Episode 7 – Beware of these Weeds in Your Financial Life

Feelings of entitlement and unforgiveness can stop us from reaching our full potential in our financial lives. Danielle Howard likens these feelings to weeds, which tend to consume anything good that we’re trying to grow.

In this episode, Danielle explores how these weeds might be influencing our quality of life, including our financial health, in ways we never realized. Astute and empathetic as ever, she also shares her own experience with unforgiveness and suggests how we can stop those weed-like feelings in their tracks.

Tune in as Danielle shines a light on the importance of understanding the emotions and attitudes that influence your relationship with money.

[00:00:02] Welcome to the Wealth Done Differently Retirement podcast. Daniel Howard, a certified financial planner shares insight into the financial tools, techniques and temperaments needed to make the most of your retirement dollars and relationships. Danielle bridges the gap between Wall Street and Main Street, bringing complex financial topics down to earth. Danielle will educate and inspire you as you define and refine your version of prosperity. Hello and welcome to another podcast with Danielle Howard. Today we’re going to talk about a saying that Danielle talks to her clients about, and also talks about in her book ‘Your Financial Revolution,’ which is called ‘Beware of the Weeds.’ So, Danielle, good morning and what do you mean by that? Good morning Matt, well we’re in the midst of summer and I do a little bit of gardening, and one of the things that I need to be very aware of is to go out every once in a while and pull up the weeds, otherwise it can just completely consume the good stuff that I’m trying to grow. And because I like to use analogies around money with people just because it helps to put a little bit of a different perspective on it, paint a different picture. I use the term weeds to eliminate the idea of both entitlement and unforgiveness around money issues. And I think those are two huge hindrances to keep us reaching — from reaching — our full potential around our money lives. Okay, break down those two categories a little bit more. Well we’re starting to hear entitle a lot. And there are two different forms of entitlement when it comes to money.

[00:01:52] The first I look at is what we may all be a little bit more familiar with, is the entitlement that people feel they have to use government services or to get help from folks. And so the idea that there is always going to be people that have money and they’re going to be those that that lack money. And I think that it’s really important for us to look at what the downside of entitlement when you don’t have money, or don’t have as much as you feel you should or could. And so, to take a look at that and go, “What do I need to do to bring myself up to and embrace life’s challenges?” We can easily become dependent on others and over time that dependency can rob us of our self-esteem. So we really want to look at how can we really grab onto the next ring and swing to grab yet another one when it comes to our our money. I think, you know, we’re hearing a lot now a days of our millennial generation, or the younger people, they feel so entitled. Well part of that has been what have we done as adults to encourage that? I have heard stories where parents you know pay off their adult child’s credit cards or they’re keeping them oh, we’ve all heard the one, you know, “My kid came home and he hasn’t left yet.” So how do we look at what we need to do to rise to bring those up in our lives and maybe even ourselves when we want to persevere and look at what those teachable moments are.

[00:03:43] I think many times we fall into robbing, whether it’s ourselves or others, of those teachable moments around money. And I think that ongoingly, this is leading to that idea of entitlement. I know somebody’s going to rescue me, whether it’s the ad on the radio saying “You don’t need to pay your credit card debt back.” You know, what are we doing to take away people’s self-esteem in saying they don’t need to stand up and take responsibility for their financial actions? This is the area of entitlement that we really need to dig into and in order to become truly financially healthy, we have to understand that we don’t personally want to feel entitled, and we don’t want to encourage or enable others to feel financially entitled. That may be around kind of the lack of money or the dearth of money. And then I think that there is another extreme, and I see it a lot here in the Roaring Fork Valley. But when we have copious wealth, we have so much wealth that it creates that entitled, demanding nature when people interact with each other. And I really feel that this snuffs out or out exterminates the light that we all have and that we can all share. What I see time and time again in this valley and in places where there is so much wealth, that people get that idea that the rules don’t apply to them or the rules are intended for other people and that their comfort is paramount. And it can be, they can disregard people in order to embellish in that comfort.

[00:05:37] So Danielle it seems that these, this entitlement is actually a huge, almost like a pendulum right, you can swing massively one way or massively the other way or or even it can be in the middle. Is that right? Sure, Matt. I think this is something that we all wrestle with, and this is why I want to have people start talking about money because I think the more we talk about how it makes us feel and share some of these concepts, the less likely we are to swing to extreme ends. But we all know that we fall somewhere in the middle and depending on the day and depending on the circumstance, I’m walking this walk right alongside all of you too. Awesome. Now, you also talk about unforgiveness. I don’t think that’s something people, well, unpack that for us. Can you explain what you mean by that because my brain goes in a little different direction. Sure, I’ll start with this story. When I was, I had a very young child, I was a single mom for several years of my life, and did remarry when my daughter was about 7 years old. I found out that the biological father had been killed in a motorcycle accident. And even though he had not been in her life, it was very traumatic for her. And financially, it threw me for a loop. Here was a situation where I had not collected past-due child support, it had been accumulating interest. I always thought, well at some point he’ll make things right. And honestly after I got over the shock and moved through some of the grief I felt that the phone call from the estate attorney on his behalf was going to take care of his daughter. And I thought “Wow, I’ll finally be able to collect that past due child support.”

