Provision #312: Top 10 Wealth Pathways

Laser Provision

We’ve reached the end of our conversation about the meaning and management of money. Reviewing the ground we’ve covered, I have assembled our Top Ten Wealth Pathways. Properly followed, these pathways can assist anyone to reach optimal financial well-being.

LifeTrek Provision

Before we move on to the subject of wisdom, I want to summarize the ground we’ve covered in the past thirteen weeks regarding the subject of wealth. Once again, you can expect a lot more material in my upcoming book, “Healthy, Wealth, and Wise: Coaching and Profound Provisions for the Trek of Life,” but the basic outline of the material has now been set.

1. Reframe Wealth. It’s tempting to think of wealth in terms of excess financial resources. That is, after all, the conventional understanding of the word. But this understanding produces a chronically unsatisfied mind. If our objective is to always have more, then how can we ever have enough? And if we want more than enough while others have less than enough, then how can we live with ourselves?

A better way to think of wealth is in terms of optimal financial well-being. What do we need to be happy and free in the material world in which we all live? Don’t let Madison Avenue answer that question for you. Answer that question for yourself, based upon your interests, attitudes, and values. If your answer is authentic, heartfelt, and life-affirming, then you won’t go wrong in your pursuit of wealth and you may discover that you are already a lot wealthier than you know.

2. Control Consumption. There’s no way to fill a bucket that has a hole in the bottom, but that’s exactly what many people try to do when it comes to money and wealth. They work and work and work to make ever-increasing amounts of money only to discover, at the end of the day, that they are no better off than when they started. Many discover that they are worse off, because their expenses and liabilities far exceed their income and assets. If that sounds like you, or anyone you know, then it’s time to take control of your consumption. Keeping up with the person next door or the media icons is not a healthy pursuit. Decide for yourself what you will spend, and live accordingly.

3. Eliminate Consumer Debt. Unpaid credit card debt is choking America if not the Western world. There’s no way to achieve optimal financial well-being at the same time as we carry or increase our consumer debt. That is the stuff that makes for financial pressure and bankruptcies. If you carry credit card debt, then get on a program to pay it down as soon as possible. First, destroy your cards except for one balance-free card that you keep filed away just for emergencies. Then pay down your highest-balance, highest-interest card first while paying the minimum on all the rest. Once you get one card paid off, move on to the next. If you need assistance figuring this out, contact the National Foundation for Credit Counseling Click.

4. Love Work. Wealth is not about having so much that we never have to work again. Wealth is about loving so much that we can always work again. Unfortunately, many people think of work as that which we have to do, but would rather not do. Very early in life, we get the message that work is a chore. But for wealthy people, work is a joy. Warren Buffett, the world’s wealthiest investor, celebrates the fact that he “gets up every day and has a chance to do what I love to do, every day.” Now, chicken and egg style, which came first, the joy or wealth?

The answer is the joy. No wealthy person sits around all day with nothing to do. Wealthy people get up in the morning and look forward to the day, because they love what they do. As soon as we fall in love with work, we will not only be on the road to wealth, we will be wealthy, regardless of our assets and income, for that is how wealthy people live life.

5. Do Good. If you think that wealth is just about doing well, as in being “well off,” then think again. Wealthy people not only do well, they also do good. Or, to quote Benjamin Franklin, they have the leisure to do something useful. No longer constrained to think only of survival, they focus instead on the task of making a meaningful contribution to the world. This focus can be maintained by anyone, regardless of where they are on the socio-economic ladder. In many ways, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. By making a positive contribution, the world becomes a better place and our efforts do not go unnoticed. By doing good we end up doing better both by ourselves and by others. Rather than a vicious circle, it is a blessed circle that spreads like ripples in a pond.

6. Follow A Plan. There’s no way to successfully run a marathon without training. And there’s no way to train without a plan that builds from lower mileage to higher mileage over a period of at least 16 weeks. For experienced marathoners, that plan may be so ingrained as to be a habit they hardly have to think about. For most people, however, including many experienced marathoners, that plan is written down and checked off as they go. It provides motivation, control, and confidence to know that we are doing the right stuff at the right time in the right way.

So too when it comes to both health and wealth. If there is no plan, then we lose the motivation, control, and confidence that we need to be successful. Brian Tracy, in his recent book “Goals!”, makes it clear just how important it is to write down your goals as well as your plan to achieve those goals. It doesn’t matter if the plan is perfect. It’s more important that the plan be written, because the process of writing it down makes it clear, specific, and doable.

7. Plan Your Receipts. A financial plan starts with a clear and specific understanding of the money we have to work with. For most people, the majority of our receipts come in the form salaries, wages, and tips from earned income. Our planning starts when we write down what we expect those to be over the next twelve months. But there are other forms of receipts that need to be written down as well. Interest, dividends, business income, capital gains, rents, retirement benefits, and gifts, for example, are all part of the equation.

One good reason for writing down all our receipts is because they reveal not only how much money we have to work with, but also how the money we have to work with is made. With a clear understanding of not only our cash flow but also our balance sheet, we gain the control that can make for better financial management over time.

8. Plan Your Disbursements. We’ve already spoken about the importance of not spending more than we make on consumer products and personal services. Small deficits, over time, add up to big problems. But it’s important to not misinterpret these words of caution as suggesting either that it’s never appropriate to spend money or that it’s never appropriate to borrow money. Both interpretations would be far from the mark. Wealthy people plan their disbursements as well their debt. They know what’s available for the everyday as well as for the extraordinary, and they enjoy making these disbursements immensely. Debt is reserved for investments, as leverage. Once this is written down, the process of making dreams come true is even more thrilling than buying the latest toy or trying the latest fad.

9. Plan Your Investments. Robert Kiyosaki’s latest book, Rich Dad’s Prophecy, gave me a helpful new distinction between savings and investments. Anyone can be taught to save, he writes, even monkeys! It’s just a matter of setting some money aside rather than spending it all. This is the first level of financial intelligence, which wealthy people master early in life. But what do we do with the money we save? That’s where investing comes into play. Do we put it in a safe liquid instrument, with a low return, like a savings account, money market fund, or certificate of deposit? Or do we take on more risk, to get a potentially higher return, through stocks, bonds, business opportunities, real estate, precious metals, or other investment opportunities. There’s no one right answer for all people at all times. But one thing is clear: unless we become financially educated and experienced through little deals we will never work our way up to big deals. Having an investment plan is a great way to make room for the future.

10. Plan Your Giving. Too many people give on the basis of impulse, or what they have left in their pocket or in their bank account at the end of the month or the end of the year. Wealthy people plan their giving as well as their receipts, disbursements, and investments. They give from the top, as a percentage of their income and/or assets, rather than from the bottom. On this basis, they end up not only giving more but receiving more both in the satisfaction that comes from a job well done and in the connection that comes with people who share their values and appreciate their witness. This satisfaction and connection cannot be achieve in any other way. When we ask not what the world can do for us, but rather what we can do for the world, we complete our money management and financial intelligence in ways that can’t be beat.

These ten wealth pathways, when followed conscientiously over the course of a lifetime, have the ability to make for optimum financial well being just as our ten Wellness Pathways, when practiced, contribute to optimum physical well being. If you want to retain a LifeTrek Coach to learn how you can be more healthy, wealthy, and wise, just give us a call at 757-345-3452 or use our Contact For Coaching Form. We’d be happy to speak with you, and the first call is free of charge.

Coaching Inquiries: How many of these Top 10 Wealth Pathways do you follow? Is there one or more that represent a particular challenge or problem? What could you do in the next 30 days to make things better?

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum 
(selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


Good article on English being the culprit of ill health. I sure hope it isn’t what I eat and drink. I just need to learn another language.


WOW.  Thanks for sharing this provocative prophesy.  I’m talking about it with my financial planner.



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
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Provision #311: Explore Alternatives

Laser Provision

Robert Kiyosaki and other financial advisors predict that the biggest stock market crash in history is still to come. Want to know how to protect yourself? It’s not by having a diversified portfolio of paper assets. It’s by getting a financial education so you can do business and make investments that generate positive cash flow and build wealth. Read on to learn more.

LifeTrek Provision

Yesterday was a rainy day in eastern Virginia. In fact, seven of the past eight Saturdays have been rainy days in eastern Virginia. As have seven of the past eight Wednesdays along with many other days in between. And my how people have been complaining. You would think, after three consecutive years of drought conditions with strict water rationing in some parts of the state, that people would be overjoyed at the prospect of full reservoirs.

But people are people, and complaints about the negative impact on tourism, sports, leisure, yard work, and other outdoor activities are being expressed and heard with increasing frequency and intensity. “Enough all ready!” is the message that’s coming through loud and clear.

I, for one, used the day to stay home • after my morning run • and curl up with a good book. It was a delightful way to spend the day, that would not have seen me through all 286 pages of Robert Kiyosaki’s new book, Rich Dad’s Prophecy, were it not for the rain. So, “Thank you rain!” is all I can say. You won’t hear any complaints from me.

The prophecy has to do with the future of the stock market and even of the world as we know it. In reality, the book is not much of a prophecy since it’s not based upon divine inspiration. It’s rather based upon an assessment of current laws and demographics. Here’s the scenario:

In the year 2016, the first baby boomers in the USA will turn 70 and a half. They will, by law, have to begin systematic withdrawals from their 401(k) plans, IRAs, and other such retirement instruments. They will also need increasing amounts of cash to live on, for medical care alone if for no other reason.

When the baby boomers make a run for the money, where is that money going to come from? Who is going to buy the stock that they want to sell? Younger generations will have neither the cash nor the numbers to keep up with the demand. And this is the point, according to Kiyosaki, when we can expect the biggest stock market crash in history.

