The Corey Story

My random wanderings and things I find entertaining

Posts Tagged ‘Sensible Coaching’

Bringing the Ka-Ching: Saving your Bacon

Posted by Corey Kaster on March 3, 2010

Bringing the Ka-ching: Saving Your Bacon

I’ve individual results with money are often much less about the economy and much more about the way we think about money. After all, our actions are filtered through, as well as effected by, our thinking. Unfortunately, our thinking can sometimes just plain get us in trouble. In the very least, it gets us off track.

There are many ways in which that happens. Mostly these issues stem from habit, as we continue to think about and deal with our money in the same old ways we always have. Since for most of us money is such an old and taboo topic, we are reluctant to look at how to do it differently. This is one way we get trapped. We keep doing it the way we have always been doing it because we are comfortable with that. We don’t look at new possibilities.

This month I’d like to talk about one of those money thinking patterns that I would go so far as to call a money trap: Savings. I’ve been talking to people for a long time about saving money. Mostly, I run into the “I can’t save money” perspective. People focus on the scenario of whenever they have saved money something comes along and just takes it away. You know how this works. The appliance dies, the plumbing leaks, the tires go bald. Something always seems to just happen.

Like all other money issues, the way to change your perspective and therefore the results around savings is a two pronged attack. First, there are the beliefs. And second, there are the actions and habits.

I have been working with people about the belief part for quite awhile. After some time of the roller coaster of saving and then having the saving deleted, most people stop saving. Of course, there are some people who never started saving to being with. Whichever it is for you, what your brain knows is that you don’t save. That’s why it’s important to save. You need to have your brain know you do. Since this part is about your brain, or more accurately your belief, the amount you save isn’t important. The actual act of saving is what is important. Your belief needs to shift from “I can’t save” or “I don’t save” to “Yes, I save”. So the supporting action here is to just start saving something, anything, each month. And since we are in the business here of creating belief, have this periodic action be intentional each and every time. What I mean is, if you have the bank automatically put money in savings without a monthly action by you, you don’t actually have the monthly experience of saving in your head. Automatic deposits are convenient and effective. They are even elegant in a way. They just are not individually intentional, and for this game we actually want you to notice what you are doing, each and every time. You want to notice and have your brain say “Wow, look at that, I just saved. I really do this.” So, write the check, click the transaction yourself, drop the coins in the piggy bank, whatever. Just make sure it is you that is performing the consistent actions of saving.

Okay, step two coming up. This new action I’m going to suggest comes from a confusion in thinking. Let’s side bar a moment to look at the difference between how companies and individuals think about “savings”. Mostly, individuals have one savings account. Often, there is also a long term retirement account (IRA, 401K, or some other alpha-numerically identifiable entity) which is removed from my every day thinking account. Notice how that thing that is “automatically” taken out of your check somehow doesn’t “count” as savings any more? Anyway, for this discussion, most people have one savings account. Companies have two savings concepts; Long Term Savings and Operating Capital. Often there is only one savings account, the Long Term Savings one, and the Operating Capital is represented by a little goody called a Line of Credit. Ideally, money goes in and out of the Line of Credit to help smooth out the ups and downs of money in the business. In some ways the Home Equity Loan can work well that way, but, unfortunately most people don’t use one for cash flow, they use it for buying stuff.

So what does “cash flow” actually mean? It’s one of those money terms, isn’t it? Money, just like the tides, ebbs and flows. It does that for all of us. I actually refer to the times when there is less of it as the “cash ebb”. It helps me remember that there will be the corresponding flow. We tend to focus our attention more on the times when it goes out, than when it comes back, don’t we? So cash flow is simply the idea that we need a certain amount of money in a given period, say a month, and that the money may be needed to go out (ebb) before we get it back in (flow). Timing. Remember, timing is everything. So operating capital for the company is money that helps them pay money out when needed, before they get the money back in to cover it.

Individuals do this too. BUT, they do it from their savings. AND, as they do that, an emotional money trap door opens up and they fall through. Here’s how that trap door works. We have had to spend money before we had it to cover monthly bills, or to pay the property taxes, or the plumber. Fine, but that little nasty voice in our head says “see, you can never save money. It just goes. Why even bother. You know you can’t”, on and on and on. The trap door opened and you fell through, thus sabotaging your ability to “save”.

