the questions, here’s what you’ll need and the instructions for playing…
What you’ll need for the game
- TV = off
- Music of choice = on
- Empty punch bowl (a large envelope or box will do, too)
- 3×5 Index cards (or copy/printer paper torn in quarters)
How to Play
- Each person is to answer EACH question on a separate index card or paper. Once you’ve answered the question, fold the card (or paper) in half, and place it in the bowl (or envelope or box) – unsigned! (This is where the mystery comes into play – pun intended). Continue Reading…
When this post is published there will be 22 days left until 12/31/2013. That means you have a mere three weeks to manage the “big” collision – the one that surfaces around this time of year. The one that usually sparks some degree of self-reflection because you’re evaluating your performance; planning for new beginnings; and managing the emotions that kick in due to the festivities and obligations of the holiday season.
It’s an amazing three-some.
Back in August, I wrote about the problem of solving the wrong problem. When this happens, not only do you tend to misuse your financial capital, but you also typically misuse your time, energy, and other ‘soft’ resources as well.
But here’s the real problem…you rarely realize you’re making this mistake until a considerable amount of time has passed. And, just as it pays to know you are solving the right problem, it also pays to get the order right.
Getting the order wrong can also cause you to misuse your resources of people, time, money, and effort.
The order to which I refer comes from a popular mantra espoused in the self-help and personal transformation arenas.
It’s called the ‘Be-Do-Have’ paradigm.
Most of us tend to focus on the ‘have’ part of this equation, usually followed by the word “enough.” This can look like any number of things; for example, have you caught yourself musing over… Continue Reading…
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the U.S. – one of my favorite holidays! And I’m doubly-excited because it falls on my birthday this year…yippee!!
As I think of Thanksgiving and my birthday, I am reminded to pause, reflect and really acknowledge all that I am grateful for.
I am also reminded of the equation that matters most, in my opinion:
R > E where “R” stands for “relationships” and “E” stands for “everything else” – literally!
Without relationships, it all falls apart because relationships are where it all begins – personally, professionally and, yes, even financially. As we slow down (even if just slightly) to unplug and spend time with family and friends, I want you to know how important our relationship is to me. Continue Reading…