Before that time, perhaps all the way up to 2012, Kiyosaki believes we can expect one more stock market boom like we had in the 1990s. But after the next boom, Kiyosaki believes the bust could be so big as to bankrupt the USA and shift the balance of economic and world power in the direction of China (which is already taking over all of America’s manufacturing). Making comparisons to the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, Kiyosaki foresees the potential end of the American hegemony.

The point of Kiyosaki’s book is not, however, to paint a gloom and doom picture of the world. The world will go on, of that we can be certain. The question is whether we will go on with the world as victors or victims of the coming crisis. Kiyosaki wrote his book • the best one I’ve read yet in the Rich Dad, Poor Dad series • to coach people on how they can not only survive but thrive through the coming crisis. And he wrote it now, before the next and final stock market boom, giving people a timely fair warning as well as sound advice for coming out on top.

If all of your assets are still in the stock market ten years from now, Kiyosaki believes you will have waited too long. Perhaps that’s why one reader of recent LifeTrek Provisions sent in the following critical reply: “Have you looked at equity mutual fund returns during the last three years, five years and ten years? Your statement re: returns is pure bunk and irresponsible writing.”

In other words, we may already be at the point where it’s time to start looking into alternative investment strategies. In my defense, I specifically noted • or at least implied • that if you have less than ten years to work with before retirement, then you may want to do something else with your money than to plow it into mutual funds (which have averaged about 10% a year when you look at most, but not all, 10 year periods).

Take one large value fund in which I have been invested for almost 20 years. Its one year return is -9.91%. Its three year return is -2.78%. Its five year return is .38%. And its ten year return is 9.83%. So, to answer my reader’s reply, “Yes, I have looked at equity mutual fund returns during the last three years, five years and ten years. And if I look less than ten years, the return comes up short.”

Kiyosaki’s analysis introduces an entirely new wrinkle. If his analysis is correct, and it is certainly based on pretty solid ground which others do not dispute, then everyone of every age has no more than ten years to work with before mutual funds and the entire stock market takes a tumble from which it may not profitably recover before it’s too late for the vast majority of people.

So, Kiyosaki argues, we have to explore alternative investments now if we want to position ourselves to survive the coming crisis. What are those investments? He suggests that we start with a good financial education which, unfortunately, is not taught as a standard part of most academic curriculums. People graduate from high school and college knowing no more about how money works than when they went in, unless they go out of their way to do the work and teach themselves.

The investment in a good financial education will enable people in five years or less, Kiyosaki argues, to go from financial victims to financial victors. How? By starting with small deals and building up to large deals. Kiyosaki is particularly attracted to real estate investments and business opportunities. With the right financial education, Kiyosaki believes that just about anyone can get in and play these games, regardless of how much or how little cash they now have.

“Keep your day job and start a part-time business or invest in rental real estate,” seems to be his mantra for the future. Take that money you would have otherwise sunk into your 401(k) or your IRA and start building assets that generate positive cash flow independent of the market. That way, when the market crash comes, you will be in a position to survive it in style while others see their life savings go up in smoke like another Enron debacle.

Of course there’s no space here to go into the details of how start playing a bigger game. But day after day, more and more people figure this out. This morning at church I met a veterinarian who is starting her own veterinary hospital because, “I got tired of making someone else rich.” With a strong financial partner, this woman is ready to start a full-time business that sounds very much like a Kiyosaki scenario. When the stock markets crash, people will still be beating a path to the door of her hospital.

Kiyosaki sees rental real estate as working much the same way. For a very small amount of money, perhaps as little as five percent down, you can purchase rental properties that will both generate rental income and build an asset base for the future. Of course you have to pick the right properties in the right areas. That’s where the financial education and hard work comes into play. But as with veterinary care, people will still need a place to live after the market crashes. The only question now is, “To whom will they be paying their rent?”

The point of this Provision is no different than the point of Kiyosaki’s book. We need to get educated and explore alternatives if we want to secure our financial futures. It is not beyond anyone to take hold of the reigns and ride the horse. But unless you first learn how to ride, and unless you first gain experience with ponies (small deals), don’t be surprised if you get thrown off the horse (big deals) in rather short order.

The choice • like choosing to enjoy and celebrate a rainy day • is up to you. I, for one, choose to ride, which is why I founded LifeTrek back in 1998 and why I continue to seek ways to be involved with business opportunities that both express my values and give me a solid return. To learn more, or to explore these dynamics for yourself, don’t hesitate to Contact Us For Coaching.

Coach Question(s): Are you financially educated? Are you investing in business deals and real estate as well as in paper assets such as stocks and bonds? What choices are you making about this? What choices would you like to make?

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


When I was younger and began earning more money than I absolutely needed to live, I began giving a considerable portion of that excess to various charities. I did not track it well, until one point I realized I was paying my annual renewal every eight months or so. Now I simply save all the possible solicitations for donations (and once one starts giving, one can expect to be asked VERY frequently). Then in December I send all my checks for the year. It’s quick, efficient, manageable and a good tax strategy.


As I was reflecting over the past year on my run yesterday I thought about one of our last conversations together. I can honestly say, that while job transition is never easy, my outlook on life has changed in many ways. My career move has had such a positive effect on me and my wife that I could kick myself for no doing it sooner. Yes, I did give up a fair amount of money in lost 401(k) contributions, but I would pay any amount for what I have gained. It is truly a blessing to work at a place where your opinion counts, that is family oriented and not all about gaining the last dollar of work out of it’s employees! That does not mean I don’t work hard, I do, but people also understand that there does come a time when the work must rest for a period. Yes, I can say that I did give up a few things with the change but the price of my integrity and a good nights sleep is more than worth the price!!!


I just received this and thought it applied well to your recent discussions. This was written by Dr. Ismar Schorsch, chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary. “For the Rabbis, the biblical injunction ‘You shall be holy’ means to live apart. A degree of separation from the allurements that engulf us helps to focus the mind on matters of ultimate consequence. Thus we rest one day out of seven for the spiritual renewal that sustains us for the other six. Or we deny ourselves many of God’s creatures [eating no meat to commemorate the receipt of the Torah] to impress upon us the right of all animals to inhabit the planet. Nature surely does not exist solely to gratify human need or greed. Reverence for land and life is the attitude that the Torah seeks to engender within us. 

An everyday example of this world view that less is more is encapsulated in the rabbinic epigram that ‘the salt of wealth is its depletion.’ Counterintuitive, the proposition holds that the way to husband our wealth is not to amass ever more but to share some of it with the unfortunate. Doing well is doing good. And in return, the principal will continue to grow. I have yet to meet a philanthropist impoverished by giving.” 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452
Fax: 772-382-3258

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Correspondence: (Click)

Provision #310: Plan Your Giving

Laser Provision

Does your portfolio include a section for giving? If not, you may be missing an important part of both money management and life purpose. Without planned giving, most people do not give well. Some end up taking more than they give. Others end up giving without making an impact. Planned giving will avoid these eventualities and awaken your passion for life.

LifeTrek Provision

First, I want to call your attention to this week’s Reader’s Forum, Go There, where I include an extensive reply from a reader who worked hard to add value to last week’s Provision on Planned Savings. I appreciate this kind of in-depth Reader Feedback, and look forward to more such lively exchanges. Thanks.

Second, I want to begin this week’s Provision on planned giving with a quote from Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the French physician, philosopher, and humanitarian made famous by his work in Africa after a storied career as a student of science, music, and theology.

“I don’t know what your destiny will be,” Schweitzer observed to a group of graduates, “but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found ways to serve.”

In that vein, no discussion of optimal financial well-being or wealth would be complete if it did not include an in-depth discussion of giving. We are not in this world simply to do the best we can for ourselves. We are in this world to do the best we can for one and all.

What a huge shift this provokes in our relationship to what is often called our time, talent, and treasure. Instead of a narrow self-interested focus, we end up with a broad life-interested focus. Instead of concluding that we have barely enough to survive, we start postulating that we have more than enough to thrive. Instead of wondering what the world can do for us, we start exploring • to paraphrase President John F. Kennedy • what we can do for the world.

This shift, and its profound effects, is documented in last December’s issue of Worth magazine (Click). Worth magazine was founded in 1992 “to provide successful, affluent Americans with fresh insight and intelligence that will help them better manage, enjoy and share their wealth. The magazine reflects the strong belief that money is simply a means to an end: a richer, fuller, more meaningful life.”

From that vantage point, it’s understandable that Worth magazine would feature articles on money management and investment strategies as well as what they call “the softer side of money” such as “best-in-class vacations, connoisseurship, second homes, driving experiences, and personal style.”

It may surprise you, however, to learn that “the softer side of money,” as part of what Worth magazine calls “well-rounded wealth,” has also come to include “giving well” or “innovative benevolence.” It hasn’t, apparently, always included such perspective. It was only last October that Worth magazine started a monthly profile of one or more of America’s most innovative benefactors. And then in December they featured a cover article on the “25 Most Generous Young Americans,” all under the age of 46.

The opportunity, as the Editor-in-Chief notes in his opening remarks, is to recognize giving as an important part of money management and to encourage Americans to be even more generous than we are already. “What concerns me,” he writes, “is that Americans give away less than 2 percent of their annual household incomes. So consider this a clarion call to step up to the plate and give.”

Fortunately, the magazine’s 25 featured benefactors are not all rich and famous. In fact, if Worth magazine had simply been looking for those who gave the most money, the task, they note, “would have been easy. But generosity also means giving time, having compassion, and being willing to devote creative energy to endeavors that don’t bring personal fame or fortune.” So they attempt to feature those who gave well of their time, talent, and treasure • painting a clear picture that giving applies to one and all.

I like the fact that many of their top 25 were not necessarily featured because of the total dollar figure that they personally gave away, but because of their sustained commitment to giving over time combined with their significant impact in the world. The causes were as varied as the personalities, from health care to education to social justice, but in every instance there was the singular devotion of one passionate person.