So here’s the idea. Have two savings accounts. One is Operating Capital: money to be used for cash flow, for the periodic ebbs and flows. The other is the “real” savings, the savings for vacations and other dreams. By separating the two at your bank, you also separate them in your mind.

As I’m writing, I can hear a bunch of you out there saying “that’s just great, where does she think we are going to find this money for these two accounts? We can’t make the bills now!” And you thought I couldn’t hear you, didn’t you?

Yes, it’s a challenge. But actually separating the two money ideas in your brain is the first step to changing this. You can choose to keep doing it the old way, or you can start changing your thinking and habits to move to the new place. And remember, it’s not the amount that is the important thing here. It’s the action.

How much do you need in your Operating Capital? There’s not really a clear formula. Finance people usually recommend 3 – 6 months of money. That can seem huge to start with, can’t it? Don’t start there. Start with setting up the two accounts and putting something in each one every month. Many of you are self-employed and need to pay estimated taxes. Start with putting each month 1/12 of what you paid in taxes last year. Start. Just start. And then keep doing it, and when you have to spend that all, start again. Did I mention starting?

Yesterday, while I was waiting to see my tax preparer (yes, it’s that time again, folks) there were two guys chatting in the waiting room. One of them was actually talking about how this works. He was complaining about his water bill. “Not only does water cost more than it used to, it’s both water and sewer, but even worse, they only bill it once every three months. How am I supposed to deal with that?” The answer to his question is “have an Operating Capital Savings account”. It’s a real issue. Even if you aren’t a number cruncher, you can plan to have these two accounts. Call them whatever you like. Big savings, Little savings, Short term, Long term, Necessities, Dreams. The names don’t matter. What matters is the change in your beliefs and habits. Just start.

Upcoming Teleclass:

This month’s Money Knot talked about how our beliefs and habits around savings can get us in trouble. The March teleclass goes deeper into our heads and deals with not only where all this money stuff started, but some of the ways we perpetuate it.

Teleclass: How Old Is The Money Manager In Your Head?

$ Are you ever curious about just where all your patterns got started?

$ Do you ever notice that you seem stuck when it comes to money?

$ Ever wondered why you just can’t seem to shake those old money habits?

$ Do you ever feel lost when it comes to understanding your money practices?

There are some real reasons for these issues. Once you have more clarity around how money works in your head, you will be much better equipped to get unstuck and move toward different results.

Date: Wednesday, March 17th

Time: 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Pacific (1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Eastern)

Registration: www.sensiblecoaching.com

Fee: FREE your only cost for this call is your regular long distance call charges.

___________________________________________________

The Money Knot Story:

In case you are wondering why this is called The Money Knot, here’s the story. I’ve always been fond of Celtic knots, and you notice I use one as my logo. From my perspective, there are several things about these knots that relate to our money journey. One, you can see the whole knot; nothing is hidden, it’s all revealed. Two, the knot has no beginning and no end; it’s an ongoing, dynamic process. Three, the knot that I have chosen is a bit askew; our maneuvering is often out of the box.

Our money lives are like this knot. They are a visible maze that is intricate and sometimes challenging. Sometimes we get stuck in a corner; sometimes money is confusing, embarrassing or even scary. And yet the knot is always there. It’s a never ending relationship.

Together we go into your knot, and I help you to understand and maneuver through the knot. You will get familiar with the territory, know your way around, understand the twists and turns. Together we will make sense of where you are on your own personal money path and help you get to where you want to be.

Happy New Ka-ching in the New Year!

Shell Tain, pcc, cpcc

$ensible Coaching

503.258.1630

shell@sensiblecoaching.com

www.sensiblecoaching.com

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The Money Knot – Flexible Standards

Posted by Corey Kaster on January 29, 2010

Your ka-ching newsletter from $ensible Coaching

Flexible Standards

February 2010

In this issue

Bringing the Ka-ching

Welcome to the February 2010 Money Knot, a newsletter with articles that bring you to the ka-ching.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about something we might to label as Customer Service or Customer Satisfaction. I get fascinated by the way independent business people often shoot themselves in the foot around these issues. As a self employed person myself, I’m all too aware of what we all go through to get clients. We work hard at presenting our products and our selves in manners that will be appealing to others. Certainly, there is a great deal yet to learn about how to get clients. I’m more interested here in talking about how to keep them, or at least to not alienate them. Oddly enough, or maybe not so oddly, it is often a money issue that tips the scale, isn’t it?

