How on Earth do you make a good money decision?

written by Bari Tessler January 29, 2015

One of the most common and perennial questions people arrive to my work with is:

How on earth can I make a good money decision?

Let’s face it: most of us were never, ever taught how to do this. And it’s one of the most crucial skills to build — for life, in general, but particularly if we want to deepen our relationship with money.

How do we know when to invest, risk, say “Yes!” … and when to tighten our belts and say “Nope” or “Not now”? How can we make money decisions that are financially and emotionally sound — all while serving our deepest needs and wants?

Tricky territory!

Here’s the thing: when you have a process for making a money decision (and it can be simple!) you’ll feel clear and empowered with each one you make. The big ones and the little ones. And whether your answer is “yes” or “nope.”

It’s so important to me to help you make a good money decision. And I know this is “up” for so many of you, at this moment, as you consider whether or not to join us for my year-long money school, The Art of Money.

Not only does this require that you make a good money decision, it raises the weird question:

How on earth can I decide whether to spend money on my relationship with money??

Weird, right? The decision process itself might trigger the very habits/emotions/stories around money that you’re trying to heal!

Deep breath. Here’s help.

If you want to join the Art of Money, but you’re on the fence — worried you can’t afford it, wondering how to decide if you should spend money on it, or feeling you don’t deserve this investment in your self-care — here’s what I have to say to you, dear friend:

How astute and thoughtful of you! I applaud you for weighing your money decision carefully. I want to help you make an empowered, confident, and honest decision — today and always.

When facing any money decision, I recommend considering five main factors:

  1. The Numbers
  2. The Timing
  3. The Value
  4. The Cost
  5. The Intention

Take my hand. Let’s walk through these five factors, together. If you’re debating joining The Art of Money, this will help you get all the clarity you need. But it’s also an ultra-helpful, universal framework for any money decision you’re grappling with.

1. The Numbers.

This is the most practical, cut-and-dry factor to consider:

Do you have enough money right now to make this purchase?

Simply reading that question might bring up some fear for you. You don’t really know how much you have, owe, or spend every month. And for lots of good reasons, you’re terrified to look at your numbers.

Often our unconsciousness around the numbers themselves is the first roadblock to making a money decision — and it can be paralyzing!

Believe it or not, I see this pattern regardless of how much or how little people are earning. Yep! Right across the spectrum of income and socio-economic status.

This actually isn’t about the numbers; it’s about your relationship to them.

  • Some people might be just meeting their basic needs, and bringing in very little money – but still do whatever it takes to invest in something important to them (more on the “important” part later).
  • Others may have more than enough money to satisfy all of their needs and desires (through a nice income, inheritance, or something else) but still feel enormous pressure when making their financial decisions.

So … what’s your relationship with your numbers?

If you have no idea what your numbers are, and are afraid to even look at them, consider this: The Art of Money will gently teach you how to do just that.

Another suggestion for working with your numbers: if you really want the purchase, but don’t think you can swing it, brainstorm ways to create an extra $88/month in your life (cut out a few lattes here, skip a movie there, or make a little extra cash on the side — it might be easier than you think!).

2. The Timing.

Is now the right time for you to make this investment in yourself?

In our Art of Money example, you might ask yourself:

  • Is your relationship to money calling (or screaming) for support?
  • Have you been longing for this type of support for months? Years?
  • Do you wish you’d had this support a long time ago?
  • Are you SO ready for this work?
  • Do you know you don’t want to wait for another year to do this? (The next time it will be offered is 2016.)
  • Did your desire for this kind of guidance come out of the blue?
  • Are you facing a money initiation? Big transitions like divorce, death, birth, or career changes can often catapult us into this work.
  • Have you felt the quiet, subtle influence of your money relationship hurting your self esteem or relationships? Has it been whispering to you — and is now the time to answer that call?

How does this offering intersect with the unique timing of your money story?

3. The Value.

(This is the big one!)

Is this program valuable to you? If so, how valuable? Are you willing to spend your money to reflect this value?

Sometimes it’s difficult to quantify the value of something — and this makes it even harder to decide if it’s worth the price tag. My work often falls into this category, as it’s subjective, subtle, and can be difficult to wrap your mind around from the outside.

Sometimes we have to dig deep to determine the value of our potential investment.

The healings that occur in my work are massive — but they’re often subtle at first. Sometimes our external world changes drastically and quickly. But sometimes the first chunks of work happen deep within, blazing a trail for external change.