What’s your passion? Are you expressing it fully in the world? If not, you may want to take advantage of Kate’s offer for some vocation coaching later this month (Go There). And you may discover that a deep understanding of your vocation will unearth some new personal and professional directions.

On occasion, the personal and professional coalesce in an amazing synergy of purposeful action. That is what I like about coaching. Every time I get off the phone with one of my clients, I know that I have given myself to the process of moving someone forward in their life and work. It is at once gratifying and stimulating.

More often than not, however, the personal and professional diverge in a kaleidoscope of colors and forms. What we do at work may not relate to our true passion, except that our various interests and pursuits are all being done by the same person. How we understand this kaleidoscope impacts our energy for life itself. Without understanding, the spirit withers and dies. With understanding, our actions grow like a snowball rolling downhill. We love life and come to make an enormous difference in the world.

One of the simplest techniques to become more involved with giving, is to plan it out. Plan how much money you are going to give away on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. Plan how much time you are going donate. Plan how to use your unique gifts and talents in order to add joy, justice, and generosity both to your life and to the lives of others.

All this planning requires that you first identify your core frameworks and proficiencies. In other words, how do you see the world and how do you want to plug in? Many find that their giving gets crystallized by some life-changing event or circumstance. Whenever I participate in the Race for the Cure, which raises money to fight breast cancer, I am struck by the pink shirts of those who are walking or running in memory of someone who has died from the disease. Sometimes it takes a trauma to generate a giver.

Others find that their values are enough to get them motivated and going. Still others find that it takes family, friends, or communities of interest such as religious organizations and self-help groups. One of the benefactors featured in Worth magazine was drawn into giving when his 8-year-old daughter asked what he did all day. Whatever it takes, the key is recognize that your money management is not all it’s meant to be without the inclusion of planned giving.

I know I, for one, review my portfolio of giving on a regular basis and encourage you to do the same. Whether it’s private giving to individual persons or public giving to charities, organizations, and causes, you can make a real difference in the world when you become more of giver than a taker.

Coaching Inquiries: What does your portfolio of giving look like? Do you give regularly as a reflection of your values or do you give only as need and opportunity arise? What could you do to enhance your giving? How might life be better if you were more of a giver?

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


I enjoy your newsletter, but, I think your financial advice needs some tuning. My particular expertise is in Information Technology in the Financial Industry for 35 years. During that time, some stuff (i.e., data, information, knowledge, and perhaps some wisdom) has slipped in. It’s only because I value your contribution that I am taking the time out to share some of my thinking.

Credit Card Debt: In my opportunities to work with people, I usually counsel the establishment of the emergency fund first • even before they set about to eliminate their credit card debt. It may seem counter-productive at first, but, the emergency fund can provide a safety net to prevent further disasters.

Car Loans: Car loans can come from two different sources: credit unions and everyone else. Car loan payments from non-credit union sources use the infamous rule of 78. Interest is front-loaded. No matter when you pay off the loan, you’ve paid the interest. Credit Unions use a much fairer way of deciding when interest has to be paid. Credit Unions now have loosened restrictions about who can join and don’t get enough recommending.

Home Loans: Long-term debt, such as for a primary residence, is not necessarily bad. In our lives, there are ebbs and flows, in terms of credit and savings. Debt is a tool. Then you have to take into account taxes. Taxes are mitigated by deductions. Home mortgage interest • in addition to being at the lowest level in 40+ years • is subsidized to some extent by the Federal Tax code. Right now, it seems silly to sign up for 15, 20, or 30 years debt that has an effective rate of about 4%. But, in a year or two, when interest rates regress to the mean, we can expect 8% or more. This may make a home unreachable for someone who is “In the green” now (Can afford it) but “in the red” (Unaffordable) at those levels. Now may be a good time to take on long-term debt.

Savings’ Buckets: I suggest dividing investments into Cash Reserves / Savings (Things that Pay Interest.) and Investment (Things that Accumulate.) Be sure to mention I-bonds when it comes to saving for retirement! The hidden jewel that no one seems to know about. I-bonds are like E-bonds but they pay interest in two components: a base interest rate and an inflation protector. Treasury Direct explains them better than I can. They have to be held for at least one year and there are penalties if cashed in before five years. Like E-bonds, the interest is tax deferred until they are cashed. And they pay interest for 30 years. It’s sweet. Buy at your local bank or via Treasury Direct.


Thanks for today’s issue. I love your reliability. I’ve often been reflecting on much of what You so generously share with us. My friends, colleagues and clients are so appreciative, too! You are a remarkable Person! In deep Appreciation, and hoping to achieve one-tenth of what you are modeling for the rest of us. 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452
Fax: 772-382-3258

Subscribe/Unsubscribe: (Click)
Correspondence: (Click)

Provision #309: Plan Your Savings

Laser Provision

If you want to be better off tomorrow, then you have to start saving today, and every day, for the rest of your life. To develop the savings habit, it’s helpful to think in terms of three buckets: cash reserves, investments, and retirement accounts. When you learn how to work these three tools, optimal financial well-being will be within your grasp.

LifeTrek Provision

Query: What’s the difference between “saving time” and “killing time”? Answer: Not much. It’s all a matter of perspective.

This past Thursday I was in Atlanta, Georgia to give a speech to the Columbian Chemicals Company as part of their weeklong HealthWorks program. My topic, “From Goals to Goosebumps,” was designed to move people from the “should-a, would-a, could-a” thinking of goals to the titillating world of possibility thinking and passionate living. The event generated about 30 new subscribers to Provisions as well as several inquiries for personal LifeTrek Coaching. Welcome!

My return home was marked by a voluntary 5-hour delay, due to an oversold airplane, which netted me a complimentary roundtrip travel voucher. Instead of racing home to get back to work, I unexpectedly found myself with 5 hours on my hands “to save” or “to kill”.

Which would it be? The choice was up to me. I decided to “save time” rather than to “kill time.” “Saving time” means to use time efficiently. “Killing time” means to waste time. And time is one thing none of us can afford to waste.

In my case, I used those 5 hours to enjoy a leisurely dinner, to read an inspiring book (The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund & Benjamin Zander), and to coach some friends through the process of getting ready for marriage. It was a most delightful time, which all took place on the C Concourse of the Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport. Who would have guessed.

That’s what happens when we start saving rather than wasting. Whether it’s time, money, or anything else, using our resources efficiently generates great satisfaction and rewards. Had I been “killing time” in the airport, my 5 hours might not have looked very different. I still might have eaten, read, and talked on the phone. But my awareness of how I was “saving time” enabled me to do those things well • generating a great return on investment.

This is the approach I recommend taking when it comes to “saving money.” Mindfully building up your financial reserves can generate more satisfaction and rewards than the purchase of any consumer good. It may not, at first glance, have the same appeal as the latest and greatest commodity, but the freedom it generates as those reserves begin to grow through the miracle of compound interest is beyond compare.

Of course, our ability to plan our savings is contingent upon our mastering last week’s matter of planning our disbursements. Until we get our disbursements under control, until we start making more than we spend, there’s no way to plan our savings. Instead, we will find ourselves going in the wrong direction with an ever-increasing load of debt.

And debt is certainly a load. All debt is structured in favor of the creditor, not the debtor. That’s why you will typically pay more in interest for a home, than you paid for the home itself. Car loans and credit card debt work much the same way. The interest gets paid first, and then the principal.

The first step to planned savings, then, is to develop a plan for getting out of debt as soon as possible. If this requires you to cut up your credit cards, then so be it. Many people have switched to debit cards for just this reason. If the money’s not there, then you can’t spend it.

To pay off your credit card, you will want to work on the card with the highest interest first. Pay the minimum on all the rest, and putting everything you can against the first card until you pay it off. Then move on to the other cards, continually adding to how much you pay every month, until all the cars are paid up and accounted for.

A better strategy may be to cut up your cards, if need be, and pay them all off through a home equity loan or a debt consolidation loan. Home equity loans have the advantage of tax-deductible interest, in addition to a much lower rate than most credit cards.

Once you get out of credit card debt, you will want to develop a plan to pay off your home mortgage and car loans as quickly as possible. There are many ways to accelerate these loan schedules. One extra home mortgage payment a year can usually knock about 6 years off the life of a 30-year mortgage. No matter what the size of your loan, we’re talking big savings and big money here.

These strategies to get out of debt are part of a comprehensive savings plan. Once you have structured things so that your receipts consistently exceed your disbursements, it becomes possible to get out of debt and build equity all at the same time. And once that snowball starts rolling down the hill, it really picks up steam as time goes on.

It may be helpful to consider three kinds of savings buckets, and how they interrelate. One bucket is cash, the second bucket is investments, and the third bucket is retirement. Unless we have a plan covering all three buckets, we don’t have a comprehensive plan that can effectively carry us all the way through to the grave.

Cash. How much cash do you have right now? How much cash do you need? I believe that we need cash reserves sufficient for at least three and ideally six months of living expenses. Such reserves enable us to weather the storms of life, which come to one and all. Cash is any money that you can get your hands on in a matter of days, without suffering any loss of principal. This includes real cash as well as funds on deposit in instruments such as checking, savings, and money market accounts.

Right now these cash instruments are paying very low interest rates, but not to worry. The point of cash is not to grow as an investment. The point of cash is to provide the reserves that give you the freedom and the courage to dream dreams and to make them come true. With sufficient cash reserves, you are not a slave to work. Instead, you become it’s master with a low tolerance level for unhealthy environments.

If you do not have sufficient or even any cash reserves, then it’s time to enter in upon a disciplined savings plan. It’s really not that difficult. Just decide how much you can set aside each week and do it before you do anything else. Pay yourself first, in other words. If possible, set it up as an automatic deposit into a savings or money market account through your employer. That way you won’t even have to think about it or do anything in order for it to be done.

