For many people, money is a stressful subject. How can you lower your stress levels over handling money, and how can this make you more productive? Can you use this stress positively, or does it paralyze you? On this weeks Goldstein on Gelt show, David Allen, an author, consultant, lecturer, founder and CEO of the David Allen Company tells us more.
Posts Tagged ‘Money’
As Pesach approaches, the themes of freedom and liberation from slavery are prominent in a Jew’s mind. Indeed, the message of Pesach is one of the most powerful Jewish experiences, and many otherwise non-religious Jews find their way to a Pesach Seder.
Slavery in Egypt may seem like a distant memory to many Jewish Press readers, but take a moment to consider whether you are truly free. After all, doesn’t modern slavery come in the form of debt, overdraft, and heavy bills?
How free can you be facing bills, debts, long work hours and/or demanding employers? Can you consider yourself free if you spend nights worrying about how you will make it through the end of the month?
Maybe you and your spouse are both working full time. But those bills just keep coming in. You’re not even wasting your money on fancy vacations or designer clothes. Yet there seems to be a permanent hole in your bank account. Bills and expenses seem to pursue you wherever you go. You can feel like a slave.
Although everyone has his own story, one common thread to many families’ financial woes is that they aren’t managing their money properly. Unfortunately, money management and budgeting skills don’t occupy the same place on the school curriculum as math or history. As a result, many people never learn how to properly take care of their money, and they stumble and struggle to meet their daily expenses. Budgeting and financial planning need to be learned, no matter how old you are or at what stage of life you find yourself.
Successful finances require keeping track of spending and income. Start by keeping your receipts and noting down your daily expenses.
Learning to budget and plan efficiently can help liberate you from the slavery of overspending, fiscal disorganization, and debt.
What can you say about banks? While ATMs and online banking mean that you can do transactions and watch your account 24 hours a day, most people have never met their bank manager and the cozy feeling of having a local bank has been lost. This week, Doug speaks to Anat Admati, author of The Bankers New Clothes and a professor of economics at Stanford University, who explains the ins and outs of the banking system today.
Now that we’re well into 2013, last year has become a fuzzy memory. But for me it stands out as the year I started writing my blog here on The Jewish Press. In addition to reading my posts, for the past few months, you’ve been downloading the podcasts of my personal finance radio show. We’ve had a chance to meet outstanding personalities, including Nobel Prize winners Robert Aumann, Andre Geim, and Alvin Roth, best-selling authors Michael Starbird, Nicholas Wapshott, and Ken Rogoff, outstanding entrepreneur Gail Reynolds, chief scientist Harold Vinegar, and many others.
Hopefully, Goldstein on Gelt has not only entertained you, but has given you a new angle on personal finance and financial security. Guest Kevin Mitnick (professional computer hacker) and personal safety expert Bob Arno taught us innovative ways to safeguard our identity and possessions. Other guests Verne Harnish and Ken Fisher made us question how we make decisions, and challenged us to make better decisions to further our human potential, in all aspects of our lives, not just money.
I’d like to share these interviews and insights with you, so I compiled my favorite interviews of 2012 (it was so hard to pick!) into an e-book, The Best of Goldstein on Gelt 2012. Download it for free when you subscribe to receive updates as to who my weekly guests are, and broaden your definition of personal finance.
Stanley Fischer is the head of the Bank of Israel. As such, he is the government appointed goon in charge of money printing. In his infinite wisdom, he is supposed to know exactly what the supply of money should be, because he’s purportedly a chacham she-ein kamohu – a crazy genius who has a pulsating brain and somehow knows these things. Or maybe God comes to him in his sleep and tells him how many shekels should exist and how much he should print and when.
Or maybe he’s just some guy who has no idea what he’s doing, given a power the equivalent of an economic nuclear weapon, something that no one man should ever, ever have.
Stan the Super Shekel Man recently came out with an announcement that he would be quitting his post early. Aside from the speculation as to why (I think it’s because he knows there will be an unstoppable economic tsunami in the next 3-5 years and he wants to duck out early and quit while he’s ahead), I have seen nothing but wall to wall praise for this central planning money printing soviet-style currency czar. Sure he’s kindly, has a sweet voice, an endearing Zambian accent, cutely mixes up male and female in his Hebrew grammar all the time, and the Israeli economy didn’t totally collapse in 2008 so everyone assumes the money master is responsible for saving us all from destitution. But this is all a big, sad, sorry myth.
Let’s break it down.