So, let’s explore this some more. A fascinating thing I learned years ago, but that still eludes many small business owners is the FACT that if you make a mistake with a customer, and fix it well, you have more loyalty from that customer than if you hadn’t messed up in the first place. What a wonderful idea. I can be a doofus, and make a mess, and if I clean it up in a timely and efficient fashion, I’ll be lauded for it. Wow! And the opposite is also true. If I mess up, and leave the client in the lurch, I will definitely not be getting them back.

I’ve got a few examples for you to consider. I don’t really mean to pick on contractors, but since we have used a couple lately, they come to mind. First we had a company that fixed the driveway at our old house. They did a great job, clean, on time, on budget. When we moved and needed a smaller concrete job, we called them first. We had to call them about four times before the person who we needed to talk with called us back. When he finally came to give us a bid, he tried to convince us of a very grandiose expansion of our project: “Let’s take out the whole patio and redo the whole thing!” We called him back and asked for a quote on what we had said we wanted to begin with. He said he would quote that, but then he never called us back. I imagine he’s sometimes puzzled at not having more business. He certainly won’t have any more from us.

So then we get another contractor to do the work. Good bid, on time, good job. We paid him promptly, and called to ask for him to come back at do some clean up of the mess the concrete left. This was well within the scope of the work, and he said he would be back in a couple of days to finish up, and we never heard from him or saw him again. It seems that once he had been paid, he disappeared. I make up that for him a good job is one he gets paid for, not one that is complete. He, too, will not get any more work from us.

A client told me a story recently of a situation in a department store where she shops. She’s been shopping there for many, many years. They know her well. She came in and bought several items. One blouse she liked had a rip in the seam. They said “oh, we can fix that”. So she asked if there would be a reduction in the price. They said “no, no one will ever know, it’s on the seam”. This didn’t sit well with her. She didn’t want to pay full price for a piece that was damaged, even if it got fixed. She refused the sale, but more importantly now has developed a very negative feeling about the store. By not fixing this situation well, they have damaged a very established relationship, and have probably lost money in the long run. It’s not about who’s right here: it’s about understanding and accommodating your customer.

Do you want them to come back? Do you want them to refer you to others? Do you want them to have a positive experience with you?

Certainly, as an independent business person, you need to have standards. Those standards help the client to respect you. I have a friend in customer service who says it’s about managing client’s expectations, not meeting them. I think that’s true. Help the customer to know what you expect. Set ground rules, set expectations. Set high standards. And then be flexible and accommodating.

Yes, you can do both. And you can do it around money, too. Let’s talk about fees a bit. I charge a certain fee per session for clients. That’s the fee. That’s my standard. You can imagine that some people feel they can’t afford my fee. How do I accommodate? How am I flexible? Well, in a variety of ways. I let the client decided how many times a month we will talk. I offer complementary sample sessions. I do free teleclasses. I have a liberal policy around schedule changes. I’m generous with my time and experience. And all the while I hold a standard and don’t discount my fees. Flexible and accommodating. And yes, I let people know these things upfront. These, of course, are just examples, my examples. Holding to standards, yet being flexible can be done in many ways.

I truly think the thing that is missing is the goal, the standard, the mission statement piece around how to treat customers/clients. Seems to me like it’s the good old Golden Rule. Treat others as would like to be treated. I’d like to know what to expect up front. I’d like to not be surprised. If I have a problem, I want to be treated respectfully, like my concern matters, and to be given some attention. I recently changed my business bank because I was tired of being ignored, stuck in phone trees, and regulated. I want personal attention, not rubber stamping. Don’t we all?

So think about it: how do you treat your clients? What do your current actions with them say about your standards? Are there ways you are forgetting to make allies of your clients? How can you be flexible and treat them like you’d like to be treated?

