Peace of Mind: The New Drug of Choice

Peace of Mind: The New Drug of Choice

Peace of Mind New Drug of ChoiceFor those who’d rather listen than read:

Peace of Mind Drug of Choice (audio link)

“So what is it you want?” I asked Sarah.

“I want to be able to afford my life.  I’m tired of worrying every time I pull out my credits cards.”

“What does ‘afford my life’ mean?”

“Well, that we can hang onto what we fought so hard to build.  Hold onto our house, our insurances.  Take our regular trips to see the kids.  Do stuff with our friends.  We already sold the boat …”

So started another journey into “reality.”  And the reality is this:  since 2008, and the economic turmoil since then, the U.S. economy has suffered the equivalent of shifting tectonic plates … and the resulting earthquake.

A lot of the visual surface damage has been repaired.  But the foundation, or fundamentals, have changed forever.  Gone are many beliefs around the security of investing in real estate, the ability to “save” our way to retirement and our faith in once-reliable financial instruments and markets.

What does that mean for the everyday Jane and Joe just trying to work and play their way through the years?  The game just got a lot more complex.

Or, by necessity, a lot simpler.

So How Does That Work?

As parts of the economy have come back, some people’s lives have returned to normal.  And, if their activity touches health care, pharmaceuticals, biotech, software or information services, chances are they’ll be okay going forward.  But they will have to work harder to find effective ways to save for their later years, since so many of the faithful old tools are gone.

For the others whose activities haven’t shown growth yet – and maybe never will – the future requires some form of “re-invention” or retraining.  Or starting their own businesses with the skills they have.

That is Sarah’s situation.  As a realtor, her income was decimated by the housing crisis.  And her husband’s job isn’t all that secure.  She has started a business, but it’s taking far longer than expected to grow legs.

My recommendation was:  simplify.

Our ability as a population to accumulate – whether it’s physical “stuff,” hobbies, toys or whatever – is legendary.  Most of us are not even aware of how much has layered onto our lives.  And much of it is simply a matter of habit.

The most eye-opening work I do with clients such as Sarah is a reality check:

•    What they have,
•    What they need,
•    What they can pay for,
•    What they can change, and
•    What life will look life after realigning.

My most successful clients are those who use the exercise to bring their financial obligations in line with their financial reality as fast as possible – even if the process is a little difficult.  (Actually, even if the process is very difficult.)

What they learn is this:  nothing is more empowering than being able to pay your bills.  And nothing can give you more focus and clarity than coming from a place of peace of mind.

Why Is Peace of Mind Such a Big Deal?

Most people have spent the majority of their adult lives in the loop of getting a raise, momentarily having some breathing room, upsizing their lives and being strapped again.

Few know what true peace of mind is.  Or what it feels like.

Yet once they’ve tasted it, any future life changes – welcome as they might be – will almost always be made in a way that preserves that peace of mind.

So I ask you:  if you look at your lifestyle, is it one that is in alignment with your financial reality?

If it is, bravo!

If not, would you be willing to do your own reality check and see what you can do to bring alignment into your life?

I can assure you: peace of mind is absolutely addictive!

Let me know in the Comments section below what three things you could easily let go of – without it even disrupting your life.


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 are shared in her tell-it-like-it-is posts and articles. Today her mission is to show as many women as possible how to become financially free for the long term, through her 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!

  • Absolutely love this article Sharon and couldn’t agree more…having peace of mind regardless of our life circumstances or should I say inspite of our life circumstances requires a mindset of gratitude for what we do have.

    • And you and I know how grateful we are for that wonderful state of ease, don’t we, Denny? 😉

  • Through the past couple years of reading your blog and trying my best to apply the knowledge, it makes me happy to discover that I’m actually tracking steadily through your process, Sharon! My current lifestyle is far simpler than it used to me, and I’m far and above happier than ever before! Your wisdom is just what I needed! Thank you 🙂

    • As a lot of the layers of our lives get stripped away (and we both know it isn’t always voluntary!), there’s peace in that simplicity. Relish it!

  • Aimee

    I think the return to what is needed instead of what is “expected” – huge homes, every tech gadget, eating out all the time – is a blessing. I don’t think it increases peace of mind, just more to worry about losing. If we all simplified and kept it there, not worrying about what other people have, we would all have less burden.

    • Aimee, this was something I had hoped would be the big lesson of the financial crunch in 2008 forward. It was for some. But far too many have gone back to the same patterns as before. I guess they just weren’t ready … 😉

  • It is so easy to live to your means, but then when one slight bump in the road hits…you are living beyond your means! Great article to avoid this!!!

    • No one can avoid those bumps in the road, Elizabeth. The question is: how prepared are we to deal with them?

  • Great tips on how to give yourself peace of mind by re-aligning with what you need and keeping mindful of the full picture of your expenses and income! Thanks for these tips.

  • One of my favorite weekly blogs! Sharon, you are so good at taking the fear and mystery out of all things financial. Just having someone we trust to expose our financial reality to can be a major step toward achieving the peace of mind you speak of here.

