Continuity: The Hidden Key to Financial Security

Continuity: The Hidden Key to Financial Security

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Continuity, the Hidden Key to Financial Security

I went to a party last night.

As I walked in, I immediately sensed a high energy level … yet, behind it, an interesting calm.

This morning it struck me where that calm came from.

A large number of the people there were military friends of the host, a military man himself.

The air was filled with bravado, a masculine strength that comes from testosterone no doubt, but also from a sense of assuredness.

So where does that assuredness come from?

Well, it made me think of an article I had read before going to the party, by Forbes staff writer Jenna Goudreau.  Her article is entitled “Careers Headed For The Dustbin.”  In it she cites the twenty jobs the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts will disappear in the next several years.

Now add to this mix a conversation I had at the party with a realtor who specializes in Miami waterfront properties.  We talked about what has changed in the industry because of all the internet listings, and then moved on to what is really affecting how a realtor interacts with clients:  all the foreclosures and short sales.  She cited “doing everything right,” focusing on the real needs of clients and providing them critical information on what the new banking and mortgage rules require.  Yet she sounded frustrated.

It dawned on me that her frustration came from the fact that, in the end, she has no control over the outcome of the transaction.  Despite doing every right, nothing she can say or do guarantees that the client will make a decision that benefits her.

Control.  Control over our lives.  That’s what these three threads have in common.

We all hear that some of our military men and women are grossly underpaid for what they do.  And, frankly, I think that’s inexcusable.  And they do face some unknowns, such as where their next posting or deployment might be.  And some face the greatest unknown of all:  will they be killed as a result of the career they have chosen.

But they have the knowledge that they won’t be fired.  They won’t be “let go.”  Whatever it is they get financially, too little or enough, it is reliable.  They can plan around it.  They can count on continuity.  And that leads to the underlying assuredness I felt in that room.

As for the realtor, as someone who lives by the commissions she earns, she is totally at the mercy of decisions made far away … at the level of the national economy.  She has to react to how the market reacts to how well the economy is reacting to decisions made by presidents, congressmen, congresswomen and people in the top echelons of the financial world.  React … react … react.  She has no continuity.

As for all the people whose livelihoods come from the twenty “jobs” listed in Jenna Goudreau’s article, including anything related to agriculture, to unskilled manufacturing or to things made obsolete by technology, they too have no continuity.

As an entrepreneur, I am surrounded by people who have taken their futures into their own hands by starting their own businesses.  But even having made that choice, what’s important is to be keenly aware of how much control they have over their future.  Does their business have momentum and can they count on ongoing income?  Do they have that added competitive advantage that gives them a good idea of how their business will grow?  Do they have a healthy relationship with money that insists on them making solid business choices?  Do they have continuity?

In my own case, I know how different I felt when my businesses were built on debt and were solely dependent on getting the next consulting gig or project.  Every day started with a pit in my stomach.  My expenses were high and my income was erratic.  If you’ve read my story, you know I had to hit the wall financially before I understood that my problem was not whether or not my business model was viable.  Yes, I had to get my expenses under control and change my lifestyle.  But the big discovery came from examining how I dealt with my money.

How do I know that?  Well, because after getting clear on my money issues, I went back to the identical business model and it has led me to financial security.  To assuredness.  To continuity.  To knowing I’ll be okay, no matter what.

So I have a question for you.  How do you wake up in the morning?  Do you wake up cheerfully, looking forward to the day knowing that you’re building your future security?  Or is your cheerfulness a tool you’ve chosen to use to egg yourself on … although you know in the pit of your stomach that your future is at risk?

I honor the efforts made by everyone around me to hustle and strive and learn and grow.  But I just want to be sure you’re asking yourself the right question, so you know if you’re placing your energy … and your hopes … on the right thing.

You know the answer.  And if it’s anything other that a resounding “Yes, I’m on track towards financial security,” the time to get honest is now.  Every day is important.  This is a time of such volatility in the world.  But that doesn’t excuse not making any changes that will right the direction of your journey.

Let me know below how you feel about this question.  And if you think anyone you know could benefit from asking it, be sure to click on the “Like” button so you share with them.