I really love to refer people to businesses and services I admire and respect, and ultimately, as I market my own business, that’s what I’m doing. I’m referring others to me, because I believe they will get great value and service. Let’s all strive to be able to do that, to be proud of how we treat each other.

Upcoming Teleclass:

This month’s Money Knot is about how, as business people, we sometimes shoot ourselves in the foot. Often, those unfortunate lapses in judgment are around our fees. Come explore how to truly understand your value to your customer/client.

Teleclass: Charge What You Are Worth

$ Do you often find yourself tongue tied when people ask your fees or rates?

$ Do you sometimes discount your rates even before you are asked to?

$ Do you occasionally think that deserving people cannot afford you?

$ Do you ever feel guilty about how much you charge?

$ Have you ever thought that you would be a better person if you gave away your services?

This teleclass is an examination of how we often self-sabotage ourselves around our fees and our charges. In this class, we will start to untangle and shift your beliefs about your worth and value, and their affects on your fees and clients.

Date: Wednesday, February 17th

Time: 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Pacific (1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Eastern)

Registration: www.sensiblecoaching.com

Fee: FREE your only cost for this call is your regular long distance call charges.

___________________________________________________

The Money Knot Story:

In case you are wondering why this is called The Money Knot, here’s the story. I’ve always been fond of Celtic knots, and you notice I use one as my logo. From my perspective, there are several things about these knots that relate to our money journey. One, you can see the whole knot; nothing is hidden, it’s all revealed. Two, the knot has no beginning and no end; it’s an ongoing, dynamic process. Three, the knot that I have chosen is a bit askew; our maneuvering is often out of the box.

Our money lives are like this knot. They are a visible maze that is intricate and sometimes challenging. Sometimes we get stuck in a corner; sometimes money is confusing, embarrassing or even scary. And yet the knot is always there. It’s a never ending relationship.

Together we go into your knot, and I help you to understand and maneuver through the knot. You will get familiar with the territory, know your way around, understand the twists and turns. Together we will make sense of where you are on your own personal money path and help you get to where you want to be.

Quick Links…

______________________________________________________________

$ensible Coaching Home

Coaching With Shell

Stuff For Sale

Shell’s Bio

Happy New Ka-ching in the New Year!

Shell Tain, pcc, cpcc

$ensible Coaching

503.258.1630

shell@sensiblecoaching.com

www.sensiblecoaching.com

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The Money Knot – Symptoms vs Causes

Posted by Corey Kaster on January 7, 2010

Your ka-ching newsletter from $ensible Coaching

January 2010

In this issue

Bringing the Ka-ching

Welcome to the January 2010 Money Knot, a newsletter with articles that bring you to the ka-ching.

Lots of things trigger my topics for this newsletter. Frequently, as it is with this month, it’s an article in our local newspaper. A recent headline stated: “Despite aid, borrowers still fall behind” followed by: “About 40% of homeowners who had payments reduced by 20% were late again within a year, a report says”

Frankly, to me, this is not a surprise. This is one of the fundamental places that my work is all about. Fixing the symptoms with money will not make it all better. Fixing only the symptoms mean there are underlying causes to the real problem that aren’t being addressed.

Sure, some people have just had something throw them off track; an illness, losing a job, some one time circumstance. Those folks can recover fairly easily, and a program to consolidate, or clear out their debt can help them get back on track.

But there are many, many more people for whom “getting behind” and amassing debt are a much more chronic and far reaching issue. Far reaching back into their money history, that is. Thoughts, attitudes, emotions, behaviors all contribute to our money results. They frame our actions for good or bad. Many think of these options as “Get Out Of Jail Free” Monopoly cards. The problem is the rate of repeat offenders.

Now don’t misunderstand me. I often suggest to clients that they take advantage of programs to help them get out from under. Even bankruptcy is sometimes a viable option. When you are bleeding all over the ER room, it’s hard to deal with something more subtle like changing your diet and your exercise program. You want a relief and you want one now. What I really want you to do, your long range plan, is to change you think about and use your money. But it’s very hard to focus on that when you are terrified by a looming foreclosure or bewildered by mounting debt.

