Tag Archives: financial

Anxiety 401k: Parents’ Over-compensation

Parents’ disorder: anxiousrexia money nervosa. Kid’s inheritance: moolah hoarding? Saving your style.   — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — I’m 25 and my parents…are so freaked out about their financial situation… they’re insisting I put ¾ of my salary towards my retirement. I think that’s way too much, help me get them to get off my back! I’m being responsible, but how do I tell them nicely that just because they neglected to take better care of their own stuff, that I’m not doing the same thing and a better planner than them? I am planning on staying at home another year (to save up a downpayment, I’m almost there!) and they really want to help me, but I swear every other conversation in this house is about my retirement. Old Before My Time

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Dear Old Before Time,

Three-quarters of your salary does seem too much towards your retirement at your age — and yet there’s no time like the present for retirement savings! Investing is all about understanding and embracing your risk tolerance and balancing it with your current life age/stage toward attaining your ultimate financial goal values (e.g., education, home ownership, retirement. Go find yourself a good mentor or professional financial planner). You are just starting out. Since you don’t mention having debt but saving for house down payment, I will assume your presentation of your finances is accurate and speak to that. The only person I personally know who started saving for his retirement first from age 19 on, and then started buying rental property(-ies), was my college BFF. He paid cash for everything (then was shocked he hadn’t built credit) and saved every penny — but he has indeed been set for retirement at minimum 25 years ahead of his. While that is some amazing and awesome peace of mind (especially in these continuing uncertain economic times) I believe it’s important to choose to live a balanced life (cheap can evolve into miserly as habits set, but it’s important to live within your means while meeting your needs, too), and that starts with our thoughts, and yes, I’m still talking about saving and investment here.

Money is emotional.  Much like your investment style, weigh whether your relationship with money (How you are in relationships with others is a strong indicator of how you are with your money, i.e., do you wait for others to take care of things, or are you straightforward and assertive with people? Think about everyone close to you and I’ll be surprised if you can find an exception to that) is a subconscious manifestation of your parents’ worried projections, or if it’s more a reflection (and practice) of your own values — that’s the real financial goal I would focus on attaining.

Bless your blessings,

BadWitch

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Dear Old Before Time,

Well, your parents have some good advice for you, though they may be a bit over-zealous. Here’s the thing: compound interest is your friend. The more you can put in now, the bigger your win at retirement time. Though 75% of your salary seems a bit extreme as you start to save for your new life, the more you save now, the more your money works for you over time.

David Bach, author of Automatic Millionaire and Start Late, Finish Rich, offers a chart that compares the amount of savings three individuals have by the age of 65. The first starts saving $250 per month ($3000 per year) at 15 years old and ends up with $1,615,363.40. The second person starts at age 19 contributing the same $250 per year. But with 4 less years of investing ($4800 less in investment) our second investor has $1,552,739.35—more than $62,000 less than the 15 year old investor. Our last investor starts investing $250 a week at 27 (12 years later than our 15 year old investor; $14,400 less in capital) and earns $1,324,777.67 by age 65—$290,585.80 less than our early investor.

In other words, start early and set up a set amount automatically deposited into a compounding interest retirement account. The more you put in now while your overhead is low will go a long way towards working for your continued solvency through retirement. Some to house savings, some to retirement savings and some towards enjoying your life—do that and see life blossom before you—with a strong foundation to support you.

Good luck and happy savings,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders.

What’s jamming your juice in life? What emotion is hardest for you?  Tell us what’s important to you, what you think about. How we can help you thrive—not just survive—modern life. Email us at: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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UPDATED Bottomless Office Pit: Cake, Gifts & Money Collection

Money collection for office gifts, cakes. Funding co-worker celebrations. Fun, yummy, good or bad idea?  — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — If I never have another slice of office birthday cake, I’d live! These constant money drives for other people’s gifts has gotten on my last nerve. Yesterday (she) asked me for money for someone’s baby shower gift in our Utah office who I never even met! This is nuts, crazy, just wrong!!! Give me some good lines.  — Cham-pain Hater

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Dear Cham-pain Hater,

I love cake, I love presents — for me! — so I hear ya, but figure out and clearly state your policy for all to understand about you, and stick with it.

