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How Much is Enough - LAP BC

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					How Much is Enough?


   Lawyers Assistance
          Program
   Facilitated by Robert
          Bircher
Your Money or Your Life

• This is based on a book with the
  above title, it is a classic on the
  subject of your relationship with
  money
• Few people actually examine their
  relationship with money and
  simply assume more is better-
  because it will make them happier
• For many people what they do for
  money dominates their waking
  hours, and life is what can be fit
  into the scant remaining time
       Making a Dying

• Many people are killing themselves
  –their health, relationships, their
  sense of joy and wonder for their
  jobs
• The dream of finding fulfillment and
  meaning in our jobs have faded into
  the reality of office politics ,
  burnout, boredom and intense
  competition
• Some lawyers are so identified with
  their role of being a lawyer they
  think they are lawyers-not human
  beings in a temporary role
       Making a Dying

• We live in a culture that equates
  our worth with what we make
• This encourages people to
  overwork and end up with
  “exhausted bodies and empty
  souls”-in law a major source of
  anxiety and depression
• We are working more and
  enjoying life less than previous
  generation
• Paradoxically we are in more
  debt than ever
       Making a Dying

• We make a dying so we can live it
  up on the weekends
• If the daily grind was making us
  happy it would probably be worth
  it-but clearly it doesn’t work
• Many studies show that happiness
  is not correlated to income level-
  especially past the basic survival
  level
• Yet we believe that if only we
  could make 50 to 100 % more-
  then we would be happy!
       Overconsumption

• This endless chasing of money not only
  depletes individuals-but also the planet –
  the extinction of many species has
  already occurred
• The whole basis of modern economics is
  based on a mantra of “Growth is Good”
  there is no concept of “enough” at all!!-
  Can you imagine a new company
  president saying “I will keep the
  company the same size and just keep
  things as they are”
• This is all based on a core belief that
  more is better-this of course then means
  we never experience what “enough”
  actually feels like!!
  The Gospel of “More”

• Quite apart from many other
  problems created by the “more is
  good” mantra-it is psychologically
  devastating
• If you live for having it all-what
  you have will never be enough
• The problem is that many people
  have lost the ability to identify
  that point of sufficiency at which
  point they can choose to stop
• It means having a concept of what
  “enough” is for you
      Fulfillment Curve

• A certain amount of money is
  obviously necessary for basic
  necessities-and survival
• In Canada most of us have always
  had this
• Looking at the fulfillment curves
  on the charts-the peak is the place
  where we have “enough”
• Beyond the peak more effort does
  not increase value-in fact more
  effort simply reduces quality of
  life
      Awash in Clutter

• Most people have far too much
  stuff-the self storage business is
  one of the fastest growing
  businesses around
• Clutter is any possession that
  doesn't adds value to your life
• Whenever you move, it becomes
  clear how much unused junk you
  have accumulated
• Meaningless activity is a form of
  clutter-meetings, some social
  events, TV watching-many add
  nothing to your life at all
  Your Relationship with
         Money
• You have a living ongoing
  relationship with money and you
  have had this relationship for a
  long time
• The program from “Your Money
  or Your Life” works on awareness
  and change with respect to your
  attitude toward money
• This is not a budget program-it is
  a change in your relationship with
  money
  Making Peace With the
          Past
• Step one in this program is to find
  out how much money you have
  made in your life so far and what
  do you have to show for it-this is a
  money only exercise-intangible
  assets are not included in this
  exercise
• We can do a quick version using
  the book itself as a guide
• Basically this means adding up all
  of your assets less your liabilities
• What works is to take a
  dispassionate view of the result-
      What is Money?

• Money as security-can really
  mean emotional security-can
  manifest in Scrooge-like behavior
• Money can be used to defend
  against unpleasant emotional
  states like fear or worry or
  loneliness
• Money as Power-can command
  compliance and loyalty-can
  increase choices to do or not do
  something
       What is Money?

• Money as social acceptance-
  spending money to be liked or
  loved-advertising works because
  it capitalizes on an epidemic in
  our culture of low self esteem
• Money as the root of all evil-it is
  our behavior that creates problems
  not money itself
• YMOYL definition of money-
  money is something we choose
  to trade our life energy for
 Trading our Life Energy

• Our life energy is our allotment of
  time here on earth-the hours of
  precious life left to us
• Money equals our life energy
• Money has little intrinsic value-on
  a deserted island your would use
  it to light fires and for toilet paper
• Our life energy has high value to
  us-it is all we have!
• What would financial
  independence look like for you?
      Financial and
  Psychological freedom
• What is the difference between
  financial independence and being
  rich- are they one and the same?
• Being rich-can only exist in
  comparison to something or
  someone else. “ More “is a
  mirage-it isn’t real
• It cannot be a certain quantum of
  money-if you asked people around
  the world how much would you
  need to consider themselves rich
  you would get almost infinite
  answers
  The Concept of Enough