In order to not go there again, you have to choose to change how you relate to money. You can’t just keep doing the same old patterns over and over, or even harder and harder, and expect the results to be different. And yet that’s what we do, isn’t it? I’ll bet that the people who still fall behind on their mortgage payments even after a payment reduction were all in some way trying to do what they have tried to do before only harder. It’s a natural thing.

We don’t actually like to change. A client recently asked me “Can we really by-pass learning a lesson the hard way, if we really get it through our spiritual work?” It’s a tricky question. Yes, we can, but we have to be willing to change, and it all depends on belief. If you can change your thinking without having to go through the pain, that’s great! But how many people can do that? It’s often pain that pushes us out of our comfort zone and into change. We have options of course. We can stay with our habits and keep creating the same kinds of circumstances. We can “hit bottom” and be pushed and shoved into change. Or, we can choose to change when we get the early signals, those intuitive hits, long before it gets really hard to change.

I’d like to suggest you opt for the last choice. The hard parts get bigger and harder when you don’t. And if you don’t choose to change earlier in the process, instead of simply having to learn new ways to think about and relate to money, you have to learn those news ways while dealing with major issues.

So, by all means, reduce the load, the tension and the pressure. But don’t stop there. Once you have a little breathing room use that space to change your choices. Learn about how you think about money, where those habits came from. Reframe your thinking. Become conscious of your money choices. Change the causative parts of your money issues, not just the symptoms.

And the point is, do something about this breaking the patterns. There are resources to assist you. Since this is what I do, I have a bunch of them available, including this month’s teleclass, which is a great place to start reframing money thinking. And there are books, other money/financial coaches and professionals, as well as your own ingenuity.

Please, just try something different. It’s probably the one thing you haven’t tried, and it will produce different results. Until you do that you’ll just be treating the symptoms over and over, and never correcting the underlying causes.

Upcoming Teleclass:

Toward the end of last year, lots of people were asking me about how to figure out their “budgets”. Yes, that challenging word came up again and again. Let’s start the New Year off by looking at how you actually spend your money.

Teleclass: Budget Without a Budget

$ Do you ever find yourself at the end of the month with no money left?

$ Do you struggle with how to change your spending habits?

$ Do you find the very idea of budgeting to be uncomfortable and confusing?

$ Do the ideas of record keeping and analyzing numbers just make you want to run?

A budget is the typical solution to spending problems, and yet budgets don’t always work. If they haven’t worked for you, come explore how to do it differently, without number crunching. Budgeting can be and should be about spending your money in ways that support your financial plan. We’ll simplify the ideas behind creating a budget. We’ll turn all this number crunching into some identifiable and embraceable concepts, and help you make an actual simple plan. We’ll be looking more specifically at how you spend your money as you are spending it. What part of your money goes where? How do you make those choices now? What might be a better way?

Date: Wednesday, January 27th

Time: 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Pacific (1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Eastern)

Registration: www.sensiblecoaching.com

Fee: FREE your only cost for this call is your regular long distance call charges.

__________________________________________________

The Money Knot Story:

In case you are wondering why this is called The Money Knot, here’s the story. I’ve always been fond of Celtic knots, and you notice I use one as my logo. From my perspective, there are several things about these knots that relate to our money journey. One, you can see the whole knot; nothing is hidden, it’s all revealed. Two, the knot has no beginning and no end; it’s an ongoing, dynamic process. Three, the knot that I have chosen is a bit askew; our maneuvering is often out of the box.

Our money lives are like this knot. They are a visible maze that is intricate and sometimes challenging. Sometimes we get stuck in a corner; sometimes money is confusing, embarrassing or even scary. And yet the knot is always there. It’s a never ending relationship.

Together we go into your knot, and I help you to understand and maneuver through the knot. You will get familiar with the territory, know your way around, understand the twists and turns. Together we will make sense of where you are on your own personal money path and help you get to where you want to be.

Quick Links…

______________________________________________________________

$ensible Coaching Home

Coaching With Shell

Shell’s Bio

Happy New Ka-ching in the New Year!

Shell Tain, pcc, cpcc

$ensible Coaching

503.258.1630

shell@sensiblecoaching.com

www.sensiblecoaching.com

Share This!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

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