Authentic Money Matters™
The art of mindful money management.
Let’s face it. Most of us would much rather be cleaning out the refrigerator or flossing our teeth than following the Dow Jones averages and investment portfolios. We really couldn’t care less about the 24/7 financial news cycle and the financial infotainment industry. We want to live our lives, pursuing interests that stimulate and fulfill us, spending time with family and friends, contributing where we can, helping when we are able, drinking deeply of the “whole catastrophe” of life.
To paraphrase Joseph Campbell, what we are looking for is not the meaning of life but the experience of life!
Money and finances however are not going away any time soon. Insurance, stock markets, college , 401(k)s, annuities, national debt, mortgage rates, insurance of every stripe and color (life, disability, long term care, auto, home,) do matter. Mundane and tedious though they may be, finances are a necessary and indispensable means towards our life goals. The children ARE going to college. You DO need to save for retirement (whatever that will be). Disability Insurance IS worth considering.
So what’s the balance?
There’s a phrase from Ram Dass I heard years ago which always stuck with me: “Trust in Allah but tie up your camel”
I always liked this because it honored a sensitivity to the deeper, important things in life but also said to take care of the details. Don’t get lost in a mushy, passive, “oh the universe will take care of it” attitude. The holy and the profane both getting their due. Somehow this sounded about right.
There was also the implication that the ‘holy’ or the authentically essential things in life formed the best foundation upon which to base practical money decisions. If I was really clear about what was most important to me then decisions about annuities or insurance became much more clear. I knew what my real benchmark or goal was. I was also both more motivated and more energized to keep my financial house in good working order.
In Authentic Money Matterstm we explore negotiating this balance. There are two main themes: 1) authenticity, awareness and the mind and 2) money and finances. Authentic Money Matterstm will look at how the potential of authenticity to make our personal financial management both more effective and less stressful with which to deal.
Awareness changes everything.
It starts with awareness. Paying attention to our lives in a simple way can generate a wealth of clarity about what our minds do , what really matters, what drives us and what inhibits us.
You couldn’t do much better than checking out the increasingly popularized practice of mindfulness. Drawn from thousands of years of Buddhist insight about fear, greed and the mind, this simple practice of paying attention can help you get in touch with what really matters, what really satisfies and provide a sturdy rudder to steer your finances.
The very rich vein of modern experimental psychology as championed by Daniel Kahneman and others is also packed with important insights. This huge body of study has been revealing the multitude of shocking ways in which our minds and perception can distort reality and sabotage our best laid money plans but also suggests strategies to compensate.
There are also money stories or money scripts: powerful habits which we can internalize as children and may act out throughout our adult lives . Whether we are a spendthrift or a wealthy person who impoverishes themselves out of obsessive fear of scarcity can often be traced to unrecognized money habits we learned early in life.
Of course, don’t forget to tie up your camel. Do pay attention to the mundane financial issues. The painfully boring-sounding topic of cash flow analysis, for instance, is personal favorite of mine when I work with clients. It is a very powerful tool to get clarity on your money matters.
Cash flow simply looks at money in and money out. This straightforward concept, if done thoroughly, squarely focuses on personal priorities and how dollars move around. The insights of cash flow analysis leave nowhere to hide and are, in effect, a meditation upon self-knowledge dressed up as an accountant’s tool.
There are endless topics to bring into the discussion: modern portfolio theory, the Federal Reserve Bank, Chinese Medicine, authenticity, your Life Imperativetm, longevity insurance, neuroscience, and the power of gratitude and appreciation.
Your personal finances may seem boring but with a little bit of attention and mindfulness you can keep your checkbook in balance and cultivate a bit more harmony with the universe at the same time.
- Paul, June 2013
Introduction to Authentic Money Matters™
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Authentic Money Matters
- Life Imperativetm
- Mindfulness and Money
- The Prevailing Winds
- The Power of Appreciation
- Gratitude and Compassion
- What Happy People Know about money.
- The Joy of Letting Go
- Knowing your path
Path with a heart
"Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you."
- from The Teaching of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge by Carlos Casteneda.