In addition, at the end of every month, put any extra cash that you can afford as well as any gifts into the same savings or money market account. This practice can really help your reserves to grow quickly. Many people find they can accumulate three months of living expenses in three years or less.

Investments. Once you accumulate these cash reserves, it becomes possible to play with longer-term investments that have the potential to generate a larger return as long as you are willing to accept a larger risk. With the downturn in the stock market, many people have felt comfortable, for example, investing in bond funds or real estate investment trusts. It’s always possible, of course, that you could lose your money here, but the risk is small and the return can easily be above 6% or even 10%.

In order to play this game, it’s easiest to keep adding to your cash reserves on a monthly basis and then drawing down money for investment as opportunity arises. Many investments require a minimum that most people will never achieve on a month-to-month basis. But after several years of accumulating cash reserves, you will have sufficient funds upon which to draw.

Retirement. The retirement bucket is a specialized form of investment that is usually very long term and highly regulated. Since retirement earnings, at least in the United States, are not taxed until they are drawn down after retirement, there are severe restrictions and penalties for early withdrawal. Many traditional pension programs do not even permit early withdrawal except for certain special, emergency circumstances. IRAs and 401(k) plans may permit withdrawal but you will suffer a 10% early withdrawal penalty in addition to having to pay taxes on the withdrawal.

In other words, don’t do it! This investment needs to be used as directed: for retirement. If you work for an employer with established retirement savings programs, especially if there are any matching programs, then you will want to take full advantage of these programs, even before you have built up your three months of cash reserves. If you’re doing this on your own, then be sure to balance the need for cash reserves with the need for retirement savings.

It’s a good idea to get in the habit of adding to both your cash reserves and to your retirement savings on a monthly basis. Since retirement savings are usually quite long term, unless you are 55 or over, you may feel comfortable investing in equity funds or other more risky instruments. If you don’t want to take the time to learn how to do this yourself, then mutual funds are a good way to earn an average of 10% a year with a diversified portfolio. That has been their history and, most people expect, their future.

Retirement savings are where we see the miracle of compound interest really coming into play. With enough time, even small amounts of money can grow into large amounts. When people start in their 20s, it doesn’t take much at 10% interest to become a millionaire by the time you’re 65. But the big dollars don’t appear in the equation until the final 5 to 10 years.

The key is to get into a savings habit for all three buckets. Those who get used to saving 10% a month at an early age can count on optimum financial well-being or wealth developing over the years. If you can’t manage 10%, then start at a lower percentage and work yourself up to 10% as quickly as possible. Don’t let anything distract you from this important discipline. If you don’t do it for yourself, no one else will.

And don’t ever think that you’re too old to get started. You may not have 40 years to work with. You may only have 30, 20, or 10 years to retirement. But whenever you get into the habit of planned savings, you will end up better off down the road than you are today. And that’s something worth feeling good about.

Coaching Inquiries: Do you have a habit of planned savings? Do you know how much you have set aside in cash reserves, investments, and retirement accounts? What steps could you take today that would make things better tomorrow?

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


I write articles from time to time that may be of interest to your readers. Please let me know if this is the kind of article you are interested in receiving. (Ed. Note: We do not typically print outside material, but we do on rare occasion, so submission are always welcome.


Thank you for all the great information you continue to send on a weekly basis. You are such a blessing, giving practical advice and hope, in a world where there is so much confusion and disillusion.  



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452
Fax: 772-382-3258

Subscribe/Unsubscribe: (Click)
Correspondence: (Click)

Provision #308: Plan Your Disbursements

Laser Provision

A financial plan pays attention to receipts, disbursements, savings, and giving. Of the four, disbursements may be the hardest to control, seeing as how something always comes up and we live under the pressure of a consumer society. But once you become aware of your spending habits, it’s possible to develop a plan for financial success. It all starts with writing things down.

LifeTrek Provision

This past week I had the opportunity to travel to San Francisco to speak at the Future of Coaching Conference sponsored by CoachVille. It was a delightful opportunity to share with and learn from many people around the world. About 100 of the participants asked to be added to the distribution list for LifeTrek Provisions. We welcome you to our growing family of subscribers and we look forward to sharing and coaching with you as time goes on.

In many ways I owe the readers of LifeTrek Provisions a debt of gratitude for the invitation to speak in San Francisco. If it weren’t for our vibrant coaching community of 37,000 readers, I would not have been on that stage with other successful leaders in the coaching movement. People want to know our “secret.”

How do we have so many readers, for such a long email newsletter, in a world that suffers from email overload? How do we use handheld devices to deliver content and stay in touch with both readers and clients? How do we get people to reply and use our forms every week, creating an ongoing coaching conversation with many concurrent threads? How do we organize our work as a coaching company, with six staff people?

People are looking to learn from our experience, which I marvel at and barely understand myself. All I know is that every week we write about the things that are going on with us, the things we are learning and thinking about, the things we are reading and working on with our clients, and the things we find surprising and delightful about life.

Those things have apparently generated enough interest to build LifeTrek Coaching International into what it is today, and what it will become tomorrow. You are part of the buzz, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Last week I wrote about the importance of planning your financial receipts, by way of analogy to nutritional receipts. At least one reader found that to be a curious use of the word “receipts,” which he was more accustomed to thinking about as things he saved for his tax accountant. Another reader found it fascinating that I would write about “planning our receipts,” as though we control the way money comes into our lives.

Well, that was precisely my point. The money that comes our way is not an accident. With an understanding of how money works, we can create and follow a plan that makes money work for us. And the first understanding of how money works, let’s call it Accounting 101, is that not all receipts are income and not all disbursements are expenses.

Here’s a classic example. Recently I met with the branch manager at my local bank to discuss various investment vehicles available for their account holders. Along the way, I mentioned that we planned to make a significant capital improvement to our home this year which she immediately assumed would be funded through our home equity line of credit.

As that assumption became obvious, I stopped her to say that we planned to pay cash and that our long-range plan was to pay off our home mortgage in less than 15 years • so we certainly didn’t want to increase our total indebtedness by taking out a home equity loan. She looked a bit surprised, as though getting out of debt was a novel idea seldom discussed in a banker’s office.

Now I can understand why getting out of debt is something bankers don’t want to talk about. Loaning money is their business! When a bank loans you money, their disbursement becomes your receipt but it doesn’t become your asset. It’s still their money, as evidenced by all the paper work you have to sign and how they position that loan on their balance sheet. You may see the money in your bank account, or in a capital improvement, but it’s not income and it doesn’t belong to you. It’s a debt that will end up costing you a premium as you pay it back plus interest over time.

That’s all part of what I meant last week when I said we need to plan our receipts. We need to plan the money we expect to earn, borrow, inherit, or otherwise receive. Until we do that, there’s no way to know what we have to work with in order to achieve optimal financial well-being.

Once we do that, just about anyone can end up significantly better off over time. David Bach’s excellent book, Smart Couples Finish Rich, gives illustration after illustration of how planning your receipts, disbursements, savings, and giving pays off over the long run. Saving a little bit of money on a regular basis now can turn into a lot of money in decades to come. And the more time you have to work with, the more your little bit of money can grow into something truly substantial.

Perhaps that’s why one reader noted a few weeks ago that saving money doesn’t make sense if Jesus was raised from the dead. In other words, if death is not the end of life then planning to save money in this life may be rather shortsighted. What are we saving it for?

Each of us has to answer that question for ourselves. In our case it has something to do with the quality of life we seek to enjoy and bequeath to our descendants along with the good we can do in the world. We may not be able to take the money with us, and we may have to live with ourselves for the rest of eternity, but we see no conflict between our values and our money. Being responsible about both is the only way to go.

On my way to San Francisco I struck up a conversation with a 15-year old boy who was one tough cookie. He had gotten into a fistfight with his stepfather, which led him to live with his uncle for the past two months before returning, now, to try again to make things work at home. We talked a lot about his life and how we wanted things to go.

We also talked about my work as a business and life coach. He had never heard of coaching, apart from athletics, so I talked about how coaches assist people to reach their goals and how I generally worked with successful people who wanted to be even more successful. “In other words,” he replied without delay, “you help people to be greedy.”

Out of the mouths of babes! If I thought for a minute that my coaching was helping people to be greedy, I would have two problems on my hands. First, it would conflict with my values. Second, it would backfire. When you set out to die with the most toys, when you make greed rather than service your goal, when your focus is on how much you get rather than on how well you live and give, then you can easily get in trouble on the disbursement side of the equation.

In other words, an insatiable desire for more and more can make us spend and consume too much. Instead of waiting until the time is right, we can overextend and ruin ourselves in very short order. But there’s no way to know when to wait and when to buy until we plan our disbursements, all the way down to the small stuff. Without a plan we will ride the bumpy road of impulse and estimation, suffering more than a few blowouts along the way.

David Bach’s suggestion for those who want to get serious about planning their disbursements is to track your disbursements for a week. Write down the who, what, when, where, and why of your day-to-day spending. Write it down concurrently, not as an estimate at the end of the day but on a pad of paper or in your personal information manager as you go along.

This simple exercise is often eye opening. When I have clients who want to lose weight, we sometimes include a similar exercise at the outset of our coaching. They write down the who, what, when, where, and why of their day-to-day eating and drinking. I often have them include a map of their house, indicating where in their home they ate or drank every meal (M) or snack (S) during the week. They track everything except water.

Guess what? The simple act of writing things down raises awareness and build motivation. Without any coaching from me, people suddenly start making better decisions. And so it is when it comes to planning our disbursements. By writing down what we spend, on what, and where we spend it, we become aware not only of where our money goes but also of the triggers that make it go. And as we become more aware of our disbursement patterns, change becomes not only possible but inevitable.