Let’s step aside for a moment from the persona of Stan the Man himself. He as a person is not the main problem. As I said, he’s a nice guy. The main problem is the very system of central banking that give men like him inordinate power over all of our economic lives, a power which, once you realize the scope and consequences of it, can make you dizzy.
Imagine for a moment two national economies. One where the supply of shoes and their price is controlled by one man and anybody else who manufactures or uses shoes besides him goes to jail, and another where the supply of shoes and their price is controlled by the free market, meaning a myriad of entrepreneurs freely importing and exporting shoes based on the demand for them by customers. In a free market where anyone can manufacture and buy as many or as few shoes as he wants, the supply, demand, and price of shoes will tend to reach an equilibrium point where profits will remain constant and steady. Shoe firms like wholesalers, manufactures, and retailers, will all compete with each other to sell the most shoes to the public. In order to do this, they will have to make shoes of the highest possible quality at the lowest possible prices in order to attract buyers.
If the supply of shoes gets too high, shoe prices will tend to fall, lowering profit margins, thereby restricting the amount of shoes manufactured, choking off supply, and bringing shoe prices back up to equilibrium. If demand gets too high, shoe prices will tend to rise, increasing profit margins, encouraging shoemakers to produce more in order to earn those increased profits. This brings supply back up to match demand, bringing prices back down to equilibrium again.
Now, in an economy where the supply of shoes and their price is controlled by one man, let’s call him the chairman of the Shoe Bank of Israel, we are entrusting a single person to:
- Manufacture every single shoe in the country, because anyone else who does that is considered a shoe counterfeiter and goes to prison
- Know automatically what the supply of shoes in the country should be at any given moment
- Set the price of shoes at whatever he thinks it should be
- Not abuse this power
The shoe market in such a country would be a complete mess and everyone who needs shoes would be miserable. Since only one firm would be allowed to make and sell shoes, there would be no competition and the quality of the shoes would deteriorate. If the Chairman of the Shoe Bank of Israel set the price of shoes too low, meaning he underestimates demand, people would start hoarding the shoes and buying more than they need, and there would be shoe shortages. If he sets the price of shoes too high, meaning overestimates demand, people who needed new shoes would not buy them, instead waiting for a lower price. Perhaps they would attempt to repair their old shoes, or cut open the ends if they didn’t fit. Huge surpluses of shoes would result.
What do anorexia nervosa and financial planning have in common?
The answer is found in one of the most dangerous household items known to mankind – otherwise known as the bathroom scales. How many people, and especially teenage girls, have the compulsion to weigh themselves and then, panicking at the numbers that appear, decide to go on a drastic diet?Sometimes, of course, a person may be suffering from a real weight or health problem and they need to go on a diet. However, many times, these diets are unnecessary. Yet people are so obsessed by the ideal of “thin is beautiful” that they will put themselves through the most awful tortures to achieve it, sometimes to a life-threatening extent.
A few months ago, Israel led the world in the war on anorexia and other eating disorders by enacting a law banning models with a BMI of 18.5 or less from the fashion world. The idea is to stop young women from aspiring to be too thin and even endangering their lives in the pursuit of an unhealthy ideal. This idea has been widely applauded throughout the globe and not only in the fashion industry. It is hoped that more countries will jump on the bandwagon, encouraging people to be healthy rather than painfully skinny.
The healthiest diet is the balanced diet
There’s no need to either starve yourself or overindulge. The same idea applies to your financial plan. Sometimes, you might look at the figures (think bathroom scales!) and feel so overwhelmed that you think you need to slim down your expenses drastically. But is that really what you need to do? Conversely, just as you may suddenly get an urge to eat an entire chocolate cake, you may sometimes find yourself spending excessively without any restraint.
In the world of finance, neither approach is ideal. You’re earning money and investing it so that you can live a good life, both now and later on when you retire. If you “starve” yourself, depriving yourself of essentials that you need and are still able to afford, your quality of life will suffer. And if you spend with abandon, you will soon find yourself “overweight” with debt.
What is the best financial diet?
In order to find the best financial “diet,” create an effective financial plan. As they say, “information is power,” and just as you learned about nutrition to fuel your body properly, learn about budgeting and investing to fuel your finances.
Start by reading some informative personal finance articles. Once you mastered the balance between “starving” and “overindulging” your finances, you can look forward to a healthier life and retirement.
Stress and money often go together, especially during the winter months. This week, therapist, educator, and life coach Diane Lang returns to the Goldstein on Gelt show to share her insights on stress and money. Why is money such a cause of tension in the home? And does it really need to be? According to Diane, positive psychology and optimism are important skills that can turn your life around. Listen to her interview on this week’s show to find out how to develop them.