“Midlife: when the Universe grabs your shoulders and tells you “I’m not f-ing around, use the gifts you were given.”
― Dr. Brene’ Brown
At some point in mid-life many people feel unfocused and discontented, a vague uneasiness, a sense that there might be or must be something more. They feel restless, uninspired, stuck, or stale – cruising on autopilot, going through the motions. Unmet Expectations?
Instead of resisting or ignoring this state, how do you embrace mid-life malaise and use it as a jumping-off point for exploring what comes next? How do you elevate your everyday experience in ways that connect you to greater satisfaction, joy, and delight? How do you do this in ways that don’t scuttle or destroy those things that may well be ‘right’ in your world? Change and Transformation happen all the time.
Be clear about what you want it to look like. Be deliberate in creating a vision for your ideal life.
My trip to Paris, the city of love, came to symbolize the day I began the pursuit of my passion for writing.
I started writing because the inexplicable turmoil inside me had grown so large it had nowhere else to go and ultimately spilled onto paper! It seemed unlikely that I would have chosen writing as a medium to self-medicate. I loved numbers — it was what I did for a living. It was not till I was in high school that I started reading books. Before that, words appeared to float on paper. Never quite landing. And writing seemed too personal. Numbers provided formulas and a safe distance. Till recently, I needed these formulas and a safe distance from which to navigate life.
I could not put my finger on what was causing the pain. A myriad of things pointed to one prevailing issue — I was not living in alignment with who I was. And it was not a midlife crisis but a gnawing. Something that used to get me out of bed was no longer satisfying.
And what else could I do? I had wanted to be a financial advisor since I was fifteen. My dad was an accountant. I had a keen interest in how the stock market worked. I even used to watch the daily market report with my dad. I was happy when I started in the industry. But over time, something changed.
I knew the pain was far more than dissatisfaction with work. I felt like I had been ignoring who I was. Instead, I was trying to be who I thought I was supposed to be.
Passion, In Pursuit
I decided on a writing retreat abroad. It would combine my love for travel while testing the water to see if I would enjoy writing. I came across a writers’ retreat in Paris facilitated by New York Time’s Bestselling author Wendy Goldman Rohm. It was the most inspiring event I had ever attended. And a life-defining moment for me. Paris is the city of love. It’s there where I can say I completely fell in love with writing.
When I returned to Canada after the retreat, I could not stop writing at every spare moment. I wrote about anything and everything. Each day before work and after work, and even during my lunch breaks. I finally quit my job as a financial advisor to be a full-time writer.
Writing spoke to me and for me. It was my journey to self. Since then, I make an annual pilgrimage to Paris. The place where I came home to myself.
Like any old city, Paris has lots of history. It has a way of transporting you to another time, bringing back memories of my grade twelve English classes with Mr. Mansley, who walked with a limp.
I smile when I picture them discussing their manuscripts while sipping their morning coffee at Cafe Les Deux Magots. And people-watching. As far as I was concerned, there is nowhere I would want to people-watch than in Paris. The likes of Jean-Paul Sartre and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and Allen Ginsberg making their way to Cafe de Flore. As if these ghosts lurked the streets of St. Germain.
Writing has also led me to deal with the ghosts that lay within. To confront the enormous pain that needed a voice. More than just a lifeline, writing frees, nourishes, and empowers me. Writing now allows me to do the same for others.
I will continue my annual pilgrimage to Paris. In gratitude to that writer’s retreat in Paris that changed the course of my entire life. Writing provided an avenue to acquaint me with who I am. And the pain within dissipated.
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After a long career in banking and finance, Jennifer is living her dream – traveling to beautiful places around the world, writing, and helping others – individuals and businesses – achieve values-driven success. For a consultation to manifest life on your terms or to self-publish, or to launch your business around your passions and expertise, contact Jennifer at email@example.com
“Money can’t buy love, but it puts you in a great bargaining position”– Christopher Marlowe
Whether you want to admit it or not, money impacts most areas of our lives – including our marriages. Personal Finance is rarely the first issue couples discuss while dating. Yet, it’s one of the most contentious issues during the marriage. And one of the most common reasons why couples choose to separate.