If you haven’t ever done this exercise, or if you haven’t done it in a while, then I recommend it highly. Track your spending for one week • all the way down to the pack of gum that you think doesn’t even count. For this exercise, every disbursement counts since they constitute what might be called your disbursement profile. Even if you have done this exercise at some point in the past, even if you’re not having money problems and think you’re on top of the world, this simple exercise can assist you to move from understanding your disbursement profile to reshaping your financial plan.

Coaching Inquiries: Where does your money go? Do you control your spending or does your spending control you? How would it feel to have and achieve a great financial plan?

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


Bob, thought you’d be interested in this article regarding Adam Smith, a seminal 18th century economist, as it applies to your own work on Wealth and Health. Click Here.


Nice AvantGo site. Keep up the good work. Thanks. Top



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452
Fax: 772-382-3258

Subscribe/Unsubscribe: (Click)
Correspondence: (Click)

Provision #307: Plan Your Receipts

Laser Provision

Financial planning starts with knowing where your money comes from and how much you have to work with. A full-disclosure audit of your financial receipts can position you for everything from salary negotiations to additional education to business ventures to investment opportunities. But if you don’t know where you stand you’ll never know what to try next.

LifeTrek Provision

Before we get into the heart of this week’s Provision, I want to highlight the addition of Lonny Hogan to our staff and report on my experience last week at the Pittsburgh marathon • which will segue nicely into our discussion of planned receipts.

Lonny obtained an undergraduate degree in Speech Communication as well as specialized training in public speaking and information technology from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. Lonny is based in the Chicago, Illinois area, where he splits his time as an entrepreneur in the real estate appraisal industry and in peak-performance coaching. His coach training comes through Franklin Covey Coaching and CoachVille. Lonny enjoys public speaking and has ten years of experience in working with personal-development and peak-performance training programs.

We brought Lonny onto the LifeTrek Coaching staff in order to help us expand our offerings in the marketplace through the generation of strategic partnerships and organizational alliances. Most of our current clients are private individuals who work 1-on-1 with a trained LifeTrek coach. Although we enjoy and will never abandon this work, we aim to develop more corporate and organizational contracts that will take advantage of our diverse interests, trainings, backgrounds, and abilities. To that end, we invite you to contact Lonny at (847) 489-5132 or by Email. To see Lonny’s picture and read a brief bio, along with the pictures and bios of the entire LifeTrek Coaching staff, you may visit us on the Web Click.

My experience at the Pittsburgh marathon was, judging from the calls and email replies to last week’s Provision, a matter of considerable interest. Inquiring minds want to know how things turned out. You may remember that I was running to support and pace a client who had trained to finish in about four hours. The last sixteen miles of this marathon included significant hills, which perhaps contributed to my client’s having to contend with a side stitch that came and went • to the point of forcing her more than once during the last ten miles to slow down and breathe deep.

Her affliction notwithstanding, my client held it together and did great all the way through to the end. I have paced people who totally lost their bearings, cadence, and rhythm in the second half of a marathon. That never happened here. Instead, we kept watching the miles fly by with appreciative delight through mile 22. After that, things slowed down a bit and we finished in four hours and three minutes • close enough to call it a keeper. We both had every reason to feel successful and fulfilled by a job well done.

The job, of course, had already been done by the time we met at the starting line. 18 weeks of training could not be taken away in four hours, on one particular day, regardless of the outcome. If one of us had had to pull out due to sickness or injury, there would have been disappointment but not failure.

Some people train to race. And if the race doesn’t work out, they are devastated. But throughout our training, we turned the tables on that competitive maxim. Instead of training to race, we raced to train. By having an event on the calendar, we created the reason and the context for 18 weeks of getting up early and experiencing the best life has to offer. By putting our bodies through the discipline of a rigorous training schedule, we grew in physical as well as mental and spiritual fitness. Our great finish time was simply icing on the cake.

One aspect of marathon training that many people fail to recognize is the input side of the equation. Where does all that energy come from, to run 26.2 miles or 42.16 kilometers? It’s not just about building up your endurance, muscle strength, and flexibility. It’s also about learning how to fuel your body for maximum energy and efficiency during long runs.

To this end, marathon training includes a disciplined schedule of eating and drinking before, during, and after every endurance exercise. There’s both science and luck to figuring out what works best for any particular runner. The science part comes from two kinds of research: laboratory research and self experimentation. Laboratory research is the stuff that sells magazines and books. We can read about the latest nutritional findings in our quest to find the perfect match between our body’s needs and our intake of foods, liquids, and supplements.

Self experimentation is the stuff that makes the lab research come alive, as we discover our own unique nutritional requirements. One person may require a slightly different mix of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins while another may require special supplementation to overcome deficiencies or optimize performance. There’s just no way to know until we get on with the business of figuring out and writing down what works best for us. And, of course, on occasion we get lucky • stumbling onto something that both tastes good and improves our endurance during long runs.

All this has direct relevance for those who would seek to develop optimal financial well-being or wealth. Just as people need to discover the nutritional receipts that contribute to optimal athletic performance, so do we need to discover the financial receipts that contribute to optimal life performance.

It’s not as simple as saying, “Give me all the money I can get.” Just as athletes can consume the wrong quantity and quality of nutrition, making things worse rather than better, so can we have money problems in much the same way. By not knowing and not caring about our receipts, it’s easy to run out of gas before the race is over.

Perhaps that’s why the average American household retires with more debt than savings. With an unknown or inadequate plan as to what’s coming in, it’s easy to spend more than we make and to save very little at all. Optimal financial well-being starts with active self experimentation on the receipt side of the equation.

Start by writing down the source and amount of what’s coming in now: paychecks, benefits, interest, dividends, revenues, gifts, and other financial receipts. This compares to keeping a journal of what and where you’re eating. Until we know that, there’s no way to design and conduct appropriate nutritional experiments. “More of this” and “less of that” are relative terms which assume we know what “this” and “that” currently look like.

So too when it comes to the receipt side of our financial plan. Until we know what comes in, from all sources, on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis, there’s no way to answer such basic questions as, “Am I making enough?”, “Is my compensation competitive?”, and “Can I do better?” Whether you’re a low-paid hourly employee or a high-paid self-employed professional, the answers to these and other questions begin with a full-disclosure audit of our financial receipts.

Recently, for example, I was talking with someone who wanted to negotiate a salary increase. I asked this person how much they were making, and they quickly came up with an annual figure. I was encouraged. Did that include benefits, bonuses, expense accounts, retirement plans, as well as any other tips, perks, and amenities? Well, not exactly. And did they know the total value of these extras? Well, not exactly. And did they know how their compensation compared to others in the field? Well, not exactly.

It quickly became apparent that this was no basis upon which to negotiate a salary increase. Or decrease. I know more than one person who was happy to exchange less money for more time. They stayed in the same position but went to four days a week in order to have more free time and to experiment with other sources of revenue. This was made possible, however, only after they had a good handle on the receipt side of their financial plan.

Knowing how your money comes in is the starting point to any financial plan. A diversified portfolio will often include receipts from all four of Kiyosaki’s quadrants: employee, self-employment, business owner, and investment income. It may also include receipts from insurance policies, trust funds, gifts, and other sources. Once you know where your money is coming from, and how much is coming from each source, it becomes possible to experiment adroitly with new strategies and ventures.

I have had several clients, for example, who decided to add a network marketing company into their receipt portfolio after discovering that they had no business owner income and after deciding that such ventures were relatively low-risk, high-return propositions. One of my running buddies is opening a retail franchise that costs between $80,000 and $120,000 to get started. Network marketing takes a much smaller initial investment, typically under $5,000, but offers much the same prospect of success for those who diligently work the system.

The point here is not to promote any one particular course of action. On the contrary, it’s to recognize that although many roads lead to optimal financial well-being, or wealth, they all start and get sustained by knowing and planning our financial receipts. As with marathon running, “lab research” reveals much about the road to wealth. But just as certainly, it’s important to conduct your own experiments in order to discover what works for you, what you enjoy, and what makes for your own authentic relationship to money.

Coaching Inquiries: Do you know where your money is coming from and how much you have to work with this year? How do you value your money, time, and energy? What experiments would you like to try to make things better?

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


I just wanted to say hello and thank you for continuing to be a very big motivating factor in my life. You are a wonderful influence, through your coaching and through LifeTrek Provisions. The “Follow a Plan” Provision was very interestingly (cosmically?) timed with respect to the ‘challenge’ I have recently/once again encountered. Thank you again and please keep up the awesome ‘work’!


As someone who once took her own trek to Africa, financial concerns and disbursements aside, I can’t recommend highly enough to anyone considering a trip, to go. And I am full of recommendations about what not to miss. Hearing that Megan may go there gave me goose bumps.


I’m new to LifeTrek and, thus, this comment may be ill-advised. I really enjoy the information in the email newsletter that is sent out. However, I often find it hard to get through. As a person who averages around 80-100 emails a day, 85% of which require responses, I really appreciate bullets and summaries. If at all possible, it would be GREAT! to get bulleted and/or summarized articles outlining all those helpful hints. Then, if I require explanation or desire more info. I can go to the article and get it. (Ed. Note: Our hope is that the Laser Provision and In This Issue table of contents provides some of this benefit. Will consider your request for more.)


I have been getting your newsletter for a few months I always enjoy it. I am a holistic health and nutritional counselor. I would love to have the ability to write an article or column about health and/or nutritional related topics. (Ed. Note: On rare occasion we do publish guest articles and we would welcome your submission for consideration.)


Do you have any coaching for athletes? (Ed. Note: Primarily running, weight loss, and wellness coaching.)




May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452
Fax: 772-382-3258

Subscribe/Unsubscribe: (Click)
Correspondence: (Click)

Provision #306: Follow a Plan

Laser Provision

How do you accomplish a goal? How do you enjoy yourself along the way? How do you deal with the inevitable surprises and opportunities? By following a good plan. Whether it’s running a marathon or achieving optimal financial well-being, few of us will ever get from here to there without following a plan.