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Bio: Sharon O’Day lost everything at age 53: her home, her business, everything. But how could that be? She’s an expert in global finance and marketing with an MBA from the Wharton School. She has worked with governments, corporations, and individuals … yes, she was the secret “weapon,” if you will, behind many individuals in high places. Yet she did! Since then, with her finances completely turned around, Sharon has gone on to interview countless women. She’s done extensive research to understand how that could have happened, especially with her strong knowledge of numbers and finance.

The surprising answers will be shared in her upcoming book “Money After Menopause.” Today her mission is to show as many women as possible how to become financially free for the long term, through her “Over Fifty and Financially Free” coaching programs. She has developed a step-by-step plan to get past all the obstacles that keep women broke and scared … and from reaching the financial peace of mind they so deserve … if they’re willing to do what it takes!

  • Amyrgutman

    Good point, Sharon–I would love read more about the specifics of what you’re tlalking. What have you  been doing differently from before? What specific actions have you taken that have led to an increased sense of continuity and control?

    • Amy, briefly, once I realized I was treating clients’ money better than my own, I knew I needed to address the “deep down” reasons why and then let them go.  And I scaled my lifestyle back dramatically to take financial pressure off me.  When I relaunched my business, since I was no longer taking and working gigs from a place of panic, I only took those that supported the clear picture I now had of where I was most competitive (and unique).  I’m open to all opportunities but I don’t allow them to distract me from my goal.  They go through an efficient yes-or-no filter.  And, as I’ve turned my finances around, I HAVEN’T gone back to my former lifestyle.  That means I can continue to bank the majority of my income for the future.  Does that help?

  • I have totally been focusing on such a topic.  I want to make sure that my energy lines up with my values, my purposes and dreams.  Thank you for sharing!

    • That’s great, Tamarah!  Just be sure those things are not too conceptual, and that they do include some nice, hard numbers as well …

  • Hi Sharon.  I am enjoying the feeling of waking up and knowing we are debt free.  Every day now is an adventure in growing that financial freedom more and more.

    • Isn’t it a marvelous feeling, Pat?  It’s tough to get there, and can require some real sacrifices, but it’s sure worth it!

  • To Achieve financial peace I think we need to realize we are determiners and create our reality every day. When people have a JOB and think they are financially secure, that is an illusion of security.
    Good article Sharon! Thanks for sharing it here! 

    • MarVeena, you’re so right about the job part.  That’s what felt so unusual with that group of military guys and gals: they actually had some security.  Most of the rest of the people I know with jobs are quietly waiting for an ax to fall, regardless how well they’re doing their jobs.  I certainly don’t feel they should all quit and become entrepreneurs (a more-than-risky proposition in itself!) but they do need to have fall-back savings and to keep debt to a minimum …

  • I agree with Pat – 
     Every day now is an adventure in growing that financial freedom more and more… Thank you Sharon for sharing this great post with us!

    • I’m so glad to hear it, Anastasiya.  Building a solid client base you can rely on and knowing your lifestyle is in keeping with the income generated by that solid base leaves you free to continue to build … from a place of peace of mind!

  • I am bringing this article to my husband Sharon. The days and weeks go by and it feels like we are on a never ending treadmill…there’s no “off” switch! These days are so preoccupied with raising our grandchildren. Thank you for reminding me how important it is that we must develop a plan.

    • Denny,
      Helping people come up with a plan the gets them un-stuck or off the treadmill is one of the things I love to do!  Please go to my site and learn more about coaching.  I think it could have a big impact on you and your family.
      http://www.matthewreedcoaching.com

  • That’s an amazing reminder to focus on the right thing, and to do it honestly and as soon as possible! I thank you on behalf of all the women you are helping to reach financial security. No matter how many times people may say happiness doesn’t lay in money – and no matter how ultimately true it is, having a secure shelter and a steady supply of food are the two things very few people can find happiness without, and that takes some cash in most cases.

    • Anonymous

      The peace of mind that comes with knowing that you’ll “always be okay” is something very difficult to communicate.  But you’re right: having secure shelter and a steady supply of food leaves you unencumbered to do all the things that make our lives “rich,” however we each define it.

