Category: Get Inspired

This is where we breathe. Find resources to motivate, inspire and explore the “why” behind stepping into financial power. Reconnect with the bigger picture, have some fun, take delight.

Prepping for Conversations About Finances

Published in: Blog, Get Inspired, Get Smart |

Financial discussions with our partners and other family members – about spending habits and budgets, long-term retirement plans or other money-related concerns – are necessary but often difficult conversations. We all have been faced at one time or another with thorny issues surrounding our financial well-being, and we often put off talking about such issues until we reach a crucial point or crisis. How can you diffuse the tensions surrounding your current finances so you can talk frankly, openly and honestly as you plan for your financial future? The Humphreys Group advisors recommend stepping back to look at the big picture before you get to specific money talk:

To prepare for a conversation about finances, first examine your financial backstory by asking yourself a few questions:

What do I specifically want to achieve with this conversation? Let’s face it: you won’t be able to address all of your financial issues and concerns in a single discussion. The more focused you can be about the financial topic you’d like to discuss, and the more concrete you can be about the possible ways to resolve your issue will help you establish a foundation that enables you to address other issues on a case-by-case basis over time.

What causes me to see financial conversations as a challenge? Perhaps you assume how a finance-related conversation with your partner or other family members is going to go before it even starts. Those assumptions may cause you to begin conversations already on the defense. Resolve to handle each conversation as its own event and work to stay in the “now.” By focusing on specific goals for a specific talk you’re less likely to be influenced by your pre-conceived notions about how it will play out.

What about my finances makes me emotional? What causes me the most worry and how do my concerns affect my conversation – my tone, my words, and even my body language? If you’re aware that your stress about finances is revealed in physical and vocal ways, practice having a calm and centered approach even before you engage with another person so that you wind up being less confrontational and more communicative about your concerns.

When you begin your conversation, keep in mind a few other things:

Be curious and inquisitive of your conversation-mate(s).  Start talking by expressing your point of view and let them know you want to hear theirs before you begin tackling your shared financial issues and concerns. “I’d like to talk about” or “I need your help with something” are good ways to begin.

Acknowledge points of view that are not your own. Listen to what the other parties in your conversation have to say and don’t minimize the other party’s stance. Give them space and time to articulate their perspectives and acknowledge when something matters to them by noting “This sounds important to you.” You’ve done the homework on your own conversation style, now pay attention to their tone, word choices and body language for clues about how they’re feeling as you tackle the tough issues together.

Find places in the conversation to empathize and agree. Perhaps your key money concerns are somewhat different. Perhaps you are both focused on the same issues but are affected by them differently. Acknowledge that recognizing your shared financial concerns doesn’t mean your priorities line up about which ones to tackle first. By outlining the issues that exist and learning how each person feels about them, you can work together to prioritize which ones to address.

Breaks are allowed. If the conversation becomes too heated, agree to step away momentarily so you can center yourselves and begin again with a greater sense of calm and focus.

As with any art, conversations improve with practice. And progress often comes step-by-step. Individuals who are engaged and committed to the challenge of having difficult conversations about their finances are taking a first step to be proud of. Keep taking the steps to understand your own “financial issues backstory” and listen to what your conversation mate is saying about their money concerns so that over time you can brainstorm solutions and problem-solve together through conversations that are a little less difficult – and that ensure a mutually healthy financial future.

 

Money Conversations

Published in: Blog, Get Inspired, Get Smart |

Think of a conversation about money that could have gone better.  How do you remember that experience?  Did you go into that conversation with a purpose or intention?  What would have been your ideal outcome?  Now, see the conversation from the other person’s perspective.  Did you consider their needs or fears?  Look to the other person to help reframe the conversation and shape solutions.

Stress-Free Money Conversation

Published in: Blog, Get Inspired |

Want to have stress-free, open conversations about money?  A good first step to take often starts with a reflection about how you feel about money and why.  Understanding your historical factors can help you be open in your present money conversations. It can also help in expressing why you feel a certain way about your personal finances.  Start with these three questions and then dig deeper.

  1. What was your first money memory and how do you think that memory has impacted your thinking about money?
  2. Did your parents talk to you openly about the family’s finances or were you on a need to know basis?
  3. How old were you when you learned how much your parents earned?  How did you react to this?

 

Want to Have More Effective Money Conversations? Consider These Four Tips

Published in: Blog, Get Inspired, Get Smart, Uncategorized |

Want to Have More Effective Money Conversations? Consider These Four Tips

By: Diane Bourdo, President – The Humphreys Group

 

In today’s digitally driven world, many aspects of our daily lives are easier than ever. We get answers to questions in minutes — sometimes even seconds — with the click of a button. Friends and family can stay up to date on important news (or something as simple as your morning latte order) by quickly scrolling through Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

 

And yet, with all of these advancements and countless channels at our fingertips, many of us still struggle to communicate with each other. We’re talking about real, personal communication — not text messages or emails sent through your smartphone.

