A Financial Makeover & The Emancipation of You, Inc.

Last week’s post about the delusion of hard work really struck a cord. Some comments were simple and direct – “This was written for me.” Others took a more anthropological stance, and talked about how the North American immigrant experience, history of slavery and Industrial Revolution affect our present day concept of hard work. The above, along with the other responses I received, are deep and personal. I also think they represent an undercurrent playing out in many work environments – a desire for a different way of living and being. Please, Please, Set Me Free As I said (here), the problem with deeply-rooted beliefs and long-standing examples that laud hard work and struggle over ease is that you end up working harder for your money than it does for you. And since there are people whom have flipped the script and the switch on this paradigm, wouldn’t it be really, really cool if you, too, were living a life where your money worked harder for you than you for it…all the time?! Can you imagine really living life on your terms and having control over your time and your lifestyle – instead of wishing it were so. Can you imagine working in Corporate America but setting a new standard for what it means to be a “hard worker” and committed team-mate? Or, if you own a business, can you imagine actually running it instead of it running you. In other words, can you imagine taking time to think and be creative instead of being in a constant state of doing and reaction? Can you imagine what it’d feel...
Zero Sum Games: Perfect for the Court, Not So Much for Life

Zero Sum Games: Perfect for the Court, Not So Much for Life

Ok. In the spirit of full disclosure, I was rooting for the San Antonio Spurs. So, I was bummed when they lost Game 6 and I turned off the television with 46 seconds left in Game 7. I didn’t want to see the end. (A bit melodramatic, I know – especially since my “real” sport is baseball and I’m really a die-hard Yankees fan!) If you saw last night’s game, you know it was played hard…and well. You also know the moment the game was won and it wasn’t in the final seconds of the last quarter! However, when you play a zero sum game, there can only be one winner. As I was getting my NPR fix earlier and listening to “Morning Edition,” I was struck by Mike Pesca’s analysis of the game. He said many things that caught my attention, but it was a quote from LeBron James that stopped me in my tracks — it contains the mother of all life-lesson nuggets. LB: “I looked at all my regular season stats, all my playoff stats, and I was one of the best mid-range shooters and I shot a career high from the 3-point line. And I just told myself, don’t abandon what you’ve done all year.” (Emphasis mine.) Do You See What I See Before your “big game” whether that looks like a major presentation, critical meeting, or important decision, what are you looking at? Are you reviewing stats that reaffirm your gifts and talents; are you looking at stats that reaffirm you’ve been here before and you performed well; are you looking at stats that...
Thanksgiving 2012: Subdued & Complicated…Can You Relate?

Thanksgiving 2012: Subdued & Complicated…Can You Relate?

Bar none, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. With the exception of two years, I’ve hosted it every year since 1988! Yep…you read that right. And because my birthday (11/28) sometimes falls a few days before or after, my Thanksgiving feasts have also doubled as birthday soirees with as many as 25-30 guests. You might read that and say that’s not a lot of people. But what you may not know is that I live in a one-bedroom NYC apartment! Granted, it is in Brooklyn, but still… Thankfully, I have family and friends who enjoy great food, great music, great wine & wonderful company and are less concerned with what they are actually sitting on. Thanksgiving 2012: The Backstory I’ve been preparing for this year’s Thanksgiving in much the same way as I have previous holidays. All the dishes have been run through the dishwasher. (This is a weird quirk of mine, especially as it relates to dishes I only use during the holiday.) Later today, I’ll start to bake my famous sweet potato pies; I’ll start doing all the prep work for all the yummy southern-inspired sides I am serving; and shortly, I’ll brine the turkey so it’s nice and juicy and ready for the oven first thing Thanksgiving morn. I’m well-rested; I’m excited. But, can I be transparent with you? I am a bit subdued this holiday. As if Hurricane Sandy wasn’t surreal enough, a dear friend’s unexpected and untimely death the same week really knocked me off-center. I’ve never lost a friend to suicide, so I’ve never experienced this odd mixture of grief, sadness, and anger, which...

Three Lessons From the Debt Ceiling Debate

An agreement has been reached and passed by the House. Now, we are awaiting the Senate’s vote. Whew…talk about taking us to a precipice! Honestly, I can’t believe it took this long to reach an agreement. In my opinion, choosing to default was never a viable option – especially given our history of having raised the debt ceiling 74 times since 1962 – ten of which have occurred in the last decade! I’ve been riveted by the debt ceiling debates (if that’s what we want to call it) because if nothing else it highlights an ongoing conflict of capitalism – greed vs. self-interest – on both a macro and micro/personal level. I’ll come back to the macro aspect of this in another issue as it is definitely an overlooked factor when it comes to creating financial intimacy. For now, I want to focus on the micro/personal level and put a spotlight on three lessons you and I can glean from the debt ceiling debate and apply to the management of our personal finances: (Continue...