Back in college while working at a major department store, my manager came around at Christmas time to ask for donations to an equally major charity. Coincidentally, this charity had been in the news for administrative financial abuse to fund schmancy lunches and lavish personal travel, and such. I was already consistently giving to an organization of my choice, so when she first asked then attempted to strong-arm me for my hard-earned money (mockingly, “What?! You can’t even give up a dollar?”) — her attitude alone underscored to me that she was only pimping to win a department managers’ contest. That manipulative sort of crap only served to make me stand even firmer in my convictions and state, “Nope. Especially not “even” a dollar.” I freely give to what truly stirs me, and not to earn kiss ass points with a manager competing in a peer contest for a personal gain prize, via my dollars while supposedly campaigning for a charity I didn’t even believe in.

Knowing what you stand for lets you know what you want to fund in life, and keep the change from the rest in your own wallet. In the game of office politics, only give when you expect nothing in return (never give a present to get a present, whether retail or brown-nose points), or all you’ll get is disappointment. Nothing more bitter than a low-carb flourless cake of guilt and shame.

Do-goodahs, pleeeze,

BadWitch

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[No, your RSS and e-Mail subscriptions are not broken. Here’s GW’s added Reply.]

Dear Cake-Champain Hater,

Truth works better than any excuse you can come up with! I would start by asking for a general pool with once yearly contribution (say $20) that is split for all employee presents, like a Christmas Club. I have heard of employees being asked to give $20 a month for other employee gifts. Maybe a $10 a month fund for cake and office morale isn’t asking too much.

My question is, as an employee, don’t you appreciate when your birthday is noticed?  Isn’t that an unrecognized benefit of your work environment? It sounds like you’ve got an office that has taken the time to create a more family like environment. This makes for a comfortable place to work. Believe me, not all offices give a damn whether it’s your birthday, wedding or baby—just do the work.

It is really nice to be appreciated. Your office culture has found a way to give each other recognition of the lives lived outside the cubicle walls. Say thank you and throw in $10. If money is really tight right now, tell your co-workers that truth. They’ll appreciate it. Then throw in $2 or $3.

Family may be a pain in the ass sometimes with their little rituals, but that is the good stuff you remember and appreciate years later. Quit bitching and have some cake.

Good luck,

GoodWitch

==

Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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Divvying Up Splitsville

Equal piece of the pie. The spoils of war. Everyone wants theirs. But in the division of property, is winner takes all really the goal in a war of hearts?   — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — I finally did it!!!! I broke up with my assh*** long term (relationship). Now we’re divvying up property. The fights are starting all over again. Help! — Fractionator

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Dear Fractionator,

It sounds like congratulations are in order for successfully completing one cycle in your lessons. The trick for you two (and individually) is not to repeat the same trial-and-error homework but to repeat the successful outcome — in your case, a mature ending of something that was no longer serving you. Do the same thing with your things. After all, they are only as potent and valuable as you your selves assign and infuse them with. Keep the power you give freely to the things low, especially as to your emotions they represent (i.e., “That CD you bought me on our first date is mine,” but only because you are still attaching the old sentiment of his taking care of you to the plastic disc, etc. Fill in your own actual emotional ties). Set up rules before re-visiting this property division task (involve an impartial third party, if necessary). Agree to divide things fairly by BR and AR dates (Before Relationship and After Relationship), receipts, and/or any other empirical, pragmatic data or reasoning you can agree to.

Lastly, the other grey-area items should be put in the middle of the living room and “auctioned” for (I’m suggesting reasoned (vs. argued in the aggressive sense) for; best rhetoric prevails) in front of a pre-determined, mutually agreed upon impartial third party. All decisions final.

Lighten your spoils to move on fully,

BadWitch

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Dear Fractitioner,

Congratulations on standing up for you! Don’t stop now! Parsing out property is no easy feat!  There will be times that you must lay down a firm boundary and stake your claim and others when you will need to concede. The key to successfully “divvying” up the property will be your own presence with yourself and what you refuse to let go of and what you are ok with handing away.

Before your next “splitting up the goods” meeting, write out a list of property and star those items that you believe will be contentious creators. Decide ahead of time what your best outcome would be. BE FAIR!! Do not decide you need the thing you know your partner wants most. That will only cause more contentious moments. Decide what items you need to move away or be paid for giving away. For backup, create a second list of negotiating items—those items which you know your partner wants, you don’t care about that you can hold back as bargaining chips to negotiate for the pieces you really want.

Remember, in the end you would be better off walking away from a bunch of property littered with negative associations than putting yourself through hell for CDs or an arm chair. You are more important than any store bought item. In the end, you could just ask for a payout for the bulk of items and start fresh.

You have already started the process of taking care of you. Keep going!

