Thursday, April 30, 2009

Step 3 to Abundance: Cheerful Cooperation with Cash

by Janine Bolon

Okay this next step to money management and wealth accumulation is going to be a tough one for many of you. Right now today- start practicing this skill set if you ever want to become wealthy.

Stop lying about money.

Yep, that's right. It is time for you to be totally honest and direct when it comes to talking cash (that's cash, not trash!)

In my 13 years of working with people about their financial concerns, I have yet to meet anyone that didn't in some way lie about their money. That's right. Married couples, singles, working moms, teenagers...all walks of life. We lie about how much we spend when our partner looks up at our shopping bags and asks, "What'd ya get?" How often I have heard folks fudge the numbers when discussing what was happening in their lives regarding the amount of money spent, owed or earned. That's right!! 84% of the people I have coached in finances couldn't tell me their take home income. They could tell me their annual income, but not the take home.

This is what happens over the years. We first learn to lie when we are young. To tell "white" lies that don't hurt anyone. They keep us out of trouble and the wrath of a parent, sibling or relative is kept at bay by this activity. Unfortunately, over time these lies become a habitual way of dealing with finances. Then, we start lying to ourselves not just those around us. It is a brutal wake up call when we get caught in a lie. (Read: you're telling your financial coach one dollar figure and she has notes from a previous coaching session that says a different amount. Ouch!)

White lies about money are disasterous. At first they seem like nothing, but just like compound interest, they build and become stronger the longer they are used. How? Let's look at what happens when you lie:

  • You say you saved $40 dollars on a sale rather then the actual amount of $36

  • You then begin to start rounding dollars and cents in your head in a way that caters to your buying habits

  • Over months you lose track of the amount of money you seriously are spending

  • After a year you get your credit card bill and you're stunned you are THAT far in debt.

Rule number 1 on the path to wealth: Never, Never lie about money. Money is a powerful tool and you have to handle it with respect and grace. The moment you lie to a parent, spouse, friend, etc. about're headed down a path that leads to negative numbers (debt.) Trust is lost between spouses, business partners, friends. It is an aweful way to have to live.

Now don't get me wrong, if someone asks you a personal question about money that is none of their business, there are many polite ways to deny them that information without being rude. If you have a spouse, partner, friend that is discussing shared finances with you, then it is especially important that not even white lies are used. Money is too powerful to be messed with in this way.

Why all the focus on this? It is a Universal Law, that is why. If you want more money, then you have to be a Truth Speaker to get more. The Universe will test and try you to see if you are worthy for more of this powerful tool. So, prove to the Universe that you are up to the challenge. Start telling the truth when you spend $5 more than you wanted. Don't justify yourself, just admit what you have done. You will be amazed what a relief it is to always speak Truth about money.

Good luck and Much Abundance to You!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Step 2 to Abundance: "What Do I Want?"

Okay, this blog entry might be a little choppy because I'm making waffles while writing to you, but I know folks are waiting for step two. I had to make a choice, not get this step out for another 2 days or write while cooking. So, here you go:

Step 2 on the path to abundance is knowing what you want out of life.

Now this is a tricky step. Most people think they what they want, but if you are really honest with yourself you'll realize that your desires are mostly foggy. You may say things like, "I want to be Rich" or " I want to live a comfortable life" or " I want a new car." Whatever it is that you want at that is surrounded in a haze of uncertainty and lacks clarity in your mind's eye. (Imagine walking into a steam room!) You must refine your thoughts so that you get not only what you need out of life, but also what you want. If you want to be rich, how rich? Assign "Rich" with a dollar figure. Is rich for you defined as $10,000 in a long term savings account? Is it $1 million, is it $4 million? Just because your current bank account registers $10 at the moment doesn't matter. What is the amount of "Rich?"

Success in any enterprise is knowing what you want-Exactly. Having a mental picture so clear and bright that you can tell someone detail after detail of what you want. If you want to buy a new car, do you know the make of the car? The color? What accessories do you want it to come with? Passenger air bags? Cargo net? Little rain wipers on the headlights? A trailer hitch? You get the idea. Whatever it is you really want out of have to define it in detail!

Here is the basic thought process I use to achieve my goals, both financial and general life.

Brad and I were looking for a new house in Colorado. Before we ever looked up what houses were available, before we ever looked at a map to figure out where in the Denver Metro Area we wanted to live before we ever assigned a top-end pricee we would pay for it, we asked ourselves the following:

What do we need in our house?