To help you clarify the value you place on this kind of support, here are some of the benefits (tangible & intangible) you can expect from The Art of Money:

  • Peace of mind, clarity, and compassion in your money relationship
  • Deeper understanding and acceptance of the phases (the peaks and valleys) in your money and in your life
  • Productive, loving + fun money conversations with your partner (yes, we know you will be moving mountains when you do this)
  • A transformed relationship with money, with ripple effects into all areas of your life
  • Money un-shaming, healing & forgiveness . . . in droves
  • An implemented, clear, and manageable tracking system that fits your life
  • Custom-fit daily, weekly, monthly, and annual Money self-care practices
  • A new-found willingness to look at your numbers, learn from them, and make important changes
  • Deeper awareness + savvier skills with your saving, earning, spending and giving habits
  • Learning to create + live a values-infused budget (aka: map of intention)
  • An increased sense of self-worth, empowerment, and confidence (with money and beyond)
  • A more mature & adult relationship with money (you define this!)
  • A foundational, essential money education that serves you in life, biz and all of your relationships
  • Clarity on how to create your money support team: your bookkeeper, accountant, financial planner (yes, we will help you get clear on who you need)
  • Tools to add more meaning + fun + creativity with your relationship to money
  • Connection with a whole tribe of kindred Money Explorers (The tenderness and encouragement and love in this group? Amazing.)
  • Excitement and adventure as you hear our eclectic, expert guest teachers, who illuminate so many different aspects of this complex thing we call money.

Once you hash out the value of any money decision, here’s the next step:

Take a deep breath. Notice how your body feels, right now. And answer this question for yourself:

What are these things worth to me, right now? How would my life be different or better if I had all of these things?

Once you’re clear on how valuable something is (or isn’t) to you, the choice is almost made for you. Follow your values.

4. The Cost.

This is the flip-side of value: the cost, consequence, or loss. You’ve explored what you might hope and expect to gain from this experience, but have you examined what it might cost you to not do it?

How much is it costing you to NOT make this investment in yourself? How is not doing this work hurting you, your career, or your relationships?

What’s the cost of staying right where you are in your relationship to money?

Here are some common, painful consequences I’ve seen:

  • Conflict with your honey about money (whether unspoken or very vocal)
  • Worry about money problems when you open the mailbox (bills!), answer the phone (collectors!), or go about your day (background worry!)
  • Confusion about what your numbers actually look like, because you’re too afraid to look
  • Shame, guilt, fear, or anxiety about where you stand financially
  • Money wasted on bank charges, late fees, unpaid taxes, and more — because your financial house isn’t in order
  • Avoiding important relationships because of money stress or fear
  • Neglecting your most cherished dreams and values — because you can’t afford to invest in them (or aren’t sure if you can or “should”)
  • Career stress, confusion, or paralysis because you’re not sure how to move forward financially
  • Feeling disempowered, confused, overwhelmed, and unworthy — in your money relationship and beyond.

What would it be worth to you to banish these things from your life, for good? What toll are they things taking on you now, and what’s the cost if you never change them?

5. The Intention.

Is this a self-loving decision? Are you ready to receive the value of this investment?

A lot of people beat themselves up about this. We spend our money on something we think we’ll use and love … and then let it rot. Ouch.

We buy a fancy grill because we envision quality time with our family & friends, amazing food, and more time outdoors. And then . . . we never use it.

Or, we sign up for a personal growth program, and miss the calls and ignore the homework. Eeek.

The key here is the spirit with which you invest, and your readiness to receive.

If you’re prepared to gently, lovingly hold yourself accountable for receiving the value of this investment …

If you feel empowered, trusting, and loving towards yourself in making this investment …

If you’re prepared to invest not only your money, but your mind, your heart, your time, and your consciousness, as well …

Then everything is aligned for you to receive a powerful return on your investment.

So: Take a deep breath. Check in with yourself. Look at your numbers. Consider the timing. Weigh the value. Reflect on your intentions. Is this your time?

Only YOU can know!

If you’re considering joining us for The Art of Money, please make this a conscious, loving decision, for yourself. Go through this framework (take as much or as little time as you need), and make this decision a conscious one.

And if you decide you’re a YES! to The Art of Money, I am here to hold your hand, and welcome you into our incredible community.

Everything begins February 1st. We’d love for you to join us!


P.S. Remember: not making a decision is a decision, itself. If you find yourself intrigued by The Art of Money (or any other investment!), but then get overwhelmed trying to decide, and walk away from it — that’s a decision, too!

We can’t avoid money decisions. But we can make them more conscious, loving, and confident. That’s one of the skills you’ll practice, get support for, and play with in The Art of Money.

And that, my friends … is a beautiful thing.

We begin on February 1st. Won’t you join us?

Join The Art of Money right here.

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