Freaked About Finances? Pennies, Panic, and Permission

“We can all get good with money; we need to get good with our emotions, first…Financial freedom is for the few, but financial wholeness is for everyone.” Tiffany Aliche (NPR)

Sitting across from my own financial advisor, I notice a few wobbles: anxiety, hope, confusion, and an invitation to trust the process.

Are you feeling freaked about your finances? Money and big emotions are uncomfortable bunk mates. Can we find peace, and perspective in the middle of the mess? Who can we trust to provide support and direction?

Big feelings and finances

My own relationship with money management is a jumble of, Am I going to be okay? and, I’m definitely not going to be okay! and, Maybe if I make a game of this whole saving-spending-surviving-thriving thing…

Have you had the experience of compassionate and curious attention around a topic that can be really distressing? Finances can be scary, crippling, sticky, freeing things. If you are someone who has experienced financial abuse, you have an altogether Other kind of knowing about this stuff.

So, let’s approach this topic with a deeply human perspective. We love. We need. Our longings, desires, fears, and wound affect this conversation.

We feel

Guilt, Shame, and Embarrassment, and also Self-trust, Hope, Intentional Self-care, Gratitude/contentment

Fear and Anxiety, and also Peace, Trust, Gratitude/contentment

Anger, and also Patience, Self-possession, Non-attachment, Gratitude/contentment

Greed and Jealousy (keeping up with the Jones’), and also Justice seeking, fairness (per crises like separation & divorce), Gratitude/contentment

Overwhelmed and Burdened, and also Intention, Empowerment, Gratitude/contentment

How might we be with these with Curiosity and Attentiveness? In what ways are they simply fingers pointing to something that needs my attention right now? Are they trying to help me?

For example, anger: is it trying to tell me something is out of order? Can I use its powerful energy to propel me forward in healthy ways? How can I become more detached from (or move toward in a nurturing way) the anger I feel about my finances?

Why is money such an emotional subject?

Need. Desire and fear, longing and wound. These things surface in different ways throughout our lives. If you come from a family whose finances were stable, you may not experience much fear of lack. On the other hand, financial anxiety or abuses in our homes, religious institutions, and workplaces can stir the feelings pot in a disruptive way.

“Our feelings are almost always unrelated to the financial decisions we make and indicative of something much deeper.” (Ramit Sethi, Harvard Business Review)

Something much deeper like…

–        Our familial and personal history

–        Societal pressure

–        Fear for the future

–        We have felt needs – food, shelter, etc.

–        We have desires and longings (quality of life, hobbies, freedom to simply live our lives, etc.)

Maybe you have a narrative (story) that you tell yourself about money? Do any of this ring true for you?

I feel guilty when I spend money on myself. I wonder what that’s about?

I avoid dealing with money paperwork at all costs. Why do I do that?

I believe that money will make me happy. Is that true?

I should be ashamed of myself for having debt, or for not having my retirement figured out. Is that helpful thinking?

I don’t have any control over my finances. Is this true of my life right now? (If you are experiencing financial abuse, meet us over here at a journal entry that speaks directly to your unique needs.)

How can we engage emotions about finances in helpful ways instead of ways that keep us stuck, broke, or in debt? 

We wander around in a definition of spirituality and growth that is expansive, curious, humble, and hopeful. Despite what the messages of our culture might shout, finances (maybe a better word here is “provision”?) are part of that sworl of meaning and survival and personal healing.

Perhaps you engage money in a way that acts as a plaster cast to the emotional symptoms of a deeper issue/longing? Maybe there are days that money is a bit mismanaged in an effort to fill an emotional vacuum or ache?

What would it be like to turn our attention inward in all areas of our lives, to tend to the difficult feelings we’re having in many areas, and apply the same non-anxious, curious compassion to All of Me…all of Self? What if the emotions we experience around finances are simply the parts of us that are needing some extra attention? Not forever. Just for now.

Can we forgive ourselves for financial missteps and get curious about moving forward in a different way? A way that is more grounded, generative, creative? A way that might move us in the direction of our longings and away from feeling stuck in old patterns? And what if we don’t need to do this alone?

Support from women who love managing finances

It is difficult to tackle both the pennies and the panic at the same time. Finding actual support — like, women who know how to attend to the nitty gritty decimal places and sweeping spreadsheets — can be a way forward in safety and freedom.

There are women in the financial industry — planners, investors, insurance providers — who are both gurus and advocates. These are professionals who know what it is to be vulnerable, concerned, or even financially abused. They can assist with everything from setting a basic budget to building (tiny brick up on tiny brick) for the future. Do you need a place to start exploring this for yourself? Any of these women can capably provide guidance on how to advocate for yourself. They believe in you, and in what you wish to build. You do not have to tackle this enormous part of your life alone. Here’s help:

Finances 1

Elevate Financial – Ellen Covey and her team offer personalized, compassionate, purpose-filled attention to investments, insurance needs, and building for the future. Our experience of Ellen is that she is deeply caring and personally invested in the wellbeing of her clients.

Finances 2

Focused on Finances — Shawna Kerr-Smith is a hands-on, blue-print-ready guide available to help you gain understanding and control over your personal finances. We know Shawna to be efficient, thorough, and joyfully invested in client care.

Finances 3

Global Compass Consulting — Martina Butler-O’Mahoney works internationally as a financial divorce consultant, coach, and mediator. Martina brings hard-won wisdom and years of experience to her specialized care. Find her personal story (as well as solid, practical advice) in her book, “In the Absence of Experience“.

Less about finance and more about freaking out

If it’s feeling like a bit too much to connect with a financial support, but you’d like a place to begin exploring the narrative and emotions you are experiencing around this, you do not have to do that alone. These are deep waters…it’s okay to enter them slowly.

Let’s start a conversation!

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