Easy maintenance (Brad and I are NOT fixer-uppers)


Room for Brad and I's offices (3-4 bedrooms)

Large common room

2 bathrooms


Gas Utilities

After we had a clear picture of what was NEEDED, we then moved to what would we LIKE:

Ranch style construction

Older neighborhood with large trees

Nice sized back yard-room for a garden

Low traffic along street

It was only after we had this list of Needs & Likes that we moved on to looking up the available houses in the area of our choice. We then managed to get a Fantastic Realtor !(Thank you Cassia) She did an amazing job finding us the house we bought. Wow! How long did it take use to find our house? Four days with a realtor. It was a three story, 22-year old home on a semi-cal-de-sac with a wood stove, fireplace, gas utilities, landscaped back yard and low traffic. Wow! Most of the residents of this neighborhood moved in right after the houses were built twenty odd years ago. Cassia told us houses on this side of town almost-NEVER come up for sale. We found out after moving in that she was right this was the first time in 10 years a house had opened up.

Most people call Brad and I lucky. Yes, luck does have a part to play in our good fortune, I won't deny it, but I also know that the reason we are so successful in so many areas of our lives is due to the fact that we know what we want in DETAIL.

Okay, you know how I like to give you list of questions to help you along your path to abundance. Today is no exception.

Once you've decided what you want from life here are the questions to ask?

What does it (the dream, house, car, idea, business) look like?

What is its purpose?

What sorts of things will I be doing with it?

What people will I need to bring it to me or work for me?

What resources will I need to run it, obtain it or maintain it after I have it?

Can I get what I want by renting it rather than buying it outright?

Do I have storage space for it?

Do I need to get rid of something before I get the new thing?

That is a short list, but you get the idea of the things I run through before I purchase any item that will take up space, need cleaning, or require my time.

Realize that most of the purchases you make are due to you NOT knowing what you want. You are spending money because you are unhappy, bored, tired, angry, name it. This is not only impulse buys, but also extra purchases of gifts, projects and items to decorate your life (whether it be the house, car or you.) Merchandisers are counting on you not truly knowing what you want out of life....beat them at this game and keep that money in your savings account until you find out EXACTLY what you want....down to a wood stove in the family room!

Good luck and Much Abundance to You!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Step 1 to Abundance, "Do I Want to be Rich?"

by Janine Bolon

Okay, okay, OKAY!!!! After the past two months of emails, phone calls, and letters. I'll do it! Stop twisting my arm! has come to my attention in MULTIPLE ways and in a multitude of communications that people really want me to start at the basics again. It seems my book is no longer enough and people want fresh insight on the old stand by...How do I Become Rich in Today's Economy! Over the next few months I will be blogging about the steps that I (and other millionaires) have used to become wealthy, rich, abundant...whatever term fits easiest in your paradigm. I will go through a step-by-step program to get you from where you are to where you want to be. Okay? I do hope the harassment of my readers will stop by doing this! (I'm laughing here, you guys have been great. Congratulations, you won!)

First off, the primary thing that is REQUIRED for you to become wealthy is this simple question. You must answer this question with total integrity. If you in ANY way fudge this question you will sabotage your efforts, you will continue in debt and nothing, NOTHING I write from this point on will make an impact on your financial status. Agreed? So right here, right now you MUST answer this question in complete honesty.

Do I want to be Rich?

Seems simple doesn't it? Well, it isn't for 95% of my clients this question stumps them for months before they finally make the decision that "Yes, Janine, I want to be RICH!" They almost always start giggling at this point because for them it is like they're cussing out loud in a theater or something. RICH has a really bad reputation. Some one call a PR firm and give RICH a better image because for most middle class folks, it is akin to EVIL. Nobody wants to be EVIL so why would they want to be RICH? Right?

If you answered, "Yes" to the question don't think you're out of the woods quite yet. You still have an issue. Sorry to be the one to break it to you. If you REALLY wanted to be RICH you would be right now and wouldn't be reading this post. So, there is something there, emotionally speaking, holding you back from becoming the wealthiest person you want to be. Here are some clues (assumptions you hold deep in your heart where no one can see) to what may be keeping you from such an abundant life....

