It’s time for a date. A date with yourself. Well, a date with yourself and your money. Your money stuff.
What in the world am I talking about?
We all have a lot of challenges in our money lives to navigate. If you run a private practice, you have both your personal finances AND your practice's finances to take care of. That's a lot!
Adding to the weight of this work is the emotional burden. Money stuff can be overwhelming. Especially when we feel that we don't quite know what we should be doing. And especially if we suspect we're at least partial avoiding some of our money stuff.
Resistance, avoidance, procrastination. These are all natural (and very human!) reactions to dealing with intimidating situations. And money is OFTEN intimidating.
However, when we don't address what's happening in our money lives, we may be planting the seeds of our future suffering.
So if you've been worrying, avoiding or procrastinating, it's ok. It's human.
If you're holding any self-judgment, I'd invite you to forgive yourself. Have compassion for your own internal discomfort (and suffering) related to money.
And from this moment forward, I'd invite you to explore a new way to begin relating with your money.
Where to start? Well, this quote from Pema Chödrön's book The Places that Scare You offers a hint:
Discipline is the conduct that de-escalates suffering.
What does THAT mean? What does a quote from a Buddhist nun possibly have to do with money misery?
Well, quite a lot as it turns out.
The Discipline of Money Dates
This is a time for you to sit down with your money stuff. You take a gentle and curious look at whatever is showing up for you in your personal finances, your practice finances or both. I encourage ongoing money dates: a plan to consistently engage (even in a very small way) with your money over time.
Click this image 👇 to hear describe money dates. Or if you'd prefer, keep reading below the video.
Here’s my approach to Money Dates:
- Pick the right length of time and frequency. Only you have intimate knowledge of your internal emotional landscape and external financial circumstances. Only you can pick the right length of time and frequency. If money stuff feels totally overwhelming and scary, maybe the right length is 5 minutes every other day. Or it might be 60 minutes every other week. Pick what feels doable and right for you. If you’re not sure, start with 30 minutes once each week. From there, experiment with different lengths and frequencies to discover the right cadence for you.
- Schedule your money date. I’d encourage you to select a time where you typically have energy, focus and willingness to dig into something a bit challenging. For me, that usually means first thing in the morning. And NEVER Sunday evening (I never get anything done then). Pick the time that you suspect works best for you. And block it off in your calendar. Treat the appointment with the same priority as you would a client session.
- Dive on in. When the time for your money date arrives, find a place where you feel centered, calm and safe. Put your phone on silent, close all the extraneous applications on your computer. Pick something, anything, in your money life and explore it. And just notice. What are the numbers? What is the situation? What is your reaction? What bodily sensations do you notice? If you discover a strong urge to run away from this practice, simply notice that, too. And stay. Stay and notice. Notice both your internal emotional experience and the external details of your financial life.
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What do I actually DO on this money date?!
I think of a money date as a practice for a reason. I believe it’s analogous to the practice of meditation. You’re not actually here to DO anything. You’re not here to ACCOMPLISH anything.
You’re here to notice. You’re here to explore. You’re here to cultivate the practice of showing up. You’re here to gently learn more about what’s going on in your money life.
By giving yourself this space, you create the opportunity for your mind to create connections, reveal insights and for next steps to naturally emerge.
And, over time, by proving to yourself you CAN show up and dive into your money stuff, you’ll begin to dial down any stress or anxiety.
And that is why I believe that the discipline of the money date is conduct that de-escalates suffering.
You learn to engage and move forward. Rather than avoid, get stagnant and eventually suffer.
Suggestions of What to Look At 🔍
Follow your intuition when deciding what to look at during your money date. Usually, you’ll find your attention drawn to something that feels pressing or urgent. If you feel like you can start there, great. And if that item feels like too much or too overwhelming, I’d invite you to start elsewhere. There is no right or wrong place to begin.
If you’re not sure where to start here are some options... Log into your bank or investment account and look at a few balances and transactions. Spend some time looking at business expenses or receipts. Find and read an article on investing or retirement planning.
The Evolution of the Money Date
As you begin to more frequently engage with your money life, you’ll likely discover tasks which need to be done. Tasks like bookkeeping, tracking your spending, moving money between business and personal accounts or even rebalancing your investment portfolio. As you define these tasks, I’d encourage you to move them out of the money date space, and give them their own spot on your calendar.
Keep the money date open, spacious and exploratory.
And if you find yourself avoiding or skipping money dates, that’s ok! For most of us, that’s part of the journey. Accept yourself as an imperfect yet perfect human being and move forward. Every day, every MOMENT is an opportunity for a fresh start.
Remember none of this is about getting it right or perfect (or even done). It’s a journey of learning, growth and progress.
I hope you find this practice helpful. I'd love to hear about your experience. Contact me and let me know!
Turning Point is a registered investment advisor in the state of California. Please visit turningpointhq.com for important information and additional disclosures. This article is provided for general information and illustration purposes only. Nothing contained in the material constitutes financial, legal or tax advice; a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security; or investment advisory services. I encourage you to consult a financial planner, accountant, and/or legal counsel for advice specific to your situation. Read the full Disclaimer here.