LifeTrek Provision

As some of you read this, I will be running the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania marathon with one of my clients. I met her last fall at the Baltimore, Maryland marathon, where she signed up for my 4 hour and 30 minute pace group. At the 20-mile mark, I told everyone to go ahead and run their hearts out for the final 10 kilometers or 6.2 miles. My client, who was not my client at the time, was strong enough to pick up the pace and finish in 4 hours, 25 minutes, and 28 seconds. Not bad for her first marathon!

During the race I told the people in my pace group about LifeTrek Coaching along with how to find us on the World Wide Web. I even had the URL imprinted on the back of my shirt. Soon after the race I received a thank you note, from my future client, which included the following remarks:

“I’ve never been a runner. I’ve never run a race before. I’m not really sure where the whole marathon goal started for me, but it became a goal that was, for the first time in my life, independent of my weight and everything else in my life. It was the goal. It didn’t matter if I didn’t have a perfect day or week…I still did my training runs. Unique concept • training. You don’t have to be perfect when you train. Wow!”

In my response, I asked about her post-marathon plans and she wrote:

“My main idea is to keep at it. This in and of itself would be a huge success for me. I don’t want to get goofy about stuff, because when I get too out of balance with anything…well, the back lash can be debilitating to say the least. I want to try and have fun, feel good, and challenge myself. I want to keep training because it helps me to balance my personal, family and work life. And that’s a good thing.”

That was the last I heard from her until two months later, when the idea to “keep at it” was proving to be increasingly elusive. For one thing, we were headed into the winter months with frequent inclement weather. For another thing, there was no goal and no plan to accomplish a goal. So running • as well as that all-important life balance • was starting to suffer. Would I be willing coach her to another marathon finish, perhaps even stronger this time than the last? And could we also tackle a number of other areas of interest, especially the family-owned business?

The answer was an immediate, “Yes!” There’s nothing I like better than to find ways to connect with my clients in person, outside of our regular coaching telephone calls, and connecting with them to run a marathon merges many of my personal and professional interests.

It wasn’t long before we picked Sunday, May 4, 2003 to run the Pittsburgh marathon. Our goal? To finish the race and have fun. Our stretch goal? To finish the race in 4 hours or less and have fun. Our plan to reach that goal? A proven training program that I have developed, tested, tweaked, and used with great results in many marathons over the past five years.

As with any marathon training program, my program specifies what and how to run five or six days a week, for the 18 weeks prior to a marathon. My plan also includes instructions for cross training, weight lifting, and stretching, as well as rest and recovery. From day to day, after you plug in your desired marathon finish time, you just follow the plan and reap the rewards.

When it comes to achieving optimal financial well-being, the approach is really no different. First, you set your financial goals as to receipts, disbursements, savings, and giving. Then you back off those goals, based upon the time you have to work with, in order to create and follow a plan that will get you where you want to go. If you don’t have the inspiration and information to create this plan all on your own, then work with a financial advisor or coach who can assist you to get and stay on track.

With the right plan, it should be no more complicated than following a marathon training program. From week to week and day to day, you simply review the plan and do what it says. By keeping a record of your experiences, including your actions as well as your feelings, you can optimize your performance and minimize your mistakes. You can even recover from unexpected problems and capitalize on unforeseen opportunities.

Recently my wife was invited to join an Education Administration Delegation to South Africa through the People To People Ambassador Programs founded in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Although it is quite an honor to be invited, the honor comes with quite a price tag. So we immediately began discussing whether or not she could afford to capitalize on this opportunity at this time.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a financial plan in place that would enable us to quickly and easily answer this important question. How would this major disbursement impact our savings and giving for the year? Inquiring minds want to know. In the absence of a financial plan, we’re left to make decisions on the basis of estimates and emotion. Those bases can sometimes produce decisions that work out just fine; but more often than not these bases get us to spend money we don’t have at the expense of other important financial goals.

Not having and following a financial plan is like training for a marathon without having and following a schedule. In the absence of a plan, we wake up in the morning and go for a run, or not, based on our feelings and available time. Sometimes we probably do OK on these bases. But more often than not, we end up running too far, too little, too hard, or too easy in order to move forward our fitness and training level as quickly and as steadily as possible.

Estimates and emotion can also occasion significant personal and relational problems. Money, and communication about money, are often cited as top contributors to marital discord and divorce. In the absence of a mutually agreed upon plan, each person makes his or her own assumption as to what is or is not affordable. When this happens, it’s easy for two people to come to two totally different conclusions about the best course of action, with plenty of hard feelings along the way.

When a plan is developed and agreed upon together, well in advance of the surprises that inevitably come our way, everyone is better able to reach agreement and move forward together. That’s why I like to preprogram a treadmill for my harder workouts. It’s easier to put the plan into the treadmill than to put the treadmill into the plan. Half way through, when I’m feeling tired, is no time to ask whether I want to kick it up a notch.

Fortunately, my wife and I have the time to get a plan in place before we need to make a decision on this trip. So we’re not among those headed for discord and divorce! But we could have already made a decision, more quickly and easily, if we already had a plan on paper. Plans give us the information we need to be successful, and to respond without delay, even if they do have to be revisited and modified from time to time.

Over the next four weeks, I will use Provisions to consider the fundamentals of planned receipts, disbursements, savings, and giving. Once these fundamentals are in place, optimal financial well-being or wealth is no more complicated than working the plan.

Coaching Inquiries: What are your financial goals? Are you following a plan? Who could you talk with to develop or improve your plan?

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


Thank you for sharing your poems in the Provision that came out on Easter. They were timely for current reality and for such a special day. Easter and especially the preceding Holy Week have become monumentally profound and soulfully moving for me in the past few years. And like no other time during the year, where I am and what I am doing during that time is especially important. This year I spent early Easter morning at a sunrise service on the rim of the Grand Canyon. I can’t explain the joy I felt nor how deeply moved I was to be so fortunate to celebrate in that way. It made me wonder how many people truly share those feelings. Your Awakening poem captured a lot of that for me.


I want to acknowledge you for your expression of feelings through your poetry. Such wonder when we let it flow and thank you for sharing a deeper part of yourself with me and the world. I so look forward to receiving your email newsletters. You are enlightening the world with your love and coaching. Thank you.


One reverse observation: From reading von Mises, an Austrian economist who died in 1973, I have concluded that we receive dollars for providing goods and services to people by free trade. Be of more service, get more dollars. If you really make good things happen, you will have lots of people’s dollars. So wealth is the result of doing good for others. It’s the reverse of our society’s usual thinking.


I was surprised and disappointed to detect a tone of smugness in your recent quip, “What more could a person want?” I’m sure you want at least a little peace, justice, hope for those without hope, faithfulness, and a little more honoring of God in addition to your own personal good fortune. (Ed. Note. Indeed I do. Thanks for the reminder to think globally.)


Your Provision on “Hardly Working” is one of my favorites to date! What you said is one of my important messages to self and clients. Good job!


I am wondering if you can advise or recommend any planning/personal management system? There are so many options available and methodologies. I am torn between all the electronic tools and their functionality as opposed to the traditional types of planners available from organizations who provide training in their use such as Franklin Covey, Day Timer etc. (Ed. Note: I use Outlook integrated with my Palm Pilot. I tried Franklin Planner for Microsoft Outlook, but it took too long to synchronize. There’s no going back, for me, to the days of paper and pen.)  




May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452
Fax: 772-382-3258

Subscribe/Unsubscribe: (Click)
Correspondence: (Click)

Provision #305: Hardly Working

Laser Provision

Are you working hard or hardly working? The difference is not how much energy you expend during the course of a day. The difference is how you feel about the energy you expend. When you love who you are and what you do, when you give more than you take out of the world, then life is good and money follows.

LifeTrek Provision

After last week’s poetic sortie into the rarified air of love as the driver behind all things good, including health, wealth, and wisdom, some of you may be wondering if and when we are ever going to get to the nuts and bolts of optimal financial well-being. “Enough philosophy!” I can almost hear you saying in reply. “It’s time to show me the money!”

Unfortunately there’s no quick way to get either wealthy or healthy. But in the age of instant gratification, we think there ought to be. We think there ought to be a pill or a procedure that can reverse years of neglect and continuing license. We think there ought to be a lottery ticket, television jackpot, or hot tip that finally breaks our way.

Isn’t that the promise of modern medicine? We can eat poorly and never find time to exercise but still live longer, healthier lives. And wasn’t that the promise of the information economy? Anyone could double their money, especially in the tech sector, in eighteen months or less. So why not buy on margin and make a killing!

The problem, of course, is that we live in a reality show rather than a fairy tale. There is no “happily ever after” here, save for those who understand and practice the core principles of healthy, wealthy, and wise. In the glamour days of the dot-com boom, many looked at their rapidly growing portfolios as the ticket to live large and spend, spend, spend. Now, some of those same people are declaring bankruptcy and folding up shop.

That’s why I started this discussion of wealth, more than a month ago, on the attitude adjustment required for wealth to build over the long haul. It’s really nothing new. It’s just being newly rediscovered. By working hard, living within our means, minimizing debt, and implementing a disciplined savings program, just about anyone can end up better off than they started.

Funny how that works. Recently an aspiring coach asked me to describe my work week. I talked about rising early, normally between 5 and 6 in the morning without an alarm clock, in order to greet the morning, go out for a one-hour run, stretch, and clean up before my first coaching calls begin around 9:00 AM. From there I have between 4 to 8 coaching calls a day, Monday through Thursday, in addition to writing Provisions, working on my new book, administering LifeTrek Coaching International, and making increasingly frequent trips around the country to speak and lead LifeTrek Coaching workshops.

