1) Question: What inspired you to write the Ten Weeks to Financial Awakening Program?
clients came to me for financial advice during a crossroads in
their lives. Many times they worked with me for a period of 8-12
weeks in the process of completing a comprehensive financial
plan. This process usually cost between $3000-$5,000. Even after
all that, I realized I still hadn't given them a way to give
their finances their daily attention. Consequently, before long
their old money habits resurfaced and they were caught back in
that old cycle of feeling guilty and ashamed of not following
through with our financial plan. TEN WEEKS is my effort to provide
a system that would allow my clients - and people everywhere
- to really shift out of those old patterns of money suffering
that result from not giving money and our finances the attention
that they require.
2) Question: What segment of the population comprises the largest component of your client base?
Most of my clients are not multi-millionaire's, in fact the majority
are public school teachers. The issues that surround retirement
and options presented by our state's public employee retirement
system triggered these teachers to pick up the phone and call me.
I have been blessed in that the majority of my business comes from
client referrals, which to me is the highest compliment that anyone
can pay me professionally.
3) Question: Shouldn't I see a CPA for something as serious as my financial future?
Answer: Financial planning is serious business. I've told clients they can quit their job 5 years earlier than they thought they could. That can be both ecstatic and terrifying news - all at the same time. What if I've made a mistake and they've already followed my advice?
I take the financial planning process very seriously for this reason. That's why the TEN WEEKS program is so thorough and why I don't tolerate any sloppiness. If people are going to take responsibility for their lives, they need to know that they can get accurate answers if they are careful about following instructions.
I also encourage people to have a professional review their work after completing the Program - that's money well spent in giving them peace of mind that their Authentic Money Guide financial projections aren't distorted by an inadvertent error. I believe this is when they really need a CFP® who can complement the hard work that they needed to do themselves in order to establish a happier relationship with their money.
4) Question: Are you saying that someone should not seek out a financial advisor?
No but I do believe that to really benefit from a relationship
with a qualified financial advisor people need to do you're their
own 'money homework' first. I've found that clients stay stuck
in their old patterns of suffering with money if I simply give
them financial solutions. When, on the other hand, clients really
do their work and finally give money their full attention, they
are able to benefit from our relationship. The most critical thing
I provide my clients is encouragement and a 'big picture' perspective.
They know they have a 'safety net' when they need it.
5) Question: What is your main message?
Answer: Money can't bring us happiness, but it can help us notice when we aren't living in alignment with what we really want. I call this process "grounding" with our money.
me illustrate what I mean.
TEN WEEKS provides a way to evaluate the financial viability of cutting back at work to live a more balanced life. Once we've given this aspect of our finances our attention, we can make an informed financial choice to limit expenses by a certain amount in order to have more time to nurture the life we love.
our money was a key step in actually shifting out of the 'more
money is better' message and living in alignment with our Soulful
Authenticity. I believe happiness is a natural by product when
we stay true to our soul. We experience such happiness when we
pause to notice what is really happening in our lives by honestly
looking into this "money mirror."
6) Question: How long is the time commitment to this program?
Answer: It depends. For a single person with a fairly simple financial situation, the Program could take as little as 50-60 hours over a ten-week period.
For most of us, however, there are sufficient complexities to our financial lives that it will take 100-120 hours to sort out the tangle, both emotionally and fiscally.
I've written the Program in such a way that it can serve as a useful introduction to an entirely new way of relating to money - even if a person is not ready or able to commit to this kind of time. Spending 10 hours simply reading the Program and the Money Attention Pages, as well as completing the Circuit Inspection Worksheets, is a great start. Later the reader can come back and make all of the theory practical by doing the Authentic Money Guide CD work when they can realistically schedule it into their life.
7) Question: Why is your program different from other financial planning programs available on the market?
TEN WEEKS is different in that it supports a whole new approach to money and then helps people integrate this new philosophy into their daily lives.
The new approach to money is that more money is not the answer we're looking for. The real reason we give money our attention is that it can help us live in alignment with our core values - not to simply get more money.