Good luck,

GoodWitch

==

Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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Bank Robs Client: And Other Tough Relationships

High credit interest loans got you down? Feel your banker just doesn’t understand you anymore? Maybe you should take this one personally.  — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — After five years at the same bank with good credit and relationships, they just turned me down for a personal loan! Or more accurately, they offered me one at a really high rate. Before I leave them, do I have any recourse? — Credit Where Due

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Dear Credit Where Due,

Credit cupcake, before you dis your bank right back, just stop and realize that this is yet another one of those messy things we all have to deal with in our lives. I’m talking about: relationships. We all drag unresolved issues right into the next relationship, and the next… Granted you are a puny individual and your stud muffin bank is likely a faceless corporate Goliath, but relationships are relationships regardless of what they may look like on the surface. Get straight on what you bring to and how you behave in yours, and you can start to get a clearer picture of why the amazing banking guys/gals you’ve been so devoted to for the last five years don’t bring you flowers anymore, but an overpriced “Happy” Meal.

When asking for any loan, your credit scores (all three of them) will be examined, and interest points will be largely determined by them. Make sure your credit scores are in the range you imagine they should be. A part of your scores but not the whole picture, assuming the relationship with your bank you stated is with an actual personal banker and not just the tellers who can’t help you in credit’s regard, are what your banker is reviewing, but may or may not also give some sway to your character (which in this case includes your employment, your personal (versus just financial) histories with landlords and other creditors, and possibly collateral, if any). Credit cupcake, I cannot say this loudly enough while saying it with sincere empathy: take control of your destiny by responsibly and respectfully co-existing with your credit/money. Or else you will find unsatisfactory “credit due you” at the next “bank” and the next, and…

Understand your money, your self,

BadWitch

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Dear Credit Where Due,

Well, we knew the economic crisis has tightened the purse strings on the banks. And, I understand your disappointment at seemingly being let down by a relationship you have nurtured for the last few years. However, do we ever have recourse when a friend says, “No”?

I cannot say whether late payments or outstanding balances on your credit report may have undermined you. My suggestion is to check your credit report, as there may be items listed on the report that are out of date or just incorrect. Be sure that what creditors are reading on your credit report is up to date and accurate.

Your recourse is that you have the power to give the bank your continued business or not. My suggestion would be to sit down with a representative of the bank and find out why your loan was denied and why the only product left available to you comes at such a high interest rate. Then decide whether to stay or go.

Talk to some other banks—once you’ve cleaned up your credit report as much as possible. Find out what other options you have. Perhaps a credit union will have better rates than a traditional bank. Investigate.

Just remember, in this very capitalistic society, the most effective recourse and vote is usually with your dollars. Give your business to businesses that support you.

Good luck,

GoodWitch

==

Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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First Time Job, Earner’s New Costs

We all had one: a first time job. What we all don’t have is the exact same views on money, responsibilities and how those things go together. Figuring out the “new allowance.” — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — My mother reads your blog so I’m hoping she’s reading this. I’m 16 and just got my first job, and she’s already making me pay for gas and my cell phone now! Does that seem right to you? I’m ok paying for my car insurance so I drive more responsibly, but she makes me pay to get to work and come home. That seems seems backwards to me. Shouldn’t she want me to want to go to work and make money to begin with? — First Time Worker

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Dear First Time Worker,

That you share your mother’s interests enough to know to come here and try to “sway” her is…ehem, your work skills showing. I do, however, appreciate your understanding about the cause-affect relationship of your paying for your car insurance. This shows you do understand how things work.

Now take those mad skillz to the next level, and have a meeting with your parents to figure out what items you should be paying for by discussing to understand each other’s priorities. They will include: cost-to-use, time and money, prioritizing values, and your safety. Maybe it is valuable to them to pay for all things school related. Maybe only you can afford that $350 bat to keep playing, etc… I’m going to keep this one very short because I believe just having this little pow wow will open your parents and your own eyes as to how the other actually sees the world…and mmoney and responsibilities.

Time spent together is time well spent,

BadWitch

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Dear First Time Worker,

Congratulations on your first job!

So now that we’re done with niceties, let me give you the down and dirty truth of life as an adult. Life costs money. Gas, car insurance, car payment, tolls—all cost money. The roof over your head costs whether in mortgage, rent or upkeep. Clothes, toiletries and toilet paper all cost and we’ve not even discussed lights, heat, water and garbage.

Your mother has been covering these costs. Now that you have a job she is asking for your help. She’s not even asking for you to cover living expenses, just the gas you need to go where you want to go and the cell phone you need to set up those play dates. In other words, she’s having you cover the cost of your play and travel to and from work. Really, not a lot in the grand scheme of the many hundreds of dollars needed to survive.