It’s hard to say how many hours that adds up to. In some respects, it feels as though I work all the time. In other ways, it feels as though I hardly work at all. There’s no clock to punch, I love what I do, and I enjoy ample opportunity to run, read, entertain, walk and talk with my wife, sit in the hot tub, go to shows, fish off the dock, and volunteer with a wide variety of groups and projects. From my point of view, it’s the perfect life. I get paid, good money, to do what I love to do. What more could a person want?

Apparently not having to work so hard. My conversation partner and coaching wannabe thought about my schedule, shook her head, and said, “I wouldn’t want that many people calling me. I want to be successful as a coach. But I want it to be easy and effortless. Your schedule sounds too strenuous for me.”

Well, guess what? My schedule and work ethic are part of what makes me successful. Coaches often talk about “easy and effortless,” as though one can be successful while doing very little. But as I mentioned two weeks ago in quoting Benjamin Franklin, “Leisure and laziness are two (different) things.” If leisure, as Franklin writes, “is time for doing something useful,” then laziness is time for doing things that are not useful.

And the time we waste on the things that are not useful can easily mean the difference between success and failure. If we waste our time on junk food, sitcoms, and sleepless nights, we dramatically increase our risk for a wide variety of health problems. If we waste our time on disagreeable jobs, spending sprees, and negative thinking, we dramatically increase our risk for a wide variety of wealth problems. It’s that simple.

In my e-Book, “Mastering Your Money: The Road To Financial Independence” Click, I describe Robert Kiyosaki’s four-quadrant model for understanding how money gets made. In two quadrants, the Employee and Self-Employed quadrants, there is a one-to-one correlation between how much we work and how much we make. These are the active revenue quadrants. Many employees get paid by the hour. That makes the correlation very clear. But even when we draw a salary or become self-employed, the quantity (working harder) and quality (working smarter) of our own time and labor are the primary factors in determining our financial rewards.

Kiyosaki’s other two quadrants, the Business Owner and Investor quadrants, introduce additional factors into the equation of how money gets made, including the labor of others and the leverage of capital. Here, in the passive revenue quadrants, there is a leveraged correlation between how much we work and how much we make. In these quadrants we can work less and make more. But we still have to work. Although business owners may not have to mind the store, on a day-to-day basis, as much as if they were self-employed, and although investors may be able to count on a certain rate of return, without having to do much of anything after the initial investment is made, business owners and investors who look the other way can quickly find themselves losing ground and getting indicted.

That’s why I started with the question of attitude when it comes to health and wealth. Do you have a mind to work? If so, there’s a good chance you can be both successful and fulfilled in life. We simply cannot afford to be lazy when it comes to health and wealth. Apart from the occasional windfall, which is so much the exception as to not permit planning and, therefore, serious consideration, both health and wealth are a long time in the making.

They are, in fact, additive and geometric in nature. They build on what’s gone before. Athletes and mathematicians both know how this works. You can’t go out and be the fastest or strongest you can possibly be without years of disciplined training, practice, and contests. You also can’t even understand, let alone master, differential calculus unless you first master algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. And unless you keep them up, they’ll all be long forgotten.

So too when it comes to health and wealth. A few weeks of good clean living, with regular exercise and disciplined savings, will do no good whatsoever unless they become habits for life. But once they become habits, everything changes and starts to fall into place. Once they become as routine as brushing our teeth, we can hardly imagine life without them. We find ourselves enjoying not only the fruits of our labors, but the labors themselves.

That’s because habits are expressions of identity. And we all have habits, both positive or negative. From how we think to how we act, our habitual patterns determine not only the outcome of our endeavors but also our perception of the world itself. It’s up to us to make the world interesting and inviting. It’s up to us to find the energy and resources for extraordinary success. It’s up to us to do something useful, as long as we have the strength to give.

You want me to show you the money? Look in the mirror. Do you see the money? I do. I see the money and a whole lot more. I see a person who can give of his or her time and energy in all manner of creative ways. I see someone who can put more into the world than they take out, generating both positive net work and positive net worth. I see someone who is wealthy enough to give generously of his or her time, talent, and treasure.

When you see that person in the mirror, you will go from working hard to hardly working. Not because you’ll expend less energy during the course of day, but because you’ll love who you are what you’re doing. When that happens, the money usually takes care of itself.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


Do you have David Whyte’s poem, “What To Remember On Waking” in print/file format? I browsed around the web a little, and couldn’t immediately come upon a copy. Would love to see/digest his sentiments. (Ed. Note: It appeared in Provision #212, “Respect The Morning,” Click. Enjoy!)


Last Tuesday morning I got up at 6:30 and, completely out of habit, turned on my computer. As soon as I hit the button, I said, “Damn!” I was going to turn it off, but decided to leave it on while I read my scripture/devotional and prayed. While I was trying to read, I could hear the “whirring” sound of my computer and couldn’t believe how distracting it was. I had to turn it off. It was the sound of the window closing.


I especially enjoyed your poem, “Awakening.” I enjoy writing a gratitude list when I awaken in the morning • it amazes me the little things that I can discover are significant and I am grateful for them all! 




May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452
Fax: 772-382-3258

Subscribe/Unsubscribe: (Click)
Correspondence: (Click)

Provision #304: Love Life

Laser Provision

After years of memorizing other people’s poems, and with a little prodding from one of my LifeTrek Coaching colleagues, this Provision shares two of my own, newborn poems. They celebrate the power of life over death and they remind us of what undergirds both health and wealth: the love of life itself.

LifeTrek Provision

A few weeks ago I had a most unusual, intriguing, and fruitful experience. I woke up with one of David Whyte’s poems on my lips. I have shared this poem before with you, the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. It’s titled “What To Remember On Waking,” and it has become an important part of my life. Having memorized the poem, it’s easy to recite it to myself at will. I especially like to call it to mind before I go to sleep at night. Doing so puts me in a better frame of mind when I wake up.

The poem, you may remember, encourages us to see and use the morning • the time after we first wake up • as a special time to connect with the gift and essence of life. “There is a small opening into the new day,” David observes, “which closes the moment you begin your plans.” Elsewhere, David refers to our “looking through the slanting light of the morning window toward the mountain presence of everything that can be.”

This image has led me to play a game with myself called, “How long can I keep the window open?” How long can I go without checking email, reading the newspaper, listening to the radio, reading a book, turning on the television, or doing anything else that confronts me with external information. David writes that waking up amounts to our being invited back to life “from another and greater night than the one from which we have just emerged.” By paying attention to what’s going on inside us, fresh from the creative work of the night, we tap into the source of life itself.

You can imagine my delight, then, when I recently found myself lying in bed with those words on the tip of my tongue. I had no trouble keeping the window open that beautiful spring morning! It even prompted me to write a poem of my own.

Awakening
by Bob Tschannen-Moran • 2003

The world comes back to life
Tiny buds burst into flower
Drab and barren branches
Dance to a symphony of becoming
Like a painter’s palette
We see the colors laid out
And smell their intoxicating aromas

This too shall pass

But for now
There is hope
In a world that knows too much fear

But for now
There is faith
In a world that knows too much despair

But for now
There is love
In a world that knows too much hate

But for now
We dance to this symphony of becoming
We twirl and laugh
We trust and believe
As though nothing could ever silence the music

But for now
We are pleased to dwell
On planet earth
And do call ourselves
Awake

Another poem came to me a week later, while I was out on a 22-mile run • my last long run before I join one of my clients in completing the Pittsburgh, PA marathon on May 4, 2003. This poem reflects the impact of the war in Iraq; it also reflects the more fundamental notion that new life can come from old death, as indeed it always has.

Liberation
by Bob Tschannen-Moran • 2003

There’s talk of liberation in the air
From the highest seats of power
To the lowest trenches of despair
Everywhere you turn
There’s talk of liberation in the air

Strange images command our attention
Little girls giving flowers to soldiers
And palm branches waving in the air
While others outfit themselves with bombs
In final, desperate acts of despair

We can only hope, if we dare
To think that somehow this tangled up world
With ancient rivalries provoking prime-time coverage
Will again find ways to smile in repair
As though it were sending up a transcendent signal flare

Beseeching all the heavens to declare
Those ancient visions of peace
Where lions and lambs, wolves and sheep, rest
Everywhere content in the knowledge of One
Whose talk of liberation has always filled the air

I share these poems with you today for two reasons. First, in many Christian traditions today is Easter Sunday, when people celebrate the miracle of resurrection, which these poems both reflect and explore. In the wake of recent events, including the no-less deadly and horrific reality of modern, precision-guided warfare, it is important to remember that faith, hope, and love have always had the last and final word over humanity’s seemingly incurable inhumanities.

Second, these poems remind us of what undergirds both health and wealth. It’s not enough to know what to do. We also have to do it. When it comes to health, we have to do things with nutrition, exercise, rest, and relaxation. When it comes to wealth, we have to do things with income, spending, debt, and investments. Most of us know these things. We know what to do. But we oftentimes fail to put what we know into practice.

Why is that? For many people, it’s a matter of discouragement. They have tried things, which did not work out. So they give up. They come to believe that failure is inevitable and change is impossible. “I’ve tried everything,” they report, “and it’s no use. I just can’t do it.” They may want to lose weight, quit smoking, or save money. But they’ve concluded that it’s beyond their reach.

For other people, it’s a matter of seduction. They have been overwhelmed by the messages and structures of a society which makes it hard to be healthy and wealthy. The advertising budgets and price structures for fast foods and consumer goods, both large and small, dwarf the budgets of those educational initiatives which promote and describe a better way. It’s unfortunately cheaper and easier to eat unhealthy than to eat healthy. What kind of world is that?

It’s a world that requires invigorated people who understand the principles of well being and well doing. First and foremost, it takes a belief in our ability to get the job done. Like the “Little Engine That Could,” in the children’s story, we too must marinate our body, mind, and spirit with the simple thought: “I think I can, I think I can, I think can.” Until you think you can, you can’t. These poems can help overcome the inertia of can’t-be and can’t-do thinking.