Sarah and Ethan were on the extreme sides of the spending/saving spectrum. She came from a financially secure home. His family worked hard to make ends meet. He was ambitious – having bought four condos. She was averse to debt. Even ‘good debt‘ made her uneasy. She told him he needed to sell the condominiums before she would marry him. She was uncomfortable with that level of debt. Unfortunately, this was at the time of a real estate market crash.
Let’s Talk Money
Couples rarely discuss finance before marriage, it seems to be the main issue when couples choose to separate. Conflicts around the issue of money are one of the leading causes of divorce, crossing all socio-economic groups. Money is a highly emotional subject: connected with feelings of safety and security.
Differing or competing goals and values, along with power and control, make it a catalyst in marriage problems. It’s an incompatibility in their approach to money that creates the problem. Money touches many aspects of our lives. Bring two people, each with a different approach to personal finance and there will be some conflict.
Each of us has a distinct financial blueprint. This comprises our beliefs around money, our experience with money, and our personality type. The qualities you were attracted to in each other may be different from what you possess. It is not uncommon for polar opposites to be attracted to each other.
You may be attracted to a bold, risk-taking potential partner. Because they compliment your conservative approach to life. Or, a driven personality may be attractive in comparison to your laid-back attitude to things.
However, these different personality types also exist when it comes to how a person manages their money. High risk-taking ways may mean he might be more aggressive with his investments. Will you be willing to see him manage the family finances? Many women still defer major financial decisions to their husbands.
Photo by Kamil-Pietrzak
How to Manage Your Money in Your Marriage
Respect your differences
● You come from different backgrounds. Discuss what money means to you personally – this will shed light on your relationship to money. How did your parents manage their finances? Were they generous, cautious, prudent, or just lived for today?
● How do you feel about debt? Just as people have different levels of tolerance for risk, some people are more comfortable carrying debt than others. Some are so averse to any debt that they may not want to buy a house until they have a sizeable down payment.
● Talk about your past experiences with money. Do you share similar values?
Decide how you will handle your finances as a couple
● Discuss whether you want to pull your financial resources together or keep things separate. Do you want joint accounts?
● How will you share the costs of running a home? Create a budget together.
● Unless you decide to keep your finances completely separate, it would be the honest thing to do to disclose your debts, assets, and financial obligations. It is one way to get real!
● What amount of debt will you be bringing into the marriage? How will you deal with it? Especially if one of you has substantially more debt than the other, e.g student loan debt?
● See a financial Advisor you both like. Have a written financial plan.
● Discuss with your partner the issue of control – how much control does each person feel they need in this area. How much do you feel you need to tell each other before making a purchase and how much does your partner want to know?
● Decide how you will deal with conflicts regarding money.
● Discuss your goals – individually and as a couple. Prioritize those goals.
● Do you want children before you can afford a home?
Photo by Priscilla du Preez
Like everything else in any partnership, open communication is imperative! Does your spouse know how much debt you have? Commit to get good with money – help each other become financially whole. Take an interest in personal finance together. Even if you decide to keep your finances separate, as long as you are a couple, one person’s financial decisions will invariably affect the other person’s life.
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How do you make good financial decisions In the event of a separation and divorce? Sally called her financial advisor. Sobbing, she said, “my entire world has just crashed. David told me this morning he is leaving me. He has fallen for a woman he met eight days ago. Yes, you heard that right; he met her eight days ago.”
Sally and David, in their late forties, had a tumultuous marriage for years. Aside from the challenges of building a new business in a new country, they had three teens, one with severe mental illness. The business thrived, but their marriage did not.
This will depend on more than just the incomes of the spouses. As far as the courts are concerned, the quality of the children’s lives should not be diminished as a result of the separation, although we know that it is not the case in most divorces.
Most jurisdictions have prescribed support payments that are determined by income, but a myriad of things will be considered beyond the specified amounts. There is more than a monthly child support payment involved. It also includes extracurricular activities the children may be involved in, such as swimming lessons.
Photo by Jesse-Roberts
The matrimonial home?
Many couples prefer the children to remain in the same home to allow for minimal disruption in an otherwise tumultuous time. Is the spouse who may have stayed home for years to raise the children able to afford to buy out the other spouse’s share of the home? Or will the matrimonial home be sold?