Of course, one hopes that these costs do not take the entirety of your weekly check. Now is the time to start the lifelong habit of saving some of your income for a rainy day (or Cabo Spring Break).

You have the opportunity now to create new lifelong habits that will serve you in the years to come. Yes, life comes with bills to pay—and we also have to pay our fair share—but it also comes with compounding interest. Read (or listen to) David Bach’s Automatic Millionaire. Don’t bemoan paying for the life you live. That’s life. Be grateful for the opportunity to have money coming in that helps your mother and helps you live the life you enjoy. These days, not everyone is as lucky.

New responsibility will often chafe, but it will not choke if approached with level head and grateful heart. Realize that your mom’s burden is heavier than you have bothered to note, but now you have the opportunity to help, where it is appropriate.

Blessings on a bright future,

GoodWitch

==

Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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How Money Works: You 101

Before making more purchases, pay off most or all debt and save a safety cushion for yourself, too. Whoa. Easier said than done, especially when no one teaches you the basics. — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — This is hard and embarrassing for me to admit, so be gentle with me. I haven’t been good with money EVER. Why don’t they teach these things in school? Now I’m noticing that all my credit cards are showing me how many months and years it would take to pay off my debt if I paid the minimums. Is it ok to pay the minimums if I now know when it will be paid off? I guess I’m not really sure what that information means to my wallet? — Minimum Minnie

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Dear Minimum Minnie,

Excellent and timely (holiday season) question, brave chica. Our society, while hailing you-can-doism, doesn’t take the time to teach the basics of personal finance. Additionally in listening to their stories, many women especially seem to me to have Old Skool and dysfunctional relationships with money. How we handle our selves, is how we handle money, and shows up in our credit scores. In life, we all have our strengths and weaknesses, but it doesn’t follow that you would be self-disciplined (or even moderately paying attention) in one area of responsibility in your life without being similarly so around your money, too. Respect your self/your money and it will respect you in return.

As for understanding what the pay down information on your statements mean, I suggest you might want to find a credit organization, either an official business or a local bank or church that offers basic consumer credit courses for free. [In the broadest strokes, the lower the monthly payment you make on a purchase, the longer it takes to pay off and you will ultimately be paying more in interest than the principal cost of the item. It does not behoove you to pay the minimum, generally — but building up a safety cushion of savings is supremely important, simultaneously (and in all economic climates, ladies!). Also, educated yourself about annual percentage of rate (APR) and the differences between nominal APR, and effective APR, so please understand what interest rates you are actually paying.] Understanding how your money works is tied directly and bindingly to understanding how you work your life. I’m down with money maven Suze Orman’s basic and general views on women and their money . I don’t sell her books or recommend her products except in the most personal ways of appreciating how she communicates basic life ideas and ties them to basic money fundamentals.

The steps to learn about how to pay your bills and save/invest, are not rocket science. The more challenging part is realizing and grasping that it’s all about your attitude in and about how you live your life that really counts to adding up your monetary wealth.

Own your self,

BadWitch

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Dear Minimum Minnie,

Congratulations on taking the first step—admitting that you don’t know. Too often—especially with money—we pretend we know because it seems like we should. But sweeping the issue under the rug in this case can be very, very costly.

First off, let’s do some really simple math. Let’s say you have a credit card at 17.5%. If you borrow $100, you have promised to pay $117.50 in return. If you owe $1000, you have a signed contract that says you will pay $175 beyond original loan. At a $10,000 debt, you will pay an additional one thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars. That, however is only if you pay the entire amount of the debt off at once, immediately within the first month. Otherwise you are paying 17.5% on the total amount you owe every month. Paying the minimum means you will pay thousands over your original balance . So that $200 blouse will have cost $2000 by the time it’s paid for. Now, is it really worth $2000?

Nothing in this life is free and this money you are giving away to support your credit card company could be in your savings account. As Dave Ramsey, the Total Money Makeover author says, “Winning at money is 80 percent behavior and 20% head knowledge.”

Decide to educate yourself. Listen, you can take steps to understand how to budget and how to get out of debt on your own or wait until your finances are so tight your sanity and your bank accounts are on the rocks. Trust me, as I speak from personal experience, it is never too late to get real with your money situation. Know how much you have in the bank, how much you can afford in “discretionary” fund. Developing spending behaviors that limit debt is actually one of the most self-affirming actions you can take. My sense of self-esteem shot through the roof when I decided to take the road less traveled.