• If your definition of rich is simply
  “A hell of a lot more than I have
  now” you can’t, by definition,
  ever make it
• A much more useful definition is
  that “Financial independence is
  the experience of having enough”
• This is a psychological definition
  and is achievable-it is also
  extremely variable from person to
  person
            Enough

• Financial independence is an
  experience of freedom at a
  psychological level
• You will be free of guilt,
  resentment, envy, frustration and
  despair
• You are free from cultural beliefs
  about how you “should” relate to
  money to be successful and happy
• You buy what you actually need
  and only that which creates value
  in your life
• You determine the way money
       Your Real wage

• To begin to understand what is
  enough there are several steps
• First calculate your net actual
  hourlywage
• This is your hourly wage less all
  the costs (and extra time)relating
  to work-including clothing, extra
  cost of food, commuting,
  decompression activities, escape
  entertainment etc.(not taxes) see
  checklist
• This can easily cut your hourly
  rate in half or more
• At the end you can say I am
  trading an hour of my life for X-
    Keeping Track of all
          Money
• This step involves work outside of
  this workshop but I have included
  an income and expense statement
  you could use
• I did this step for about 9 months-
  at first using a little note book
  then a palm pilot then I just used
  my debit card which only left
  items not on debit
• This meticulous tracking was very
  illuminating –I knew my net
  hourly wage and at the end of the
  month I could ask-Was this
  expense worth an hour of my life
        Be Meticulous

• In this exercise you must account
  for every penny-roughing it out
  won’t work
• This keeps us from being aloof
  about money
• Why every cent?-most of us are
  penny foolish but pound wise- not
  the other way around
• After a month do a monthly
  tabulation-you can use the form
  provided –this process will get
  you away from the story of your
  life and connect you with the
    Monthly Tabulations

• At the end of a month or several
  months you can compare your
  actual wage to what you spend on
  an item-i.e. shoes that cost 4 hours
  of life energy
• I did this for many months and
  automatically cut 20% of my
  spending-with no budget at all
• I just didn’t think certain things
  were worth it
  How Much is Enough?

• After you have done at least one
  months tabulations you can ask 3
  valuable questions-you can see
  these are described in my balance
  sheet
• HLE- means how many hours of
  life energy did this cost-i.e. if your
  real hourly wage is $20 per
  hour(net of work expense) and an
  item is $80-this took 4 hours of
  your non recoverable Life Energy
  How Much is Enough?

• The next question is Did I receive
  fulfillment, satisfaction and value
  in proportion to life energy spent?
• This weeds out mindless spending
  and your weakness areas(called
  Gazingus Pins in the book) for
  some this is shoes ,cars ,books,
  clothes bought to excess
• Asking yourself month after
  month whether you actually got
  value and fulfillment in proportion
  to life energy spent helps awaken
  a sense of knowing when enough
  is enough
             Enough

• You may find you are spending
  too little on something you get a
  huge amount of value for
• In the balance sheet provided you
  can put a 0 meaning the
  expenditure is ok as is; a + if you
  got great value and a – if you got
  poor or no value
• The next Question “Is this
  expenditure of life energy in
  alignment with my values and life
  purpose”
• Of course to do this you have to
           Alignment

• If a core value is raising your
  children but your expenditure is
  not about that then it is not in
  alignment
• If a core value is being creative
  and you only spend a paltry
  amount on this you are out of
  alignment
• For people that are clear about
  their core values this is a core test
  of whether your spending matches
  what you value in life
        After Financial
        Independence
• The third question is how would
  this expenditure change if I didn’t
  have to work? (after FI)
• Many expenses would simply
  disappear
• The book continues with more
  steps but doing this much will be
  very helpful
• The real question is how much do
  you need to work to be fulfilled
  but no more
        What is Work

• People say they work for many
  reasons-social
  connection,learning,service etc
  but all of these can be achieved
  outside of work except one-
  getting paid
• YMOYL shows the value of
  separating the concept of paid
  employment from the concept of
  work
• Work then is any productive or
  purposeful activity with paid
  employment as being one activity
 Ways to save money and
       this planet
• Stop trying to impress other
  people!!-They aren’t thinking
  about you anyway-even if they are
  if you do impress them they will
  resent you for it!!
• Don’t go shopping-it leads to
  spending!-if you need something
  just buy it-Much shopping is
  about filling psychological needs-
  it is retail therapy that doesn’t
  work
• Live within your means-a totally
  radical idea in this age
  Ways to Cut Spending

• Take care of what you have-this
  includes your body-if you don't
  take care of it where will you
  live?
• Wear it out
• Do it yourself
• Research value, quality and
  multiple use
• Buy used whenever possible
• Follow this program-the average
  person cuts 20% just by following
  this plan

				
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