It’s also a world that requires engaged people who share the principles of well being and well doing. No one becomes healthy and wealthy, all by themselves. We stand on the shoulders and depend on the support of others. Although there’s no way to hide entirely from the world’s seductions, it’s certainly possible to design and connect with physical and relational environments which refresh our spirits, awaken our senses, and quicken our potential. These poems can help create the context of can-be and can-do living.

I hope you find reading them to be as much of a blessing as I found writing them. They have the power to move us forward on the trek to health, wealth, and wisdom.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


Thanks for the good work. Although I must confess I still am not persuaded that the endeavor is worthy of your skill. It still seems to me that for some (as yet undiscerned by me) reason you are trying to redefine wealth by confusing it with other perfectly adequate words. Occasionally you even seem to recognize this yourself, e.g., when you write “Seek contentment and wealth may follow. Seek wealth and contentment may elude your grasp.” I love your reminder of Franklin’s journal entries at the beginning and end of each day. But again, I wonder, why refer to this as wealth rather than virtue?


I would like you to know that I really enjoy your lessons and, to most part, I share your view of life. I am a great believer that part of why we are here on this earth is to fulfill our purpose and to reach to the highest levels of our potential, through which we will know true fulfillment. I commend you for sharing this with the rest of the world, if there’s is anything that the world needs right now is a strong diversion to their inner persons, to contribute to the world uniqueness that none other is capable of.


It has always been true that those who have suffered or know poverty are the most generous. My ex-girlfriend was a waitress and always got stiffed by those of means, unless someone was watching, whereas, those who had been there and knew how hard the work was, were more generous with their tips. . . interesting. 




May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452
Fax: 772-382-3258

Subscribe/Unsubscribe: (Click)
Correspondence: (Click)

Provision #303: Free To Give

Laser Provision

True wealth is not only being able to work freely, as we discovered in last week’s Provision. It’s also about being able to give freely. Understood in terms of optimal financial well-being, true wealth is more concerned with doing good than with getting the goods. The minute doing good becomes your reason for being is the minute you become wealthy.

LifeTrek Provision

When Benjamin Franklin suggested that one could become wealthy by making all you can, saving all you can, and resting all you can (“early to bed, and early to rise”) he was putting forward a principle that has served people well since time immemorial. As social order breaks down in Baghdad, we see the other side of the coin when it comes to liberation. There is a fine line between liberty and license.

Franklin • as well as some of the Imams currently serving in Baghdad • sought to hold that line, first and foremost, through the principled practice of moral virtues. Although Franklin saw a valuable role for governmental regulation and services, he did not pin his hopes on the government for either his own advancement or for the advancement of others. He was more inclined to trust an individual’s ability to handle his or her own affairs. When combined with “the blessing of heaven,” Franklin believed that a life conducted on the basis of those moral virtues would generate prosperity more often than not.

This understanding and orientation can be seen clearly in the twenty-sixth and final issue of Poor Richard’s Almanack, published in 1757 and immediately reprinted under the title “The Way to Wealth.” Over the next fifty years, this essay • with over a hundred editions in more than a dozen languages • came to define the quintessential Franklin and even the American dream itself. Here are the highlights in seven paragraphs, excerpted and adapted from the essay itself.

“If time be of all things the most precious, then wasting time must be the greatest prodigality, since, lost time is never found again and what we call ‘time enough’ always proves little enough. Let us then be up and doing, and going to the purpose, so by diligence shall we do more with less perplexity.”

“Those that rise late, must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake their business at night. While laziness travels so slowly, that poverty soon overtakes them.”

“Employ your time well if you mean to gain leisure; and, since you are not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour. Leisure is time for doing something useful; this leisure the diligent person will obtain, but the lazy person never. A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two (different) things.”

“With our industry we must likewise be steady, settled, and careful, and oversee our own affairs with our own eyes, and not trust too much to others. Trusting too much to others’ care is the ruin of many.”

Be careful what you buy. “You call them goods, but if you do not take care, they will prove evils to some of you. You expect they will be sold cheap, and perhaps they may for less than they cost; but if you have no occasion for them, they must be dear to you. (Fineries) are not the necessaries of life; they can scarcely be called the conveniences, and yet only because they look pretty, how many want to have them. The artificial wants of people thus become more numerous than the natural. By extravagancies the genteel are reduced to poverty.”

“Pride is as loud a beggar as want, and a great deal more saucy. When you have bought one fine thing you must buy ten more, that your appearance may be all of a piece. It’s far easier to suppress the first desire, than to satisfy all that follow it. After all, what use is this pride of appearance, for which so much is risked, so much is suffered? It cannot promote health or ease pain; it makes no increase of merit in the person, it creates envy, it hastens misfortune.”

“What madness must it be to run in debt for superfluities! We are offered (generous) terms, but think what you do when you run in debt; you give another power over your liberty. Creditors have authority at their pleasure to deprive you of your liberty, by confining you in jail for life. So disdain the chain of debt, preserve your freedom; and maintain your independency: Be industrious and free; be frugal and free.”

I am struck by Franklin’s definition of leisure. “Leisure is time for doing something useful” or, as I quoted from Tim Gallwey in last week’s Provision, “for making a meaningful contribution.” I am also struck by Franklin’s perceptive and prescient analysis of what drives our economy and yet destroys our lives: consumer debt. Our artificial wants have indeed reduced many to bankruptcy and poverty.

Perhaps this accounts for why Franklin never wanted to title his final essay in the Almanack series, “The Way to Wealth.” That was the publisher’s idea. Franklin would have titled it, “The Way to Contentment.” Seek contentment, and wealth may follow. Seek wealth, and contentment may elude your grasp. As Poor Richard himself once observed, for “the use of money is all the advantage there is in having money.” And Franklin wanted to be sure to use it well.

Reading Franklin’s principles today, almost 250 years later, it appears we haven’t been paying much attention. More people, and more nations, are in debt now than ever before in pursuit of “the good life” which is sometimes satirized as “those who die with the most toys win.”

As consumerism is exported around the world, the problem of artificial wants coming back to bite us gets amplified a thousand fold. Instead of trying to keep up with our next-door neighbors, we are competing with television icons and media stars who have no basis in reality. No wonder the system gets so many of us in trouble!

But there is a better way. One could even call it Franklin’s way. Instead of thinking about wealth in terms of excess financial resources, we can think in terms of optimal financial well-being. We can think in terms of using our money to do something good, rather than to get the goods.

This is what happens when we make the shift from riches to contentment, from excess resources to optimal well-being. We suddenly start thinking of ourselves as having something to share with the world. We focus more on our abundant gifts than on our inherent deficiencies. We are no longer seduced by our artificial wants; instead, we focus on meeting our natural wants along with the natural wants of others.

Truly wealthy people think more about doing good than about getting the goods. On the high end, this is called philanthropy, altruism, and community service. But we don’t have to wait for the high end to start thinking about doing good. Once again, this is a shift we can make instantly, regardless of our current net worth. As soon as we start thinking of ourselves as having more than enough to share, we have entered the ranks of the truly wealthy.

Unfortunately, many people with excess financial resources fail to grasp this important dynamic. Benjamin Franklin once put it this way in a personal letter: “what we have above what we can use, is not properly ours, even though we possess it.” Truly wealthy people understand this. They think of themselves as stewards rather than as owners. If they have more than they need, and most of us do, they become paragons of generosity, service, and social justice.

Why then do lower-income people give away more money, as a percentage of income, than higher-income people? Because higher-income people are caught up with those artificial wants. And lower-income people understand first-hand that what we have today may be gone tomorrow, so better to share when we can and make a few friends then to wear out our welcome through tight-fisted stinginess.

Fortunately, the global challenges of the past few years have caused everyone, all the way up and down the economic ladder, to start thinking more critically about who we are, what we have, and how we want to carry ourselves in the world. My hope is that everyone will become consumed with a passion for doing good. We may not always know exactly how or what to do, and we’ll certainly make plenty of mistakes, but once that idea takes hold, there’s really no end to the good we can do.

Franklin used to start each day by writing in his journal the answer to one question: “What good can I do today?” At the end of each day, he wrote in his journal again, only this time asking himself, “What good did I do today?” This was the practice that made Franklin a wealthy man beyond his humble beginnings and most of his contemporaries. It is a practice that will still work today.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


I want to say your site is great. I have been reading Provisions on my Pocket PC for a few months and when I finally went to your web page and found past Provisions I was very pleased. I like your approach of using Provisions, it is a slow and sometimes painful journey that we must undertake to find who we really are and who we would like to be and it cannot be completed over a weekend. Your one Provision a week is the right speed, lest we overdose on too much of a good think.


If we become the model for gluttonous consumption, what happens if China and other developing countries follow suit? We will pollute the planet even more. Already over population is having devastating effects. More mouths to feed, more strain on limited resources…more wars for those resources.


What’s important to understand is that wealth and/or health are not truly achieved until you get comfortable with a fundamental truth • no one, no “thing”, or no amount of money WILL make you happy, wealthy or healthy. ONLY you can allow yourself to be happy, wealthy or healthy in your life. In your thoughts of wealth only you can decide what being wealthy means in your context. We each decide what amount of money constitutes wealth. Even if wealth is judged by something other than financial excess, it still applies that only you can decide what being wealthy means to you.


I live in Connecticut and I was wondering if you could give me any contacts in my area that I could get with or if you know of any type of weekend training like you offer but in my area. I would like to be a better me and be all that I can be and help others reflect a positive attitude. If you can help or know of anything in my area or nearby that would be fantastic. (Ed. Note: I don’t know of anything in Connecticut. You may, however, find LifeTrek telephone coaching to be of great assistance. Let us know if you’re interested. You may also want to search for a coach in your area using the International Coach Federation’s Coach Referral Service, Click)



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452
Fax: 772-382-3258

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