Investments: Are You Paying Too Much Attention?


Last month I posted a piece encouraging people to pay attention to their money. This, I argued, was “the one thing” that could make a meaningful difference in peoples’ financial lives. It may strike my readers this month, therefore, as counter-intuitive when I suggest that over-vigilance of one’s investments might backfire. Let me explain.

I […]

Investments: Are You Paying Too Much Attention?2017-06-30T13:59:57-07:00

Financial Challenges: Envision a Path Around the Obstacle


According to the old saying, where the eyes go, the body goes. It turns out the basis for this truth is not only physical, but psychological as well. I remember a recent motorcycle trip over the Sonora Pass. I had the road to myself and was enjoying the thrill of driving fast through the turns. Coming down the mountain looking out toward Nevada, I glimpsed a long stretch of road ahead. Accelerating out of a turn, I anticipated a clear sweep. Suddenly I saw a scrap of two by four on the road, directly in my path. My attention fixated on the piece of wood. Panicking, I hit it. Luckily, I didn’t wipe out, but instantly began berating myself for the collision with this obstacle. Perhaps if I had directed my eyes elsewhere, I could have avoided it. I’ve recently encountered a couple of people with financial challenges that reminded me of this event.

Financial Challenges: Envision a Path Around the Obstacle2017-11-22T11:12:14-08:00

The Money Hack: Pay More Attention


When facing life’s struggles, it is natural to look for a quick solution — the “one simple thing” that will solve the problem. The financial equivalent of the magic bullet tends to be the thought, “If I just make more money, my problems will be solved.” It is a fanciful notion; life is seldom that easy. And yet, on that skeptical note, I’m setting out to tell you there really is one thing you can do that will have a profound impact on your financial life. Are you ready? It’s not magic. The one simple thing is to pay attention to your money. What the heck does that mean? And, how will that possibly make an impact? Paying attention to your money is a three-step process.

The Money Hack: Pay More Attention2017-11-22T11:13:48-08:00

Who’s In Charge of Your Finances?


This week I’ve been reading Thinking Fast and Slow by psychologist Daniel Kahneman. The author received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for his work on cognitive biases in decision-making. Where finances are concerned, we all like to think we make rational decisions, based upon well-considered reasoning. The studies examined in this book suggest otherwise. What is really behind our financial decisions? Here’s a personal example – my “lettuce story.” I am standing in front of the produce section at the grocery store, eyeing a beautiful head of organic romaine. But I’m frozen.

Who’s In Charge of Your Finances?2017-11-22T11:14:44-08:00

I Am Afraid to Face My Finances


We’ve all heard the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind.” I am reminded of a woman who came to see me a few years ago for help with financial planning. She had rescheduled the initial meeting several times. When she finally came in, I could tell that she was upset. After she had talked for awhile I asked her, “How was this process for you, gathering your information for our meeting?” She admitted that she felt embarrassed about being disorganized and not having saved as much as she “should” have at her age.

I Am Afraid to Face My Finances2017-11-22T11:15:21-08:00

How a New Relationship Can Trigger Money Issues


A couple, I’ll call them Tom and Sally, get together for a second date, wine, and appetizers. They had gone out for coffee a few days earlier and shared an immediate sense of having met someone special. Sally had mentioned she’d be traveling for work; they would not be able to see one another again for more than a week. Tom decided to find out if his initial feelings about Sally were true. So he asked her out three days later. Glad that he’d taken the initiative, she happily accepted. Now, on that second date, they are savoring each other’s company when the check arrives. Neither one makes a move. There is an unspoken moment of uncertainty. What to do?

How a New Relationship Can Trigger Money Issues2017-11-22T11:16:02-08:00

Facing the Haunted House of Money


Halloween is a time when it’s actually fun to be scared. It comes in small doses and when you get really frightened, it’s easy to remind yourself that it’s not real. But brace yourself for the haunted house of money: a list of numbers that paint a ghoulish picture for women’s personal finances. They add up to a scary challenge for women preparing for retirement: $0.78, 11, 5, and 80 percent.

Facing the Haunted House of Money2016-11-01T16:30:03-07:00

What Does Financial Well-Being Mean to You?


People these days seem to spend considerable time and money taking care of their health, paying particular attention to choices about diet, organic food, exercise, different kinds of alternative medical care, and spiritual self-care. But what about the notion of financial self-care? Recently, I facilitated a discussion with a group of women on the topic of financial self-care and some interesting points came out of the discussion. Generally, people seemed to have a good idea of what they need to do to take care of themselves financially, and the statements about the feelings resulting from successful financial self-care were powerful. Consider these comments: “I feel better about myself,” “I feel empowered to make choices,”

What Does Financial Well-Being Mean to You?2017-11-22T11:19:04-08:00

My 9/11: A Financial Epiphany


It has been 14 years, and yet I feel my emotional scar, healed, yet still tender to the touch. Tears still well up. Unfortunately 9/11 was just the first in a series of events that led to my life-changing discovery about money. This is what 9/11 taught me. I was in Manhattan that week for the Merrill Lynch Financial Services Conference (an ironic coincidence…maybe.) It was held at the Pierre Hotel where we listened to bank management talk about their strategies for gaining a “greater share of consumers’ wallets.” I walked out of a morning session to see footage of the second plane hitting the tower.

My 9/11: A Financial Epiphany2017-11-22T11:19:23-08:00

Why It’s OK to Love Money (and How to Have More of It in Your Life)


A few weeks ago, I had coffee with a woman who said, “I really love money! I just wish I didn’t feel bad about saying it.” Yeah, I love money too! I identified with her feelings, especially remembering my college years when the prevailing cultural message was that greed and money are bad, suggesting that being poor is somehow noble. It prompted me to think about why loving money feels like an important step toward bringing more of it into your life.

Why It’s OK to Love Money (and How to Have More of It in Your Life)2017-11-22T11:20:41-08:00

Gender and Money: What We Can Learn From Each Other


Who is better with money, men or women? At first blush it may appear to be a ridiculous question but when I meet new clients I always ask about their experience with money growing up. How we were raised, the availability of money and attitudes toward it shape our beliefs beginning at a very young age. Some may bristle at the thought of comparing the sexes but our past is key to understanding our behavior today. There are some gender differences – both innate and cultural...

Gender and Money: What We Can Learn From Each Other2018-12-06T14:55:59-08:00

Simple Steps to Take Before Resorting to Retail Therapy


A woman approached me recently after a talk I had given on the psychology of money, and asked the following question: “If I know I’m engaging in retail therapy and have it named, does this make it conscious spending?” At first, I gave her credit for recognizing that she was spending money to feel better. But as we talked, I began to sense that a degree of semantic acrobatics might be involved. Could it be that she was naming the behavior in order to give herself permission to indulge in spending money that she wouldn’t have otherwise?

Simple Steps to Take Before Resorting to Retail Therapy2017-11-25T07:21:47-08:00