Practice “Radical Financial Clarity”

Mikelann Valterra is the director of the Women's Earning Institute, a money coach, prosperity teacher, speaker and published author.

dw_balloonsDid I Spend Too Much?
My little sister is getting married in November and we are in high wedding gear. As the sister of the bride, there is plenty to keep me busy. It’s fun, and daunting too. Luckily, my sister is a born planner and has it all under control.

She’s had two bridal showers—one for the family and one for close friends. I bought a “safe” bridal shower gift for the first one. For her second shower, I found myself wandering through the Love Pantry, looking for something a bit more… well, you know. Let’s just say that I found something that crosses the Kama Sutra with a deck of cards… oh- and edible body frosting… Yum.

Now why do I share this with you? Well, in my practice of “radical financial clarity”, I was sitting down the day after her second shower working on my money. It was only the second week of October. But goodness, the month is adding up quickly. What can I say—I spent more than I intended, AND I have no regrets.

Real Time, Right Now, Not Later
“Radical financial clarity” means, among other things, to get in REAL TIME with your money. Many people look at their money after it is all spent. They sit down and analyze their credit card statements or they look at on-line banking and see where all the money went last month. While this can be helpful, sometimes it is depressing. (“Oh, look how much I spent… wow.”) The money is already gone!

Being in real time means knowing where your money is going right now and having a flexible plan based on what is happening. Believe it or not, I always know how much money I am going to have at the end of the month. How? I create a spending plan for each month and then I begin to adjust it once the month is under way. This I what I teach my clients to do.

For example, when I sat down over the weekend and looked at where I was in October, at first I was frustrated. I spent more than I intended to on the bridal shower gifts. But I wouldn’t change it. Then I realized I had to make another adjustment for how much my bride’s maid dress alteration was going to cost me. (Yeah, yeah, I’m sure I’ll wear it again with more alterations…) Oh—and my car’s rear window defrost isn’t working. Lovely. But I have a method of looking at this in REAL TIME and making on-the-fly adjustments.

The bottom line is: I decided to wait on ordering the rest of my window blinds for my kitchen until November. I also called a friend and said “let’s eat dinner at my house before we hit the play next week”. She was thrilled!

Just 5 Minutes a Day
Practicing radical financial clarity does take time:

  • I spend about five minutes a day on my money, simply tracking what is happening.
  • Once a week I really look and think about it. Given how much I work for my money, though, what is five minutes? I do find it strange that some people work 40 to 60 hours a week for money and then say they don’t have any time to manage it. Are you guilty of this?

Learning to spend time on your money is one of the biggest lessons I impart to my clients. As a money coach, I work with professional women who want to heal their relationship to money. I teach them how to escape the clutches of the money fog and feel more in control of their finances. Sounds wonderful right? Yes, it is. It’s truly amazing work.

But here is the catch. My clients, just like me, have to spend time on their money. It’s not just what they do with me in session—my clients learn how to stay on top of their money in-between and after our sessions. In the beginning, I am right in there with them, looking at accounts, talking about how they track, helping them plan, and providing an accountability element to their actions. Over time, we move to a higher and deeper level with their finances. But one of the first things they learn is that they must spend time on their finances. The payoff is less financial stress, more peace and a feeling of being in control of your life.

I’m as busy as anyone out there. Yet I can find five minutes a day to pay attention to my money. After all, I just worked eight hours to acquire some of it! What’s five minutes to look at it? You can do this too.

It's Not About Being Perfect
Learning to manage money is not about learning to be perfect with all your money choices. We’re all doing the best we can. And we can’t predict everything that happens. When you find the perfect Kama Sutra bridal shower gift, buy it! But knowing that you have a way of balancing out the rest of the month is a beautiful thing indeed. Less stress and more satisfaction is the name of the game.

Great … So Now What?
If you read this and don’t know what to do with your “money management” time, you are NOT alone. Many professionals don’t know how to “manage” their money. Just know that help is available. I’m on the faculty of the Financial Recovery Counseling Institute, so in addition to my own money coaching private practice I train new money coaches throughout the world. If I’m not the money coach for you, I can find someone who is.

mikelann valterra

Mikelann Valterra is the director of the Women's Earning Institute, a money coach, prosperity teacher, speaker and published author.

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