  1. Rich people only got their money by inheriting it.

  2. Rich people that "made" their money did it by hurting and using the people around them.

  3. Rich people were never in debt like I am now.

  4. Rich people never had a salary like mine (super-in-the-basement-low!)

  5. Rich people never had the medical expenses I do.

  6. Rich people hadan easier life than I do.

Okay, I think that wraps up the majority of comments I've heard in my seminars. Nothing could be further from the truth. Millionaires are some of the most generous people you will ever meet and the ones that have "made" their money did it by being kind, considerate, and fair to those around them. Over and over again I've heard people say about millionaires they meet, "Wow, you'd never think that Mr. X was worth millions, he's so nice!" I could go through each assumption point-by-point, but I am trusting in you, dear reader, to see these assumptions for what they are. Excuses. That's right. Excuses to avoid taking the necessary steps to get out of debt and start a life of abundance.

Last item, if you want to be rich you have to:

  • Make the decision that you really want to have lots and lots of money. This is paramount to your success.

  • Determine EXACTLY how much money you really want to have. For me, I want to be worth 20 million so I can use the interest on such investments to pay for a foundation that will be philanthropic. How am I going to do this? I have absolutely NO IDEA! But, hey, don't bother me with details, I have a goal and somehow, somewhere...I will make it.

  • Read a wonderful book by my dear friend, Barbara Stanny. It is called, "Overcoming Underearning." Barbara does a brilliant job of unearthing the emotional barriers that keep folks in low-paying jobs. Your view on money and how you treat it will directly affect how much money you earn. Barbara has been in the business of helping people with their money for decades and told me once, "Janine, I want to make millions so I can help millions." I really love this lady!

Over the next few months I will be working with you on how to have a life mission so that you are able to bring yourself out of debt and save money at the same time. While you're doing that, read Barbara's book so that you figure out the emotional walls you have to earning more money. Okay? If you want to email me or comment, please do. By the questions I get and emails, etc. I will customize the program to fit what you need as a reader.

Good luck and we'll chat again really soon.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Say "Thank You" Today to that Special Person

This morning after working out, I checked my email and had a one line note from a very dear friend of mine, Penny. All it consisted of was:

I traveled to her blog to find out an important life-mentor of hers had died and she was writing others to tell of the effect, "George" had on her life and how she wanted everyone to thank the person who has helped you get where you are today.

During times of great challenge, sometimes I forget to be in a frame of gratitude because fear will clog up my thinking. So, today...I will state the same thing as my friend, Penny. Thank someone who has helped you along this road of life. By changing our focus we change our reality and the type of world I like best is one of kindness and gratitude.

So, as you move through your day, change your reality...focus on all those wonderful people who make our days just a bit easier. The kind cashier that helps us with that stupid debit card machine, the bank teller who smiles at us and seems to really want to make our time at the bank easier, the receptionist who looks at us with compassion. We have so many people in our lives that smile at us, give us a bit of cheer and then move on. Now, if your life is in such a place where you don't see a lot of this happening then I will advise you the way Mother Teresa advised,
"If you see someone who is not smiling, give them one of yours."
Have a great week, everyone, and thank you for reading this post.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Big Picture: What is My Purpose in Life?

