finance · goals · writing

Eyes on the Prize.

4.18.18Yesterday afternoon, I had the first call of my new Goals Group.  Like the last one I participated in, we’ll have a group phone call wherein we’ll walk through a series of weekly assigned questions—about our vision for our lives, our goals, a specific goal, what blocks us from this goal, how we can accept help to overcome these blocks, and how we will maintain these (generally spiritual) connections to ensure we continue actions toward fulfilling our vision.

PHEW!  That’s a mouthful, but does generally give you the scope of this work.  At the rate of a call a week (a question or two each week), we’ll end in about 6 months, as did my group that ended in February.

Additionally, we make commitments to actions for the upcoming week that may be in the vein of our goals or seemingly unrelated—e.g. grade papers, take a walk… no, those weren’t mine! … *shifty eyes*

A few things came out of the call for me last night: 1) I need to increase my income to support the philanthropic life I want to lead; 2) I’m going to have to write that book that’s been on my mind (damnit); 3) I need to adjust how I employ my time if I will achieve #s 1 and 2.

Therefore, I committed to my group the following non-committal action: “I commit to experimenting with blogging Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and use Tuesday/Thursday to do my other writing (book, goals pages).”

I commit to experimenting!  Ha!

Well, that’s the truth of it.  I love blogging regularly.  I love that a theme or title will come to me during the day that I’ll file away for tomorrow.  I love the calm and the energy that I receive when I write here—the connection, the humor, the reflection.  BUT, there are no blog police demanding I write daily (right??), and in fact I’d whittled down the frequency from 7 days a week to 5 not long ago.

Realistically, though, I’ve been dropping 1 of those 5 days lately and the hour I devote each morning drafting, editing, photo searching, and posting is an hour that can be spent in service of goals 1 & 2.

Blogging is a part of this vision, and I may indeed begin modifying the format and purpose of my blog to support the book (AKA I want your stories!), but for now my goal is to use all of my time efficiently and effectively, and in the service of my visions.

So, Dear Reader, firstly, THANK YOU.  I know a dozen (sometimes 2 or 3 dozen!) of you read my blog, and it’s a boon to my spirit when I receive a text or comment or facebook message that says my writing affected you—brought you to question circumstances in your own life, gave you a new tool, or allowed you to feel connected to me.  For this, I am so insanely grateful.  I am so glad you are here.

Secondly… I’ll see you on Friday, peeps!;)  Much love,  M.

 

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balance · finance · money

Libre/Libra.

libra 8 17 17At the start of the year, I participated in a weekend-long “intention setting” meditation retreat with a few friends.  One of the major themes of the work was about sussing out our own optimal balance between our masculine and feminine aspects (according the “traditional” meanings of such, as in yin/yang, active/receptive, etc.).  Through some of this work, I got to see that my “masculine” or active-in-the-world self was much less developed than it needed to be if I were going to step into fuller power in my life.

In fact, both aspects of myself were going to have to grow precipitously to reflect who I really intend to be in the world, but as you might imagine from knowing me, my “feminine” side—my soft, emotional, reflective side—tends to take the reigns, so my masculine, active, forging side would have to be just a bit larger to keep things in the proper balance for me.  At least, at this time.

When I was talking with my mentor on Friday, regaling her with my pure and epic delight over all my new financial discoveries and activities, she said that the first “hit” she got on this change was that I was engaging my masculine side.  The “finance” side of things has historically, traditionally, stereotypically been the man’s world, and, indeed, there’s a voice within me (faint though it is) that says all this writing about finance is not what people (my readers) want to read.

That’s Class-A bullshit, but it’s there.

Whatever it is that “my readers” (all 12 of them!) want to read, they’ll vote with their clicks—toward or away from my blog, but it’s my job here, as always, to relate the truth of what’s happening in my spiritual and physical realm.

And presently, that’s the burgeoning, riveting, catalyzing world of personal finance.

J. joked that my bookshelf walls will be one self-help and the other personal finance.  Because, yes, much of the non-fiction I’ve read in the last few years is women-authored “get bigger” books.  Well, isn’t part of that bigger world one that includes shares and percentages?  It is.  And it feels perfectly aligned with the trajectory of my books, thoughts, progress to be stepping into this new realm of money.

No, it doesn’t feel “feminine” — but maybe part of my growth is to show that a lady can play, too.

excitement · finance · learning

“You know nothing, Jon Snow.”

4.13.18

On Wednesday, I read an article online about investing and the author suggested a book title.  I went to Amazon, found the book, but poked around the “Other Suggested Titles” section and saw one by Tony Robbins — yes, motivational speaker Tony Robbins wrote a finance book, two in fact!

There was something about this intersection of financial and personal growth that appeals/appealed to me much more than a dry, or avid, or Greek-speak, or “for dummies” book on money.  This is ALL NEW TO ME, and along the way, it would be nice to have someone who’s enthusiastic about the information, but also espouses values that align with mine: personal development, gratitude, giving.

So on Wednesday, I used my Audible “credit” (as in, you paid $15/mo for this) to buy the audio book of Money: Mastering the Game, and started listening.