  • Sharon, this is a very powerful message that you are writing about today.” nothing is more empowering than being able to pay your bills.” That is so true. Facing financial reality and what you can really afford can be a hard pill to swallow but so necessary.

  • Gorana

    I love the thought of peace of mind as the new drug of choice. Great tips on how to align with financial reality.

  • cathsj

    “nothing is more empowering than being able to pay your bills.” As a startup that is certainly stamped on my forehead 🙂 Thanks fo rthe great article.

  • Been on both sides of the fence so I know all about peace of mind… Great post, Sharon.

  • Marie Leslie

    Been there, done that and it is amazing what we have discovered we just don’t need in our lives. We’ve always been fairly frugal but the last several years have been overwhelming for us. We’ve found that renting a movie & watching it at home is as enjoyable for us as going to the movie theater and we’ve also found that experimenting in the kitchen with new recipes brings a sense of satisfaction that restaurant hopping does not.

  • The word that really caught my attention, Sharon, is simplify. When I realized my spending was excessive, a year ago, I began simplifying and cutting back and I have not felt deprived at all. In fact, it feels good to be spending so much less!

  • Keep it simple – such sound advice Sharon. Getting back to basics and finding ways to simplify my life has certainly helped me in the battle of the budget!

  • MamaRed

    It is interesting how the shifts are coming, fast and furious, to look very clearly at what we’re doing, what we really “need” vs. what we’ve been conditioned to “think” we need. Simplify is a word we can use in so many ways. Thanks for the reminder that there even more things we can look at and enjoy this new drug of choice (love the wording.

  • Cathy Taughinbaugh

    Hi Sharon,

    Love this line – “nothing is more empowering than being able to pay your bills.” That is the key to financial peace of mind. I’ve had periods of my life were I was overextended years ago, but i do realize now the importance of keeping things simple and not overspending.

  • Simplifying your life does give you a peace of my. Knowing whats important and clearly seeing what direction to take lets go of so much stress around money. Thanks for this post, Sharon.

  • Peace of mind about our finances is part of our well-being. Great article. Thank you. Xx

  • Pat Moon

    We have let go of many things over the past few years and are doing just fine without them, it is a bit of a challenge to think of 3 more things we can do without easily. We have already determined that we do not need 2 houses (a winter and a summer house) and actually have both of them on the market. Neither are selling mainly because they are in the luxury home category so are in a niche market. I could easily agree that we do not need a nice horse trailer especially since we have not been able to afford to purchase horses. I could also agree that we could get by with only one vehicle because most of the time, my husband and I go everywhere together. I would get rid of the large 4×4 diesel pickup that we purchased to pull the horse trailer except for the fact we would have no way to travel with our 2 large dogs. The camper shell on the back serve as their traveling dog house. I have already made the decision that we will not replace the 2 large dogs when they die.. they will both be 13 years old in March. If we get another dog it will be a smaller dog and only one. I actually would like to live without a dog for awhile but I’m not sure my hubby will go along with that. We have the excuse that we will need both of those items (the trailer & the truck) when we sell one of the houses in order to move large bulky items that would cost a fortune to hire a moving company to move. We could almost get by without cell phones especially since we do not have cell service at one of our houses. A cell phone almost seems like a safety thing for 2 70 year olds that need to travel at least some. We have already cut back on groceries, supplements, and trips to town (a 35 mile round trip). We’ve even cut back on trips to see family. Once we sell one of our houses we will be able to get rid of many duplicates and simplify even more. I enjoyed your article and it was very thought provoking.. sorry I could not come up with 3 things right now.

  • Peace of mind is priceless. Simplicity is key.

  • The Reality CHECK is Sooo Important… You offer a great service to many

  • ahh yes.. we had to change our plan and I’m so glad we aren’t AT retirement age and still have years to get it together. Love your blog, Sharon.

  • I had to go through this simplify effort (and then I repeated the effort on three more, separate occasions) but boy has it been worth it – peace of mind. This is a terrific article and one I’ll definitely be sharing – thanks, Sharon!

  • Moving to South Africa meant simplifying like I have never before in my life. I had NO IDEA what all I had in the States….paired down and streamilned now and though a bit more than I wish to be for much longer, there is freedom!

  • There is definitely something to be said for peace of mind. As a heart attacker survivor I learned that the hard way and every decision I make now takes that peace of mind into account because I’m not giving it up!

  • You are spot on with this post Sharon…and how many many people strive for this. I think the world is making a clear shift from the material things to the internal things 🙂

  • Sharon, your reality check goes nicely with the idea of downsizing. Just as corporations have had to do that with their staffs (happened to me 3 times), we’ll want to do that with our lives. At Second Lives Club it’s about starting over again and we don’t need all the baggage from our first lives if you will. Thanks for your thoughts on this.

  • My husband and I are taking a road trip on the motorcycle. So I have to pack for a week in a saddle bag. I think I will be learning what I can live with out on this trip. I am jazzed about it too! Thanks for sharing!

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