A few months ago I attended a Chamber of Commerce meeting and got to hear our wonderful mayor (he really is terrific!) chat about the plans he has for our lovely city for the next 10 years. It was a sterling speech and a great vision. He did a marvelous job outlining what aspects of our city need to stay the same for historical and nostalgic reasons and what parts of the city need to change to keep pace with the technology, as well as the growth and needs of new businesses. After the talk many of us were standing around chatting about the plans and what our views were on the topic. What was absolutely amazing to me was the amount of consensus in the room. Everyone seemed to agree with the Vision. Where the differences popped up was in the details of implementing the vision. However, as far as all were concerned, the vision was just fine.
I think the reason so many folks have problems with their finances is that they have no definite purpose or vision for their future. They spend so much time trying to buy happiness that they loose sight of their primary purpose for being on the planet. I know I have talked about this topic before, but this is THE primary stumbling block for most folks.
A real sense of purpose is what calms the emotional seas of money and allows you to sail to the shore of financial stability. Most folks have no idea what they want out of life, or what they want to “be” when they grow up, or what their passion is. I have hit all of these points in past postings. What I haven’t yet discussed with you are the finer points to deciding what your life is going to be “about” or how you wish to live.
It doesn’t matter if your credit cards are maxed out and you have no idea where the next payment is coming from. It doesn’t matter if you have no credit card debt, $10,000 in the bank and no IRA. It doesn’t matter if you are financially stable and investing.
If you don’t know where you want to go with your finances, you will simply be a leaf floating in the wind of life.
You need purpose. You need a sense of action. The reason the Mayor’s talk went over so well with such a variety of people (and did we ever have diversity -- used car salesmen to multi-million-dollar venture capitalists) was due to his incredible sense of vision. He was able to communicate it well with the rest of us.
If you create a strong vision for yourself, you’ll be able to steady the emotional waves that money has on you. What is your vision for yourself? What is the one passion you have in your life? Let’s go even broader … if you had all the money in the world, what is the one thing you would change or do? Here’s another way to find your purpose in life. Think of the one person who is your hero. This person is so wonderful in your opinion that you want to model your life after him/her. Now put that person squarely in your mind. What single attribute of this hero is your favorite? Was it her total devotion to her liege lord? Was it his complete compassion for struggling humanity? Was it the fearlessness that he used to conquer his ego? What single characteristic makes you look up to this individual? Have you got the answer in your head? Okay, read on. Believe me or not, this is YOUR mission. This is what YOU want most to do with your life. Now the details may be totally fuzzy in your mind. You may have NO idea how you will ever heal all the sick of the world. Or maybe you were most impressed by Mother Teresa because she took time with each individual she touched. What is important here is that you now have a target. You now have a characteristic to strive to perfect in your own life.
How does this help your finances?
Well, now that you have a clear idea of what you want to do with yourself, you get to sit down with pen and paper and work out a list of things you can do right now, today. You will be surprised to find how many things you can do to move toward your target that don’t take a bit of money. For example, I gave this exercise to one of my college students. She told me her hero was Joan of Arc because of Joan’s unswerving dedication and never-give-up attitude. My student discussed how impressed she was that no matter the obstacles or difficulties Joan of Arc continued on with total faith that everything would work out fine. When I told her this was also her mission, my student had no idea how to put this vision into reality. “Easy,” I told her. “What you do is give this same strength of purpose to others. It is the quality of the person that you admire. Don’t you see that everyone in your life has this same ability to strengthen others if they would just believe in themselves?” She replied, “Yes, I see everyone as being a genius in one form or another. They just give up too soon.”
My conclusion was this: “Then you get to be a cheerleader to all those folks in your life who have given up on a dream!” How does this help her finances? She will now start making choices on where to spend her money that are in line with her life’s true purpose. She was thinking of going to law school, but now she is studying psychology. She wants to help single moms achieve their dreams. Notice that what we are doing here is giving you a target, one that you can pursue with abandon. You want a point in space at which to aim your energy and time so that you can move forward with things that really matter to you. Why?
Because once you are doing things that you think are important, your finances fall into line to help them actually happen.
What is needed now is for you to start setting some financial goals for yourself considering this new knowledge of purpose. At first when you do this exercise you will have no idea how to implement the mission you have for yourself or how it will affect your financial outlook. The object is this: once you know what you are seeking you can then start making choices that will guide you toward your goal.
What you do after you have figured out your purpose is to sit down and come to terms with a few basic questions:
• How much money do I owe other people? (credit cards, mortgage, car loans, loans from family, medical bills)
• How much money do I bring home a month?
• How much money do I have saved? How much do I want to save?
• How much money do I need per month to just scrape by?
These questions are scary when looked at alone, but you have been running long enough. It is time for you to stare down your financial tiger and the only way to do it is to have a strong sense of purpose -- with the knowledge that with this purpose you will find a way out of your current situation.
There is hope and you can do this! I have had clients come away from this exercise totally defeated by their finances, but within a few minutes with pen and paper they realized they could make it. Example. One client was $270 short per month to cover her expenses. After doing the exercises above we figured her best bet was to get a second job. She started her own cleaning business while working for a local bank. She had Wednesdays and Sundays off so she cleans on those days. She now has enough money coming in to cover her unexpected medical bills as well as save a bit each month. This was impossible before. What happened to her along the way was she stopped spending as much on eating out because her mission was to get into health of some kind. She started making her own meals and bagging her lunch to work. The weekly dinner out with her friends became a weekly dinner at her house where everyone came to her place to cook together. All this because she found out what she really wanted for herself.
When it comes to knowing what you want to be or what character trait you wish to express in every area of your life, you then have taken steps to gain control.
First, know what you want. Then step out with strength knowing that you will get what you want if you just keep plugging away at it one day at a time.
Go get 'em, tiger!