[00:07:39] I never even thought about “Wow, I should hire my own attorney. I need to go after this.” I just thought that she would get the money to her. Come to find out, that was not the situation. And I was very very angry at both myself and the system for not doing what was what was right. You know, taking care of this little girl and you know, I was mostly mad at myself for not being smart enough and not being on top of things enough to hire somebody to help me with the situation. And I felt that and unforgiveness, I felt that burden growing both in my heart and on my shoulders and I had to wrestle with what it meant to let that go, and I had to forgive him, he wasn’t even in the world anymore. I had to let go of my angst against the system, and most of all I had to let go of beating myself up. And I know we’ve all made financial mistakes and I think it is so important that we look at what it means to forgive, to let go, to move forward. It really, it served me, and I see how it really frees others. We talk about forgiveness in a spiritual sense that people have, some sort of a spiritual background, the power behind forgiveness. And I just encourage people to take a look at what it means to forgive, especially themselves. It may be the government, it may be the stock markets, it may be their financial adviser,

[00:09:27] It may be a spouse or a family member who you feel has wronged you financially, and just dip your toe into what that might look like for you. But that sounds like a very difficult conversation. How do you help your clients see these weeds because that’s really what we’re talking about, entitlement and unforgiveness is two weeds that you need to purge from the garden specifically, how do you have that conversation, especially when it comes to that unforgiveness? And the story Danielle you just told, I mean that’s a highly emotionally-charged story. Everybody’s story is very emotionally charged, so you dip into it, like I said, you dip your toe into it and it takes time as I build relationships with the people that I work with and they share their experiences, they share their stories. I just ask questions around “Is that is that working for you? “How did that make you feel?” And if it’s not working, “What can we do to move forward with that?” I am not a therapist, but I can challenge people, I can walk alongside people, I can encourage people to do some self reflection and to do their own work. And it may need to be somebody more educated in that area of financial therapy, but I think that many times, it’s just asking ourselves the questions and seeing what is and isn’t working for us to be able to go, “OK, you know, why do I keep falling into the same hole? What do I want to do to do it differently?” And then finding the tools to do so. And you have a lot of those tools,

[00:11:16] So let’s talk about sharpening not just the tools that you use, but what are the tools that you have your clients use on themselves in order to be aware and get rid of those weeds? I think that initial reflection on your life, on “Is there somebody that wronged me? Or have I wronged somebody? Has there been a financial transgression that I have experienced that is maybe holding me back or creating a mindset around money that is not serving me anymore?” And then, you know, be gracious with yourself and recognize that money hurts. Money is just a tool. But many times, it’s used to hurt. And that we want to you know really embrace and let go of anything that is not serving us anymore. It may be having a conversation with somebody, maybe just spending some quiet time. One of the tools that I’ve used with clients before, we did the river experience, and I would have them write down money messages that were no longer serving them. We crumpled them up into little itty bitty pieces of paper, biodegradable paper by the way, and put them in the river and let them float away. So that might be something that, you know, it’s a tangible release for you to say “I forgive. I let go. I release. I don’t want this in my life anymore.” And then recognizing it when it does come back, and release it again. Sometimes it takes many many years to fully let go of this. Same thing around the entitlement.

[00:13:00] You know, when you catch yourself feeling like “My money puts me above somebody else.” Or, “I deserve to have this because, you know, I’ve got the money to pay for it.” Just just catch yourself and ask yourself, “And I recognizing the beauty in the people next to me? Am I recognizing their part in in my life and am I honoring them and respecting them?” And if your money puts you above that, then you know, you may want to think about where you fall on the entitlement spectrum and consider if it’s working for you or not. I think that’s great advice. I really do. I love the biodegradable paper you know floating down the stream and really the, just the emotional release that something like that could could provide. Alright, any closing thoughts on making sure that your clients and the listeners of our podcasts today understand where the weeds are and what they can do to get rid of them? Well I think just recognizing, I’m seeing, I’m know what is a weed in your life financially, and what is something that you want to grow, want to bloom, want to harvest at some point. Just understand that this emotion behind money is just as important, if not more so, than the actual construct of your financial tools. We can sit and talk about asset allocation and diversification and tax efficiencies all day long. But if you do not understand these emotional components of how to create a healthy financial life, all the tools and techniques and 10 percent, 20 percent rates of return are not going to help you to create a healthy financial life. And with that thank you very much Danielle for your thought leadership today. You’re welcome Matt, thank you.

[00:14:52] And if you have not subscribe to the podcast, make sure you click the subscribe button down below, that way when Danielle comes out the new podcast, it will show up directly on your listening device. If you know somebody who has lots of weeds in their mental money garden, make sure you have them, to share this podcast and to reach out to Danielle and her team. So Danielle, one more time what’s the best way for them to contact you? You can reach me at Danielle Howard Number four letter U dot com for the online version of our eight week retirement course, or if you feel that you would be better served with a face-to-face meeting, you could check us out at wealth by design number four letter u dot com. Wonderful. Thank you very much, and we’ll see you on the other side of the mic very soon. Thank you for listening to the Wealth Done Differently Retirement podcast. Click the subscribe button below to be notified when new episodes become available. The information covered and posted represents the views and opinions of the guest and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Wealth by Design, LLC. The content has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional investing advice. Always seek the advice of your financial adviser or another qualified service provider with any questions you may have regarding your investment planning. Danielle Howard, Certified Financial Planner, is an investment adviser representative of Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, a registered investment adviser. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research INC, a broker dealer, member of FINRA, SIPC, Cambridge and Wealth By Design, LLC are not affiliated.

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