Take stock of your finances:
Make a list of properties you own jointly or separately. Same with debts and expenses. How will you divide any property – the matrimonial home, the rental, the cottage?
List your financial institutions and account numbers for your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and investments.
Know your rights and responsibilities related to joint accounts and loans.
Make sure you have copies of financial information: statements for outstanding loans, recent pay stubs, and your tax returns for the past three years.
When you consign for a loan, credit card, or line of credit, each of the joint borrowers can receive the same information from the lender about the loan. For example, if you cosigned for a credit card with your former partner, the lender must give each of you copies of the credit agreement and the monthly statements, unless you consented either verbally or in writing to waive this right.
If you have already waived your right to separate disclosure, you can change your consent if you decide you would like to receive information about the joint account or loan.
You should decide what to do with the joint assets or debts you share with your partner. Get advice from your lawyer on the best way to handle these.
Contact Your Financial Institution
For advice on protecting your interests in your joint accounts, such as preventing further borrowing from a line of credit or withdrawals from a joint bank account.
While you are working out your separation or divorce, keep bills and receipts for your family’s expenses. This will be helpful later when you are working out how to divide your property.
If you don’t close your joint accounts and loans, both of you may continue to be legally entitled to the funds in any joint accounts and responsible for repaying any debts, even if your separation agreement states that only one person is responsible.
If one borrower doesn’t pay the debt, the lender can demand that any borrower listed in the loan or credit agreement pay the entire amount or continue making regular payments.
With most credit card companies, the joint or “secondary cardholders” is also held responsible for any outstanding balances.
To find out whether you are responsible, read your credit agreement or ask your lender.
Once you have closed joint accounts or paid off joint loans, check your credit report to update your financial information.
Decide how you will split your pensions. And what about extended health care benefits? This is of more significant concern if one partner makes a substantially lesser income or may have taken time off work to raise the children. Health care benefits are not equal from one company to the next. This is of more significant concern if only one partner worked, and the other took time off work to raise their children. It is unlikely the courts will compensate you fully for the income you lost during the time you stayed home for your children.
Re-establish Yourself Financially
Photo by Micheile -Henderson
Establish individual accounts if you have not already done so.
Update your direct deposit information for paychecks, government checks, and any other regular deposits you receive to ensure they are deposited into your account.
If your credit facilities were all in joint names, now is the time to establish credit in just your name.
This could be an issue if most of a couple’s accounts and bills were registered and paid under one spouse’s name. As a result, the other spouse may have a low credit score.
Update your Will. It is very likely the Will you made while you were married had your ex-spouse as the beneficiary of your assets. That may not be your wish after the separation.
Give Yourself Time Before Starting A New Relationship!
A divorce is a traumatic event. If you do have children, both you and they will need time to heal, recover, and get used to a new normal. It may take a while before introducing them to the idea of you having a new partner. You will also need time to establish yourself financially before deciding to enter another commitment.
Get Expert Advice
If you and your former partner need assistance in reaching an agreement on these issues, you can consult several resources:
lawyers and notaries – who specialize in family law.
Be Aware of How You Speak About Your Ex To Your Children
Divorces are rarely amicable. Emotions are running high. Refrain from tearing down your ex in front of the children. Remember that when you speak ill about your ex, you are talking ill about a parent of theirs. This will affect their emotional well-being. Remember, they are a part of him and will always be a part of him or her.
Get Emotional Support
Your identity changes after a separation. You are no longer part of a couple. As you get used to a new life, you will need emotional support from family, friends, and maybe even a divorce support group. Get support from people who can help you navigate this tumultuous time.
While taking care of business and tending to your children’s needs, do not forget your needs as well. A divorce is a traumatic event. You cannot help your children if you are not healthy – physically and emotionally.
Anyone thinking of separating should seek legal advice as soon as they can. The laws that apply to financial matters such as property division and spousal support depending on where you live. They also depend on your partnership’s status – whether you were married or in a common-law relationship. And if you were married, whether you are separating or getting a divorce.
Divorce is both financially and emotionally, a stressful event for a family. Many single mothers live in poverty as a result. Women who take control of their finances early in life have a better chance, financially, to weather these storms.