On Thursday, I bought the hard copy, now at my bedside!

I am LOVING this.  I am loving all the new information, trying to understand how these things are working, feeling excited to open the door to a world that not only felt closed off to me, but that I didn’t even know was there.

I’m brushing the mean and meager concepts at this point, reading a bit, asking J the difference between a mutual fund and an index fund, reading more.  I love Robbins’ way of writing/speaking in his book: he curses(!), yet he also doesn’t presume that I, the reader, know anything about personal finance and doesn’t write his explanations in a righteous, pedantic manner.

This. Feels. Accessible.

And what he stresses again and again is that the “game” has been somewhat written to be overcomplex so that you rely on people to do it for you who take a huge chunk of your earnings.  He’s not anti-Wall Street, and explicitly says so in the book, but I’m in the “debunking the financial myths” section, so he’s certainly focused right now on not giving away your power because it’s all too much to follow.

He’s psyched by what he’s saying.  He’s psyched by the possibilities for the reader.  Which is to say, he’s psyched for me.

And, damnit, so am I.

(NOTE: when googling Tony Robbins just now, up come articles that say he’s embroiled in MeToo controversy.  I just want to acknowledge I’ve seen that.)

awareness · finance · money

Cashing In.

4.12.18.jpeg

In a series of exceedingly sexy tasks during my Spring Break last week, I took my car in for its 100K service, went to the dentist, and, later in the week, went to the periodontist (gum guy).  (I also got a hair cut, a wax, and a pedicure, so, you know, sexy.)

At the visit with the periodontist, I told him that my last dentist referred me to one, whom I’d seen about 2 years ago, and he was extremely intent that I needed near-immediate gum surgery to restore/delay (slight) gum recession on my two lower teeth.

Well, gum guy, how much will this run me?  Well, with your dental insurance, it will cost about $2,400.  Ah huh.  Okay, well, thanks for the intel, I’ll start saving up and when I have that amount, I’ll come on back.

And so it’s been.  I began saving a little a month toward that surgery in a Capital One savings account until I paused last Fall when I changed jobs.  I didn’t know what my new benefits would cover, and now I had an FSA account through work, so let’s just keep that $1,100 in savings and wait til I’m ready.

In December, I figured I was, called up that periodontist to schedule the surgery… and then had one of my financial ladies monthly meetings.  I told them about the upcoming surgery and how I was going to split the 2 teeth over the change of the calendar year so that my dental benefits would cover more.

No! one declared, eyes wide.  She’d had that surgery and it was an incredible amount of recovery time, there’s no way I could do it on a Friday and go up to the mountains on Saturday for New Year’s.

Ugh, really?  Yeah, it’s best to do them both at once.

Okay, so I cancelled that appointment (had a great time in Tahoe), and considered that I would do the surgery over my summer break.

Well, I switched dentists and saw this one for the first time last week.  With her fingers in my mouth, she was saying that their periodontist was great and that the gum surgery wasn’t traumatic.

Not traumatic? I replied, aghast. They tear a chunk out of the roof of your mouth and staple it to your gums!

No, no, she said.  We don’t really do that anymore.  Our guy has different techniques now.  You should see him.  And so I did, last Friday.

This guy agreed that the old way was barbaric and awful to heal, so they have a new procedure (using cadaver tissue…) that is much less invasive and much easier to heal.  He also said that, yeah, I could do the surgery, but it certainly wasn’t imminent and we will do a “watch and wait” and I’ll come back in the Fall.

Hm… okay, well, how much would this one cost anyway?  About the same.

Okay, so my FSA this school-calendar year all went to therapy (oy), so I’ll have to wait for it to re-up in August, so it won’t be until next summer when I do the surgery if I do it at all.

So… what do I do with this $1,100 that’s been sitting in savings?

WELL (and here’s my whole point!), in a blog post or many to come, I will describe to you the mind-altering/shattering revelation of J’s explaining “inflation” to me last Saturday.  It has exPLOded my brain to realize that the happy-joy-joy I receive from adding $.07 to my Dental Savings each month is a growth-rate that is FAR BELOW INFLATION, so that what looks like $1100 today will go way less far next Summer.

HOLY. SHIT.

So, in an effort to end this blog quickly and get off to work, I will say this summary:

I did a BLIZZARD of research in the last 4 days, discovered what a CD is, and have moved that dental money into a 12-month CD.  This means that I can’t touch it for a year, but I don’t want or need to, and that my money will make a LEEETLE bit more in interest than in the Capital One account, though it still won’t match inflation.

There’s a lot to come here about all the mind-blowing info I feel like I’m just opening up, but the general idea is this:

I have been saving $$ diligently for years.  I have been so STOKED about those seven cent increases each month.  I have felt adult and pleased and competent.  AND I HAVE BEEN MISSING OUT.

I’m so f’ing excited by this, I have to tell you.  I have opened more accounts in the last 4 days than I have in the last 10 years, and there is more (way more) to come.

Money, work for me better while I sleep, while I drive to work, while I dig plaque from receding gums.

I am f’ing psyched.