 

Communication can be made even more difficult when the topic at hand is anxiety-inducing or uncomfortable. Take money, for example. In its 2017 Money Matters report, which surveyed 3,000 Americans ages 18–44, investing app Acorns revealed that 72% of respondents would rather talk about their weight than how much they had in savings.[1]

 

But the truth is, talking about money doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, when broached appropriately, money conversations can actually bring positive, life-changing results — an enjoyable retirement and a secure future for your children, to name a few. Whether it’s with your spouse, parents or children, here are four tips to help ensure your money conversations are healthy and productive:

  1. Think ahead. Proactivity is great, but it’s important to take some time to plan your approach to starting the conversation, especially if the topic is sensitive to your audience (for instance, discussing long-term care with an aging parent). Pause for a moment, be calm and think about the effects of what you’ll be presenting to the other party, including potential assumptions or perceptions. Being thoughtful about the preparation process will allow you to have more meaningful, productive dialogue.

      2. Don’t blindside the other party. Once you’ve thought through your approach and prepared appropriately, set a date and location for your conversation. Choose a time when you both will be more relaxed and comfortable. For instance, choosing to discuss finances with your spouse after a long day of work may fuel existing stress or exhaustion, which will likely derail your discussion. It also may be helpful to agree on the length of your conversation — some people are exhausted by long conversations, while others prefer to walk while talking about tough topics.

      3. Be honest about your intentions. When starting your money conversation, you should avoid catching the other person off-guard — but you also don’t want them to become defensive. State your intentions and explain why the conversation is important to you. Consider structuring your introduction like this:

 

“I feel like the way we’re handling our credit cards is creating tension between us. I would like for us to work together to find some agreement so we can deal with this issue as a team. I have an idea for a new approach that could help, and I’d like for us to really listen to each other.”

 

     4. Prepare and practice. If there are multiple money issues you need to discuss with your audience, don’t panic. Start small by broaching easier topics first, and then work up to bigger issues over time. It may help you to write down what you want to say and practice the conversation aloud to yourself or with a friend.

 

Put simply, communication, on any topic and in any form, can be hard — even when it’s with the people you trust and care about most. But if you prepare and approach the conversation in a respectful way, you can surmount money challenges and come out the other side with renewed perspective and confidence.

 

You can also enlist the help of experienced, trusted professionals, so you don’t have to start the process on your own. At The Humphreys Group, we’ve helped countless clients navigate tough money conversations and reach positive resolutions. Contact our team to learn more.

[1] 2017 Money Matters™ Report, Acorns, https://sqy7rm.media.zestyio.com/Acorns2017_MoneyMattersReport.pdf, accessed September 2018.

Oraibi Village, Arizona Hopi Nation

Published in: Blog, Get Inspired |

You have been telling people that this is the eleventh hour, 

Now you must go back and tell people that this is the hour! 

And there are things to be considered… 

 

Where are you living? 

What are you doing? 

What are your relationships?  

Are you in right relation?  

Where is your water?  

 

Know your Garden.  

It is time to speak your truth.  

Create your community.  

Be good to yourself.  

And not look outside of yourself for a leader.  

 

This could be a good time!  

 

There is a river flowing very fast.  

It is so great and fast that there are those who will be afraid.  

They will hold on to the shore.  

They will feel that they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.  

 

Know that the river has its destination.  

The elders say that we must let go of the shore,  

push off into the middle of the river,  

keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.  

 

And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate.  

At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all, ourselves.  

For the moment that we do,  

our spiritual growth comes to a halt.  

 

The time of the lone wolf is over.  

Gather yourselves!  

Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.  

All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.  

 

We are the ones that we have been waiting for.  

 

Attributed to an unnamed Hopi Elder 

Oraibi Village, Arizona Hopi Nation 

Clouded Judgement

Published in: Blog, Get Inspired |

 Most financial advisors will tell you that emotions cloud your judgment and provoke irrational behavior.  They have no place among the pie charts and annualized returns on your financial plan and it’s best to compartmentalize your feelings and save them for your therapy appointments.  At @Humphreys-Group, we believe that the idea that emotion (and even more broadly, values) should remain separate from money and investing is a myth.

 

