Take Charge Of Your Finances, Simplify Your Life

Developing a lifestyle that works for you

 By Ute Lawrence     

There is much to be said for ordering our physical environments and creating supportive, inspiring spaces. Being surrounded by “stuff” we no longer need can weigh heavily on our ability to focus.

As I discussed in my previous column, it’s important to clear our homes and offices so we can build a rock-solid foundation, or root system, to help facilitate growth. It gives us a new perspective and the freedom to welcome new things into our lives.

Part of this process involves taking a deep look at our financial environment. Too many people are burdened by financial commitments and lifestyles they hang on to for the wrong reasons. If you lose sleep over financial worries, a time-out is required to get them in a state of repair, or at least develop a plan to do so.

Worries about money take up an inordinate amount of time and emotional energy. You cannot have a clear mind and good health with extreme stress about monetary concerns. Once you have a plan, follow through. The purpose of having a plan is to learn to manage your money instead of letting money manage you.

The first step is to pay attention. How healthy is your financial environment? Don't know? Hmmm . . . maybe it’s time for a close look.

There is power in knowing the details. This means knowing exactly how much money you earn and how much you spend. You might find out your life is consumed by your lifestyle or that things are better than you thought.

The late Thomas Leonard, who is considered to be the father of coaching, posed the question in his book, The Portable Coach, “How much energy does your lifestyle consume? Is your lifestyle too big? What amount of time and money do you need to sustain it?”

 If “living large” has become a driving force, it is standing between you and the life you want. Simplify. There is nothing wrong with having a lifestyle, as long as you make sure it does not have you. Choosing lifestyle over life is about having more rather than becoming more -- and being glorified for the role you’re playing, not for who you are.

To get a life means there is room to enjoy. You can have a really big life and a big lifestyle, but only if the lifestyle is not costing you excessively in time, emotion, space, risk, pressure, adrenaline. And that’s how more becomes less.

It’s really amazing how more and more people I talk to are no longer willing to uphold a lifestyle that is driven mainly by material possessions, objects that are used to validate their success. They realize that most of their pleasures in life come from the simple things, such as watching a sunset and being with family and friends – real friends, the ones who hang out with you because of who you really are.

To create a financial environment that will support, not drain your energy, several things need to happen. Write down, to the penny, how much you earn, how much you spend every month and what you are spending it on. Just knowing is very liberating. Then take an honest look at your scenario, since this will determine if you are living within your means.

Ask yourself, “Do I need to cut expenses?” Start with the big-ticket items. If you have debts, make a plan immediately to reduce them. Hire a financial coach to help you, if necessary. Use credit cards only as a substitute for carrying cash, not as a substitute for having the cash in the first place.

Most important of all, the result of knowing your true financial status will allow you to take the appropriate actions to build up the financial side of your life, either by increasing your income or decreasing your expenses, or both. You can then start building a reserve. Once you have built up your reserve – always having six months of living expenses in your bank account, enough to take a trip on the spur of the moment, or pay for emergencies –  you’ll find a huge cloud lifting off your shoulders.

On I lighter note, I recently read a quote by Will Rogers who claims: “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.”


Ute Lawrence is the CEO/President of Performance Enhancement Centre and founder of the Power of One Discovery series. Ute is an inspirational keynote speaker and workshop leader. For questions and suggestions or to sign up for our free newsletter, please visit






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