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Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.
A reader recently asked, “How does the French Kiss Life-style apply to money?” I thought this was such a fabulous question, and one that I don’t talk about often. Honestly, I’d rather talk about life, love and Paris. It’s not that I’m opposed to the conversation, but I think the more fascinating conversation is, “How do you use your money to create a well-lived life?” Just make money? Not that interesting to me.
Yet, money is a huge part of our lives, and it’s also an excuse that many use to keep themselves stuck.
You can tell a lot about a person when you bring up the topic of money. Some people squirm. Others start to brag. Some hang their head in shame. Others celebrate.
I’ve done them all. What I’ve learned is that having money does not make you a great human being. And, not having it does not make you horrible. I also don’t buy into that whole, “If you don’t have money, you don’t value yourself.” I have friends who make very little and they value themselves and life immensely. They just choose to live very differently. I know of others who have a ton, and they are miserable and insecure.
At the end of the day, our relationship with money is an intimate and individual discovery.
Just like my eating, I’ve had so much dysfunction with money. The parallels are fascinating, to say the least.
It’s taken a lot of mindfulness and work, but I’m finding happy place with money (just like I found my happy weight).
I realized how far I’ve come during a recent meeting with my accountant.
We were going through receipts and expenses from the year.
“Tonya, I thought I’d see a lot more clothes and makeup charges,” he said jokingly.
I’ll admit, there was a small part of me that wanted to punch him in the face, as his comment seemed a bit chauvinistic. But, I simply said, “I guess you shouldn’t always judge a book by its cover” and carried on with business.
I am SO much savvier with my money than even two years ago (This was one of the blessings of divorce. I really stepped up my money mindset).
Here’s how I’ve learned to French Kiss Money:
1. What are your money beliefs? I’ll never forget visiting the Monte Carlo casino where money flows faster than the bartender can pour your glass of Champagne. I was ah-mazed! Even shocked.
I was lucky enough to get into the back room where minimum $10,000 bets were being placed. One of the men shouted out, “I love money.” He happened to win that poker round to the sound of $100,000.
To a girl who grew up in a trailer, this was as miraculous as watching Moses part the Red Sea. How could it be that people felt so relaxed around money?
Now, I’m not a gambler, unless I’m betting on myself, but what I’ve learned from people with money is that they have very different beliefs around the paper bill. It’s a game, an energy and is always available.
You may be thinking, “Yeah, but that’s easy to say when you have money.” And, I hear you, because I used to be one of those people. However, you are attracting what you believe. So, what do you believe about money?
2. Love your money. I used to neglect, abuse and ignore my money (just like I treated my body). I’d cram it into my purse, all wadded up. I’d lose $20 and $100 bills. I’d ignore my bank account for months and bounce checks.
All of this lack of respect was because I was afraid of money.
When I thought about how I treat things I love — treasure, mindfulness and attention — I began to shift that same mindset towards my money.
Now, I’m proud to say that my dollar bills have a beautiful wallet and are meticulously placed. And, I have a weekly money date where I give extreme gratitude for what I’ve been blessed with and strategically think about where I want my money to flow.
3. Invest in what you value. If you value adventure, and you only spend money on home renovations, you’re probably bored out of our mind.
If you value security, and you’re blowing money online shopping, you’re probably feeling a lot of fear.
My top values in life are: inspiration, beauty and connection, which is why I’ve invested in coaching (inspiration). It’s why I invest in a monthly facial, candles and fresh flowers (beauty). It’s why I went to Telluride this weekend with girlfriends (connection). And, it’s why I’ll book a plane ticket in a skinny minute to go Paris (all three of my values here, because it’s full of beauty, always inspires me, and it’s the place I go to connect with myself.).
4. Invest in Quality. I’ve wasted so much money with a quantity mindset. That “hey, it’s on sale, so let me buy four” kind of thinking. This could be you if you have clothes hanging in your closet with the tags still on or huge containers of bulk coffee in the cabinet (I used to be Costco girl, so I’ve got your number;).
One of the big shifts that happened after spending time in France is the concept of buying quality over quantity.
It’s why I finally got up the nerve to invest in a designer handbag versus stuffing my closet with ones that fall apart within a year. My first quality handbag has been with me for eight years, and I’ll probably pass it down to my daughter.
It’s why I invest in good coffee, soaps and candles, among other things. The quality they bring to my life is better than buying excess of the cheaper stuff.
For me, less stuff = more room to live.
5. Invest in Your Future. Some experts recommend saving 10% of your earnings. Others will say 20%. It all depends on your goals and timeline. However, do put something away, even it it’s $20 a month.
It creates peace of mind and feels good to stash some cash, and French Kissing Life is all about feeling true to yourself and abundant.
If you don’t know where to start, check out Betterment.com.* I’ve been using this service for two years. It’s great for investors that want ease and efficiency.
6. Invest in Yourself. Your mind, body and spirit are valuable commodities, especially when you invest in cultivating them.
I have spent enough in education and experiences aimed at supporting my growth as a human being that I could have probably paid cash for a Ferrari. Thank God, I’m not a car person or that revelation could have made me sick.
Seriously though, I would not be the woman I am today had I not believed in myself enough to trust the returns would be worth it. And, they have been ten-fold.
7. Invest in Others. My parents taught me that when I’m blessed, it’s my duty to bless another. I witnessed my parents tithe 10% of their earnings every week to their church, even when they were struggling to pay the electric bill.
They’ve also always been provided for and continue to thrive in their retirement years.
I’ve carried that lesson with me throughout my life.
One of the greatest ways to create an abundant mindset is by giving to others, to see yourself as a channel where money flows and is used in beautiful ways.
That’s why I spoil my clients with gifts, buy the homeless man a cup of coffee and give to my favorite charity. I don’t want to be hoarder of money but a sharer of prosperity.
8. BE abundant. I started practicing being abundant long before my bank account reflected it. When you are being an abundant woman, you feel incredible, and guess what happens when you’ve got that kind of moxy? You become a magnet for so much more goodness to flow to you. As I say, “A happy woman is a magnet for her desires.”
When I’m feeling any type of money fear, I create what I call My Rich List. I write down all the ways that I am SO rich in my life.
I have great health. I have so many wonderful friends. I had a fabulous dinner. I have a home with a gorgeous view of the La Plata mountains. I have a fabulous wardrobe. I have parents who love me. I have the most adoring partner. I have a fierce daughter.
Before you know it, I’m feeling like the richest girl in the world, because truthfully, I am (and, so are you if you pay attention!).
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