Monthly Archives: November 2011

A New American Holiday Tradition

I don’t know who wrote this, but I agree with the sentiment, so I thought I would post it for everyone to read. If the author steps forward, I’ll be happy to credit them!  I’ve seen this in many places, so you may have read it already.  My additions are in [brackets] to make it more inclusive.

Birth of a New Tradition

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods — merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands.

Yes there is!

It’s time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?

Everyone — yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?

Gym membership? It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.

Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.

Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down the Benjamins on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.

There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants — all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn’t the fancy-eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint.

Remember, folks this isn’t about big National chains — this is about supporting your hometown Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.

My computer could use a tune-up, and I know I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.

OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theater.

Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas [and the other holidays celebrated this season with gift-giving] is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine.

THIS is the new American Christmas [and other holidays season] tradition.

  • post it to discussion groups
  • throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in your city
  • send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations, and TV news departments.

This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn’t that what Christmas [and the other holidays] are about?


Many blessings, and may you find the contentment you seek.  For more on that, please see a wonderful posting at

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Again, Where I’ve Been…

Just as I had planned regular blog postings, some amazingly nasty money-related things started to come to light.  Though astute and attentive, things hidden from you can take you by surprise.  As we teach in Money Coaching, it’s how you handle it and what you do next.  The handling of it and next steps have kept me very busy and away from this venue.   Surprise non-GAAP business issues, family members with identity & other thefts, surprise unemployment for kids, mother-in-law’s passing, businesses closing, and more.  I can’t wait for 2011 to end.  Bottom line, it’s time to move onward!

I hope this will be the longest post you ever see from me.  I’m now seeking to grow my new Money Coaching private practice and I need your help.  Please read on…

First, a little bit about me.  Born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, I spent my college years in Coral Gables, Florida, and my law school years in Cleveland, Ohio, then a year in Akron with an accounting firm in their tax department.  An opportunity arose to join my father in the investment business at PaineWebber (and then at Smith Barney), and after 20 years I ventured out on my own as a fee-only, as-needed financial planner.  And it’s hard for me to believe that I’ve been a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ licensee for over 25 years!

Never being fond of ice and snow, I moved to Walnut Creek in mid-2005 to join a friend’s financial life planning practice at another major financial services firm, but found that being back in the corporate environment – and one that again stressed and encouraged “investment sales and asset gathering” over “financial planning” – was not for me, so I again shifted direction and began studying “the inside aspects of money” with Deborah Price at The Money Coaching Institute in Petaluma in September of 2006.

Since becoming a partner in the Institute in 2008, I have helped many individuals to identify and shift challenging money beliefs and behaviors so that they can live their money life differently and in a way which is more in line with their truest desires and beliefs.  I have also helped to train and support Certified Money Coaches around the world as they help their clients to do the same.  It’s what I believe I was put on earth to do, and I’m very much in love with the work.

Money Coaching is the bridge between two worlds – that of practical financial matters and that of human beliefs and behaviors – helping to integrate our feelings with our actions in a way which brings out the best in us as individuals making our way through a constantly changing and challenging world.

After providing money coaching services exclusively with and through the Institute, I recently opened my private money coaching practice and also provide financial and retirement transition education workshops in Pleasant Hill in a space in which I had another venture that closed.

Next, a little about what I can help you, your family, and your friends with.  Review the list below and ask yourself if any of these items apply in your (or their) financial circumstances.  If so, sitting down with me may be a good first step in identifying the unconscious beliefs and resulting behaviors so you or they can envision and implement a different way of doing things.

  •   Letting one partner in a relationship handle all the money issues
  •   Uncertainties over relationships based on have/have not
  •   Heightened sense of fear and vulnerability due to wealth or lack of it
  •   Taking no risks at all with money or feeling extreme saving/investing anxiety
  •   Overly focusing on money as an important factor in life
  •   Excessive risk taking with money, especially to “make up” for the past
  •   Spending more than can be afforded
  •   Keeping money secrets from those who should or need to know
  •   Overly supporting others or giving in to financial requests
  •   Equating money with love
  •   Unconscious agreements to not let children suffer financially
  •   Belief that others will take care of financial matters
  •   Relying on others for financial support or assistance
  •   Fear of financial education and/or planning
  •   Not talking about money in healthy and appropriate ways
  •   Not educating children about healthy and appropriate money behaviors

Money Coaching is a process which can be provided in face-to-face meetings, by phone, and over the internet using web-chat rooms and/or Skype.  It involves an initial four-session commitment to completing the “core process” so that we can identify the underlying unconscious and/or subconscious “hard-wired” beliefs and patterns, determine the money behaviors that stem from these beliefs and patterns, and help you to see how they influence your present financial life.

We then prepare a suggested course of action to help coach and support you through positive change and help you to become financially empowered.  The cost is affordable, starting at $600 for the initial five sessions for individuals and $900 for couples.  And I also offer a sliding scale because I have a commitment to work with everyone who is interested and have a belief that those who can pay my regular rate help pay the ones who can’t.

For those not yet ready to fully explore their money beliefs and patterns through the Money Coaching Core Process, I offer opportunities to “scratch the surface” through my weekly workshops titled “Understanding Your Relationship with Money.”  In these, we discuss the origins of our financial personality, identify our money habits and attitudes using a solitaire card-game approach, and discover the primary and shadow Money Types which are influencing our way of moving through the world of personal and consumer finance.  Come as a family or as a group of like-minded friends!

Speaking of the Family – I am also available in the East Bay to facilitate “Family Money Meetings” in a way which honors each family member’s unique way of understanding and thinking about money.  While you set the agenda, I help to moderate the conversation and keep it moving in a constructive and helpful direction while helping to avoid the conflicts, personal “attacks” and finger pointing that often comes when discussing emotionally-based topics that are tied into our core survival instincts.  Family members gain insight into the ways each other think and respond and develop a more respectful appreciation for such differences.  And couples can come away with a structured process for ongoing communications that enhances their mutual understanding and honors their differences.

Another great workshop I facilitate is “Designing Your Life in Retirement: A Guide to Planning Your Future” from Money Quotient.  This full-day program is held once a month on a Saturday and guides participants in understanding the six elements of a meaningful and successful retirement experience. The titles of this six module program are CHANGE, BALANCE, POTENTIAL, MEANING, WEALTH, and PURPOSE.  More information can be found at my website.

One other service I provide is Cash Flow Modeling.  While not comprehensive financial planning (and not meant as a substitute for it), this spreadsheet approach helps you to see the long-term impact of small shifts in financial strategies and how changes in how you do things can make a big difference over time.  I help you to determine your present cost of living and project how this cost may change over time based upon your life’s vision.  It takes into account over a dozen financial variables which are interrelated, and illustrates how small changes in any one – or several at once – may impact your future financial well-being.  I do not provide investment, tax or legal advice in these projections, but they do give you the information and objectivity you need to seek such advice from qualified professionals.

Bottom line:  call me to set up a time to chat so we can see how the skills, talents and abilities I have may be of benefit to you.  My contact information is on the website at

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