I like how Bo Lozoff captures the reason for our unhappiness:
"The gap between our sincere values and our actual behavior is the source of all self-hatred. And self-hatred is the antithesis of personal happiness…We will not find happiness while we are divided between the two."
The process of living in alignment with our sincere values using money as a guide cannot be achieved with financial programs that cannot mirror the changing shape of your life - day by day. It takes a daily 'conversation' with money to notice when we wander back to our old ways of getting our needs met.
Quicken, now more easily used because of the TEN WEEKS CD's, is the key to getting this daily feedback that we need. For example, if I establish an Authentic Budget that truly reflects my 'sincere values' and can compare it to my actual income and expenses - I immediately can face my life as it is. Before I wander too far, I can come back to what it is I really want.
How is it possible that anyone can do your program?
The reason that most of us have had such a hard time with financial self-help programs is that they don't lay a solid foundation. The first part of this foundation is very practical; TEN WEEKS starts by helping each participant organize all their financial papers and develop a system that keeps them organized. Nothing will derail the completion of a financial plan as quickly as frustration from not being able to find a critical piece of financial information. Once papers are organized, that information is methodically entered into Quicken. By the end of Week Three, participants have created a set of financial statements and have an Authentic Budget in place! For the first time they know where they stand financially on a daily basis. No other program has made this possible.
The other part of the foundation has to do with digging down deep - below the surface- to pour the 'footer'. That's when we take our emotional inventory of how we currently relate to each aspect of our finances. Believe me, just because we're not aware of our reactions, doesn't mean they aren't there! Equipped with an awareness of the root of our money suffering, we then have the emotional energy to do what needs to be done.
I am a firm believer that we are all capable of much more than we think. Personal finance isn't 'rocket science' - it is understandable and with the help of the TEN WEEKS instructional CD set - users can navigate their way through the financial maize successfully.
9) Question: Is the program difficult for someone who isn't computer savvy?
Answer: There's no doubt that some people 'get along' with computers much easier than the rest of us! I can relate to the cartoon that depicts a computer user with a sledgehammer in hand ready to follow the on-screen instructions to "Hit Any Key"!
The TEN WEEKS program is as user-friendly as my team of software designers could make it. Those of us who are computer intolerant should find one of those 'other people' and ask for some help in getting the feel for the program. Within 30 minutes of such practice, each person can master the process of moving back and forth between the TEN WEEKS CD and Quicken. It's easy to pause the videos and move at your own pace.
nothing quite like computer data entry to get us to sit still and
focus. The TEN WEEKS program capitalizes on this process, which
can be very grounding if we allow it to be, to shift from our societal
tendencies to flutter here and there without giving anything our
full attention. After ten weeks of practice, I hope that we all
find ourselves more at ease with focused mindful attentiveness.
10) Question: I don't have much money. Can I still benefit from your program?
Answer: As I mentioned on the Home Page, if you are reading this - there is a reason you are here. There must be some need you are trying to address that causes you to search for some financial solutions.
Our degree of money suffering isn't related to the amount of money that we have or don't have. I know very poor people and very rich people who are both miserable - the opposite is also true. What we all have in common is that we live in a society that has programmed us to believe that money can fix our lives and bring us happiness. I believe that TEN WEEKS faces that faulty assumption head on and gives us another way of interacting with money and the host of financial decisions that confront us.
If you don't have a complicated financial situation, you may be able to skip over sections of the CD that don't pertain to you right now. Even if you only use the CD's to help set up your banking and credit card transactions on Quicken and establish an Authentic Budget, you will benefit greatly from your time investment.
The CD's and Money Attention Pages are filled with guidance as to how to comparison shop auto insurance, save money on your income taxes, evaluate the state of your estate planning, and establish a low-cost, diversified investment portfolio. Whether you have $1000 or $1 Million, these issues are worthy of your attention and TEN WEEKS shows you how to make these and other financial decisions that align with what you really want in life.
NOTE: The TEN WEEKS CD's are made for the Windows (PC) Version of Quicken Deluxe 2004. However, these Tutorial CDs, in conjunction with the most recent version of the Quicken Official Guide or the Webinar Series, can also be used with newer versions of Quicken.