Elephant and Rider

Published in: Blog, Get Inspired |

Most financial advisors will tell you that emotions cloud your judgment. They provoke irrational behavior and have no place among the pie charts and annualized returns on your financial plan. It’s best to compartmentalize your feelings and save them for your therapy appointments.
But in our opinion, the idea that emotion—and more broadly, values—should remain separate from money and investing is simply untrue
Expertise and empathy both have roles to play in your finances. It’s not“either/or”—that’s a false choice. Your history, current situation, and future ambitions influence every financial decision you make. Disregarding this fact is doing a disservice to your well-lived experiences.
Recently, we came across the metaphor about the elephant and its rider, which was first described in a book titled “The Happiness Hypothesis” by Jonathan Haidt and then summarized in “Switch” by Chip and Dan Heath.
The elephant represents our emotional side and its rider represents our rational side. The rider is perched atop the elephant, holds the reins and seems to be in control. However, this control is precarious because the rider is so small relative to the elephant. Anytime the elephant disagrees with the rider when deciding which direction to take, the rider loses, completely overmatched by the elephant.
Often, we think about our strong emotions in negative terms. When we sleep in, as opposed to getting to the gym before work. When we dial up an old flame at midnight. When we procrastinate. But we know there are always pros and cons to every decision we make. What about the elephant? The elephant’s weakness(i.e., our emotion and intuition) is that she can be lazy and skittish, and is often looking for a quick payoff. The elephant is usually willing to sacrifice long-term payoffs in order to get instant gratification.
But we love our elephants!
Emotions don’t always have to be bad influences. Love, compassion, sympathy, and loyalty are real strengths; our protective instincts and resolve to stand up for ourselves and others are strengths, too. And the rider? The rider’s strength is her ability to think longterm—to think beyond the moment. Her downside? She’s prone to analysis paralysis, spinning her wheels and overthinking things.
Here’s the deal: To change things, you need both types of emotions. The rider provides the planning and direction, while the elephant provides the energy. Acting alone, the reluctant elephant and wheel-spinning rider ensure that nothing changes—but when they move together, change comes easily.
The whole point of this metaphor is to illustrate the power of guiding the elephant in the right direction. If you can do that, there’s no stopping you. We focus on emotion because it is such a powerful tool to keep your financial future moving in a positive direction. Our goal is to help encourage the elephant to follow the path that you’ve laid out.

Myth #1: Men Are Better Investors Than Women

Published in: Blog, Financial Myth Busting Series, Get Inspired, Get Smart |

At The Humphreys Group, it’s no secret that we revere the many ways women today are breaking through gender stereotypes. Lately, we’ve been especially fascinated by stereotypes that permeate discussions about women and money. These phrases probably sound familiar: “Women aren’t interested in investing. They lack confidence about their financial decisions. When women do invest, they’re too risk averse.” By and large, these – as well as many other commonly accepted notions in finance, by the way – are all myths.

That’s why we’re going to spend the coming weeks busting myths about women and money and shining a light on the data that disproves them. We’ll also share what we’ve learned from our work with clients, and offer some thoughts on what we can all do to re-direct the conversation from myth to truth
Read more

Insights & Outcomes: What’s Your Worth? The Art of Being Your Own Advocate

Published in: Blog, Get Inspired |

 

When you go out into the woods, and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘You are too this, or I’m too this.’ That judgment mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.

~Ram Dass


June 23, 2017

It was the Summer Solstice when we held our Conversation Circle this week, and Ram Dass’ words helped us quiet our judging minds and set stage for our exploration of “What’s Your Worth:  the Art of Being Your Own Advocate.”  Cultural stereotypes being what they are, men are generally expected to be ambitious, assertive, self-confident and direct. Women, conversely, are expected to be unselfish, caring, emotionally expressive and skilled at interpersonal relationships. As a result, men are expected to advocate for themselves and are in fact liked when they do so.  Women?  Not so easy. There is a social cost to women when they self-advocate. Specifically, they are less liked by both men and women when seen to be self-advocating. This matters – being liked is a powerful tool of persuasion – whether it be at work, the neighborhood block party or the doctor’s office.

We briefly considered the findings of a 2013 survey (conducted jointly by Women of Influence and Thompson Reuters) which polled 326 senior executive women from across North America. For the women in our circle, one takeaway was clear:  the struggle is real. The study found that the challenge women feel when self-advocating does not diminish as we get older or as we gain status and achievement. 76% of survey respondents said they were challenged in area of self-promotion, advocating for themselves, expressing their talents. 74% scored themselves low in negotiating.

Happily, the news is not all bad. Women have superpowers! What are we great at? Advocating for others. Research shows that when women negotiate on behalf of someone else instead of themselves, their performance improves dramatically and gender differences in negotiation are eliminated. Sometimes they even perform better than men. The trick then, is to translate our strength in advocating for others into doing the same for ourselves.

That was our starting point as we took turns talking about a time when we went to bat for someone else. As listeners, we had the opportunity to reflect on the resources and strengths the we heard that the storyteller called on, on behalf of another. Using this success as a springboard, we used a series of questions to explore (in writing) a time we had successfully self-advocated – whether financial or non-financial in nature. And before we closed the circle, we had an opportunity to share our experiences and thoughts with the full group.

After sharing these insights with each other, we went home with a few key takeaways. We learned that we should enlist the support of our fans by asking them to advocate for us, and of course, support them in return. When self-advocating, we should also position our self-interests as part of something larger, connected to the greater good. All the while, it helps to remind ourselves that if we feel discomfort, we are not alone: it is a common reaction shared by many other women and an enduring result of our society’s gender stereotypes. We ended the circle feeling hopeful that advocating for ourselves and others will impact not just our lives and careers, but the lives and careers of others.  Advocating for yourself – worthwhile in itself – is still advocating for others.

Even on the longest day of the year, the evening flew by!  We all sensed that in spite of our enlivened, open and insightful conversation, we had only just scratched the surface.  There will be plenty more to explore in future circles!

Warm regards,

Diane, Lexi & Hallie