I was the youngest child in my family — a happy surprise, I like to think. Because I was so much younger than my siblings and my parents were older when I was born, my family opted for the” just do it for her” rather than teaching route. This later developed into my own questioning whether I was even capable, since even as I got older everyone else assumed I needed someone else to do it for me, pay it for me, take care of me. Fast forward to getting a divorce with two children in tow and listening to my family worry about how I will survive.

Did I do everything right? Hell no. But I learned after quite a bit of denial and finding myself in the corner shorting Peter to keep Paul from turning off my lights. You can make a number of decisions, including Consumer Credit Counseling, but it all comes down to making the decision to over-throw the consumer addiction. Live on less. Maybe you don’t need to spend $150 on cable every month. Perhaps you can get by on $75 worth of channels.

Aren’t you ready to build wealth instead of debt? Get information from the experts. Read David Bach’s Automatic Millionaire. The little cuts invested well can add up to millions. Take the first steps for yourself. You’ll build you sense of your personal capability. You’ll know you have power over your life. And you are powerful. Just decide to own it.

Happy wealth building,

GoodWitch

==

Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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Fashion Trend: Good Choices Best Accessory

Playing dress up is for kids. To riff on Madonna, grown-ups dress themselves in their love. Finding balance in and out of your closet for every budget.  — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW —i know this is my own fault but I was always known for having the hottest clothes and accessories of all my friends. Now I’m learning how to pay off my debt, and that makes me feel good every month. My problem is that I am going crazy not being able to go shopping and feel I have to still keep my image up. Can I buy one nice thing every month since my bills are going down? — Undressed for Success

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Dear Undressed for Success,

Honey, I feel your pain in the wanting to buy nice things department (but you’re not going to like my answer). Congrats on starting to get your bills under control— that’s huge — unfortunately, you had not learned to curb your impulses (leading to habits) earlier, and are now paying the consequences and (literally) the bill that’s come due. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater (by not shopping) doesn’t work in most cases. Try to come to a balance, and I’m not talking about just your shopping.

Your thinking is what begins the chain of events that ends with your monthly bill paying (literally and figuratively). Realize that our fast food, instant gratification society is an outgrowth of lazy and poor thinking, immature behaviors, and an insecurity that comes from…somewhere. It’s never too late to get with your own best program, and good choices does not equal all work and no play, no fun. Privately take genuine and deep inventory about how you feel about your self, choices you have made (still not talking shopping yet; what choices did you make from school, to acquaintances, friends and lovers — the people and influencers with whom you have chosen to share your life). Get naked! Really see what priorities you’ve made, what messages you’ve bought into about “success”…in other words, the life you have chosen for yourself. True examination helps lead to a life lived well, better, best for each of us. There is no blame or shame in this game I’m suggesting to you. When you know better, you can do better. Live consciously.

Window dressing always optional,

BadWitch

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Dear Undressed for Success,

Well, first off, I don’t know your budget, the amount of your debt or your shopping habits. But, I will say, paying off your debt and learning to live with less, BRAVO! Not an easy thing to change your lifestyle around.

And, let’s face it, keeping up with the image of the joneses is an addiction not easily walked away from — which is where I think your current state of discontent arises. You’ve carefully crafted a reputation of being “It” with all the hot clothes and accessories. You’ve crafted an image of yourself as carefree, stylish and solvent, though you were digging yourself deeper into debt. You certainly were not alone in this. Let’s face it, living within our means has not been considered chic for some time.

But the readjusting can feel like you are being punished, rather than doing something positive for yourself. A couple of tips:

1. Don’t try to diet or restrict your habits in any other ways until this new lifestyle becomes second nature.

2. Do not restrict yourself to the point of feeling pained. At some point the pressure will become so much that you really may blow your progress thus far in one ultimate shopping extravaganza. Not good.

3. Do allow yourself to buy one item every month, as long as ALL monthly bills are paid (at least minimum amounts, preferably more for the sake of your interest and long term financial security).

4. Do not buy designer straight off the rack. You will pay full 3-4 digit prices for these items. Shop designer overflow stores like TJ Max (Yeah, I said it) or designer recycled clothing stores like Cross Roads Trading.

True, you may no longer be ahead of everyone else’s curve, but you’ll be looking like a hot fashionista to your friends while looking like a responsible adult to yourself, your bank teller and your creditors.

And one last thing, who you are and what people love about you may be your knowledge of fashion and your love of cutting edge culture, but if they are only in love with what “Fashionista Barbie/Ken” looks like and the benefits they believe that are somehow conferred upon them by hanging out with said Barbie/Ken, please kick them to the curb with your Manolos. Users have no place in your life and certainly not driving you further into debt to satisfy their vampiric needs.

Do it for you,

GoodWitch

==

Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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