Money mastery is about connecting your values with your money habits. When life throws us a curve ball, we have to align our habits with our new reality. In order to be “in” mastery you must have the ability to shift and adjust when necessary—like learning to sail. If the wind shifts and you don’t adjust, you’ll either stop dead or get very wet.
Your ability to shift, change and adapt to whatever comes your way—resilience—is a necessary skill set to achieve mastery. We don’t all have it down, but there are those who exemplify it.
Take Mia and Tom. They are both in their mid-50’s and working to achieve their life goals (supporting their children’s college education and a retirement plan that includes some travel, some learning opportunities, some charity involvement and a lot of family time). During our last check-in six months ago, it seemed that the volume of Tom’s voice had increased to something just south of shouting. When I asked him why, he smiled sheepishly and told me that Mia’s hearing wasn’t so good and he had to increase his volume so she could hear. As her hearing had become more impacted, he adjusted his volume automatically.
That day, we discussed the unexpected acceptance of their youngest child into a five-year master’s program. While they hadn’t counted on that fifth year, they were willing to shift resources to help out. Mia committed to shifting her projected retirement date to accommodate this new opportunity. The meeting ended—loudly—but with some important decisions made.
Fast forward six months. As we began, I noticed Tom was practically whispering. I was a little taken aback by the dramatic shift in tone and volume and asked about it. Tom laughed as Mia studied the conference room table. It turned out that Mia’s hearing was fixed with a little maintenance at the doctor’s office—and now anything above a whisper produces a reminder not to shout. We all had a good laugh and continued at a much lower decibel level to accommodate Mia’s newly super-sensitive hearing.
Mia announced that she had received an unexpected bonus –which would supply a significant portion of the funds needed for the 5th year education plan. They were back on track and feeling very good about their progress on their financial life plan. The meeting ended on an upbeat—albeit quieter—note.
Tom shifted his volume and Mia shifted her retirement plans to meet their circumstances. They are flexible and maintain positive expectations. Their money mastery allows them to see the difference between a “problem” and an “opportunity.”
Money mastery is all about handling whatever comes—because you have the mental and financial ability to do so. If the slightest change or challenge creates chaos, you might need to recalibrate your mastery meter.
Sometimes, that little voice in the back of your head shouts at you to make decisions that might feel right in the moment, but will leave you feeling miserable in the long run.
It isn’t easy to ignore the constant calling to buy, spend, enjoy, waste or be overly frivolous with your hard earned cash; your job is to turn down the volume on that voice while you turn up the speaker on the one that encourages you to make good financial choices.
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