my one word

In the free Financial Detox Challenge I hosted on Facebook, I asked participants to introduce themselves by sharing one word that describes the way they currently feel about their finances.

The answers were very telling, ranging from “overwhelmed”, “distracted”, “nervous”, and “pathetic”, all the way to “autopilot”.

We've been working through some of these issues over the last few weeks as we detoxed, decluttered, and made sense of each person's financial affairs.

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But it dawned on me this morning that I never gave my word for how I feel about our finances.

This one is an important one for me to share with you, as it's why I do what I do–so that I can teach others how to get this for themselves.

It's show and tell time!

My Word for Our Finances is = Choices.

While at a party the other night, I struck up a conversation with a CPA. She has several clients with one in particular constituting a large percentage of her earnings for years.

They no longer need her for a variety of reasons that I can't remember.

But what do I remember? This lady telling me that she was looking for a new client to fill this vacant slot that would be less stressful. She also wants to continue working from home to avoid the heinous Houston commute. For these self-named luxuries that will undoubtedly add to her Quality of Life, she was more than willing to take less money.

Why was she in a position to choose to take less money? Because her finances were in order.

I couldn't help but radiate as she told me all this, chomping at the bit to get a word in. “That is the most awesome thing I try to impart on people about why I'm SO passionate about finances,” I said. “If you have things in place, then you can make choices and start to design your life. You don't have to take those high-paying and high-stressful clients anymore because you don't need the money or at least not all of the money that others need to support their lives.”

And it's completely true. Having your financial affairs in order gives you so much more than interest and dividends; suddenly you have time to think through decisions instead of hopping on knee-jerk reactions that might not make sense for you in the long term.

It helps you in how to manage your money.

Choices Money Has Given Us in Our Lives

To really drive home the importance of this, I want to give you examples of how it has played out in our lives.

  • Chose to Own instead of Rent: We had the savings, so we took advantage of Houston's affordable home ownership market (rent and mortgage costs are equal in many cases, but of course there are other home ownership costs a renter doesn't incur) in time to score the free-and-clear $8,000 first-time homebuyer's tax credit. Ka-ching! This in turn allowed us to take $7,000 of that and put it down on our debt, catapulting our get-out-of-debt goal before walking down the aisle over four years ago.
  • Chose to Quit my Job instead of Continuing to Work Weekends/Nights on My Writing: I was able to choose to quit my full-time job to pursue my full-time passion…without having yet figured out how to make full-time income from it (still working on that!). I can't even describe to you the joys + life satisfaction this has given me.
  • Chose Dayshift instead of Nightshift: We knew the potential implications of Paul telling his boss — after 6 grueling months of 12-hour nights (7 nights on/7 nights off) — that he would no longer do nightshift. I mean, they could have just told him to pack his bags. Fortunately they did not. However we never would have been able to make such a huge Quality-of-Life upgrade had we not had the savings to back up the potential consequences.

This is what I want for YOU and YOUR loved ones. Your lifestyle + choices may be completely different from mine. And that's totally cool. The only thing I care about is helping you get to the point where you have choices at all. What a difference this will make in your life! And it doesn't matter where you are in your money evolution at the moment — getting out of debt, saving gobs of money, shifting up, or lifestyle design. Start with where you are, with what you have. I guarantee you that a year from now you will be super-glad you did.

13 replies
  1. Mike
    Mike says:

    Choices is a great word. My wife and I are trying to stress to our kids the importance of smart choices and that everything is a trade-off. They want to buy an Elsa doll with their savings? Ok, well if you do that you can’t buy a new video game. You can’t have everything so you have to choose what matters most to you.

    • Amanda L Grossman
      Amanda L Grossman says:

      That is a priceless lesson you are teaching your children, Mike. If they fully understand that, then it won’t be as difficult for them to make financial decisions (when they get more complex). Thanks for sharing!

  2. Samantha
    Samantha says:

    I love your money “word” and I think mine would be something similar, along the lines of “freedom”. Which to me, choices = freedom. Whenever I tell a friend/colleague that we have paid off our house, etc. or that we are planning to retire extremely early, many times I get the stumped looked, and asked “But what will you DO?!” And then I just smile and say “Whatever we want!” Because it’s so true. Maybe stay at home with our (future) children, maybe travel the world! People do not understand that with money comes choices.

  3. Zee
    Zee says:

    Having options is very freeing. I’m just starting to realize the power that I have now that I’m not as financially tied to all of my decisions. Being able to speak up at work about things that you don’t like or agree with really helps increase my quality of life. Now I realize that people without the same financial security might also speak up, but many times fear is a stronger emotion to them so they don’t want to shake things up because they fear the consequences or rely completely on their jobs to get by. I know there was a point in life where I was one of these people. I was much more likely to just put my head down and grumble about the decisions that were made that I didn’t like at work simply because I didn’t feel like I had any power. Having options makes your position at the negotiating table much stronger.

    • Amanda
      Amanda says:

      For sure! And it doesn’t mean actually leaving a 9-5, necessarily; just knowing that you could changes everything.

  4. FI Investor
    FI Investor says:

    Excellent article! Almost everything in life involves a choice, sometimes it is too easy to make the wrong choice but the difference is having the discipline in your life to make the right choice no matter what the consequences are.

  5. Mrs. Maroon
    Mrs. Maroon says:

    Wow!! Samantha could have literally been sitting inside my head! Only difference is we already have kiddos. And it hurts every day to drop them off at day care. I long for the day when I can do “whatever I want”!!

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