  • focus, developing a plan, then following through with discipline.  That’s a lot to like!
    THanks Sharon.

    • Anonymous

       Looks like just a few little words, Matthew, but that’s what makes all the rest possible!

  • Sharon,

    Great post! It really had me thinking. I had a business while I was working full-time a couple years ago. I stressed myself out not wanting to leave the day job because it was steady income, yet I was miserable. One day I had to change how I lived my life and take control of it. Now starting my new business I am doing things differently now. Sure there is fear, but I realize I am controlling that outcome. I have learned to live with less, and do more with what I have.

    • Anonymous

       “I have learned to live with less, and do more with what I have.”  What a great phrase, Tony!  If you really look at it, you probably released material things that were not serving you well … and making room for more valuable things … such as control and peace of mind!

  • Wow, Sharon, that is a powerful article!  I appreciate how you share that clearing your money issues made all the difference, how you went back and used the same business model and got different results!! When we clear the issues, everything changes.  Love it, thanks for sharing!

    •  Sherie, sounds like you know how critical it is to address those things that hold us back.  And we women have our fair (or unfair?) share of money issues!

  • Sharon, this is an interesting read and I had just concluded reading an article about self trust and eliminating the influences of what other people think.  Your article flowed along that same stream.  Thanks for an interesting story.

  • I wake up cheerfully, but it took a lot of work and insight to do so. Powerful points, Sharon.

  • Sharon, I not only read and enjoyed this post, but I clicked on the hyperlinked ‘my story’ keywords, and read there, and wow! what an education. I also have the big house, the big parties, the big mortgage, the big-style overhead… but am not happy about it. Suffice to say, if I could change it, I would.

  • The LEARNED Preneur

    Sharon… you are inspiring!  Wowie… what a story! (I read you story from your hyperlink).  The trap of the “successful” as the world defines it.  How easily we fall into the lie…  Thank you so much for sharing. I’m looking forward to reading your book when it comes out.  There is NO wisdom better than the one we gained through life expereriences… x0x
    The LEARNED Preneur @ NormaDoiron.NET ˚ .ღ 。

  • This is very interesting!  Glad I’ve stuck to my roots!  My first crazy dream board included an English Mastiff, and iPad, iPhone, and Macbook, as well as a house for me and my kids to live comfortably in! Check to all!  Now we’re just enjoying what we’e built and building more!

  • Hi Sharon, I listened to the audio. You have a beautiful story telling voice to start. This was/is a fantastic article on all views. At the moment I can’t figure out where I am going or how I am going to get there but in the pit of my stomach I have no doubt it’s going to be good. I have always felt this way. The difference is I am moving toward it daily by choice now. As I said I don’t know how, but I KNOW I will get there. To elaborate, when I say I don’t know how, I have viable businesses but I get pulled in directions that force me to learn things way out of my comfort level. I then end up loving it and integrating. My point, I know where I am now, but where will that take me? I don’t know but sure excited to find out!

  • Lindajenkins7

    Answer to your question–how do I wake up in the morning–I normally wake up looking forward to the day ahead. I have given up the worry of money I have noticed that things always works out 🙂

  • Great article Sharon. I love the audio as well for us multitaskers [grin] In answer to your question, I wake up each morning and start my day with a cup of coffee and a heaping dose of gratitude…knowing that by serving my clients in the best possible way, that I am building my future security. Thanks!

  • Great article Sharon and reflections to me.  I wake up each morning happy, never grumpy, depressed, but sometimes tired if I go to be in the “morning.”  However I know this is the day I can take control over but being in action — not just talking about it.   The future comes so doing something today for tomorrow is important to me.

  • Anonymous

    I’m happy.. things really changed in my business in 2010 and I’m working like mad to catch back up. My husband worked for someone else..that business closed after 20 years ..he started the day the company opened it’s doors ..so at 50 he is starting over with a career. I was frightened when I walked away from a job 9 years ago and started my own. I am in control of my company and where I go from here. No one but me..;)

  • Fantastic article Sharon and your journey and story is so inspiring. I, too, am beginning again after hitting crisis point last year and am now happily building on new, solid foundations 🙂