This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a commission for purchases recommended (at no additional cost to you).
Jennifer Thompson was a financial advisor for over twenty years. Now, as a life coach, author, and international speaker, she teaches women the techniques to develop a consciousness for abundance for a more compelling life www.compelling365.com
Why do we buy things? The avoidance of pain or the promise of pleasure is what motivates all behavior. From work to eating to sex right down to what we chose to buy. We are all either looking for ways to avoid pain or achieve greater pleasure in our lives. This is also the basis of consumer behavior.
Cloaked in a myriad of different reasons. The new dress you did not need or the new car. Purchased to achieve approval from friends? The trip to Kenya. for the sake of experiencing something novel. Everything we do is either to avoid pain or to achieve pleasure.
Look back at your last five purchases. They don’t have to be significant purchases.
That Starbucks coffee on the way to work. The extra pair of shoes you picked up in the mall on the way back from lunch. Even the carton of milk you pick up before heading home.
Your last few financial decisions could have been major. Changing the mix in your investment portfolio. Or buying your first home.
Whatever it is, big or small, you were likely motivated by pleasure or the avoidance of pain.
How do retailers get you to spend?
The Fear of Missing Out
Advertisers in the US spent $242.54 billion in 2020. Observe current advertising. The message is consistent: you will be missing out in some way if you do not buy what is being offered.
Whether you’d be missing out on belonging with your friends if you don’t drink beer with them. Missing out on experiences if you don’t travel as your friends do on social media. Not keeping up with the latest gossip at the water cooler if you don’t read the tabloids. And missing out on receiving the love you want if you don’t look a certain way. Getting approval from society for the new BMW.
This is tapping into the human need for approval and belonging. And the pain of not belonging is what drives so many of us. This fear of missing out is further enhanced with the offer of a discount. Who wants to miss out on a discount? This has people buying things they don’t need because of the discount.
Six thousand adults surveyed in the United States, Denmark, Canada, and the Netherlands found that spending money on ways to save time led to greater life satisfaction.
The same researchers gave sixty adults to spend $40 on a time-saving purchase on one weekend. Such as hiring someone to clean their home. The next weekend these same adults received $40 to make a material purchase. People reported feeling happier when they spent money on a time-saving purchase than on a material purchase.
A relentless pursuit of pleasure may explainsome addictions. The promise of pleasure once you have had that drink or taken that drug. It could start in part with the need to belong, especially with teenagers. Some studies claim that addictions are an attempt to suppress pain.
It may have started with the need to achieve pleasure but turned into something more. Pornography addiction may start with the pursuit of pleasure.
Needs vs. Wants
A large part of our spending is for basic survival: food, shelter, and clothing. But what about the $1000 jacket? Or the $4000 Prada bag? It goes beyond just a need to keep yourself warm or a place to keep your things.
Becoming aware of why you spend creates greater awareness. If you are running into financial problems or consistently resorting to credit to pay for your purchases, you may want to ask yourself what need you are trying to meet through your spending habits.
Can you meet that need in a way that has less of a financial impact on your bottom line?
What can you do?
With the holiday season soon upon us, what can you do? The need to belong and to enjoy life is fundamental to our humanity. We need to recognize that and respect it within the context of creating a balanced life. Achieving a sense of belonging and adventure should not cost you your financial future. As would be the case if you got into a large amount of debt to achieve these needs.
Set a Budget
Set a spending budget for birthdays and the holiday season. What are you willing to give up to achieve a likely increase in expenses? Stick to your budget. You do not want to spend the first six months of the new year paying for excessive spending over Christmas.
We all have a wish list. Saying ‘yes’ to one thing may mean saying ‘no” to something else. Our priorities with how we use our money should align with what matters most for you. You may value a comfortable retirement but what you need most now is to own a home for a sense of security. Set aside savings towards this goal.
How can we approach money free of guilt or worry? Other than the idea of whether we can afford it or not, most of us don’t give a second thought to why we spend. Observe your spending habits. What needs are you trying to meet? Are you are getting into debt to meet some of these needs? Can you find healthier ways to meet those needs than using your credit card?
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure here.