My Quest To Find Financial Peace Of Mind

There are thousands of personal finance books, magazines, radio and TV shows.  Yet money anxiety persists. No one is immune.
Financial fear lurks in the once safe nooks and crannies of our daily lives. Millions of hardworking Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck. With economic uncertainty so high, even those with emergency funds and retirement accounts are prone to night sweats about their financial futures.

Our money is holding us hostage. Like a bag over our heads, financial anxiety prevents us from seeing and feeling the truest of joys that life has to offer.  

I’ve spent the past few years traveling around the country speaking and connecting with folks about money. And it’s become crystal clear to me that we are whirling around like a centrifuge when it comes to our personal finances. There is a lot of movement, but no forward progress.
Time and again I’m asked the same 20 basic money questions. Over and over I cite the same 20 core financial answers.  Yet it feels like nothing is changing. As a society we remain twisted up in severe money pain.
Clearly, there’s another dimension to our personal finances that has yet to be addressed.
Lately I’ve been thinking about the concept of a “money tree.” In this image, the leaves represent the traditional financial advice we’ve all been hearing for years; the branches, our emotions; the trunk, our familial and cultural programming; and the roots (deep underground and invisible to the naked eye), our spiritual underpinnings.
To date, 90% of our energies have been focused on fixing our financial leaves. But a tree cannot be healthy if the branches are overburdened, the trunk is damaged, or the roots are weak. Likewise, my hunch is that our financial lives cannot be rejuvenated without an equally holistic remedy.

So with this post I am embarking upon a one-year journey – a quest to find financial peace of mind. My goal is to find “something” that in one fell swoop will help us never worry about money again.

Photo credit: neilio / ccl

Photo credit: neilio / ccl

My hope with this adventure is to find a framework or concept that can be used by all people in all situations to soothe money pain. A tool that works – regardless of your age, gender, income, occupation, or religious affiliation – to guide you to make a lifetime of financial decisions that make your heart sing. Just in the way a scared kitten might hide under a sofa, I want to help call out our money joy from wherever it has sequestered itself from so many of us for so long.
Crazy idea?

“Problems can’t be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.”
-Albert Einstein.

In a couple of very messy areas of my own personal life I’ve seen how this works. With regards to food, Suze Orbach and Geneen Roth have taught us the power of “eating what our bodies want.” With regards to human interaction, Marianne Williamson and Gabrielle Bernstein have shown us the power of assessing our actions through a spectrum of “love versus fear.” These simple frameworks have powerfully transformed our relationships with ourselves and with each other. These touchstones work because they come at the underlying problem from a vastly different consciousness than the one that originally birthed the problem.
I believe deep down, at a guttural level, that there is a financial equivalent out there as well…
If this resonates with you, then please join me on this journey to MoneyZen. Together we can find the pathway to financial peace of mind.

30 Replies to “My Quest To Find Financial Peace Of Mind”

  1. I am on board.  I love reading your articles, however I believe if we all feel that we are on the journey together, we are more likely to follow the steps necessary for achieving financial peace of mind. This is very exciting.

    1. Thanks, Shirley – and I have a hunch that community is part of the answer, literally & figuratively, to the quest for peace of mind. So the more of us on this journey the stronger it will be!

  2. Count me IN! What a perfect analogy. While I’m encouraged by my work at strengthening the “trunk” of kids’ financial literacy, that doesn’t help the rest of us who are already all grown up. It will be a pleasure to watch your journey unfold, and I look forward to personally incorporating what you discover along the way!

  3. I’m in! Thank you for helping me think in terms of connecting the spiritual, emotional, and practical aspects of how I think of money.  Experiencing ‘the truest joys that life has to offer’ without financial anxiety is a wonderful goal. My focus going forward.

  4. Great post, Manisha. I think you’re on to something. Inner peace tends to radiate out to externalities like money and career. It’s something I believe we’ve lost during this decade of tragedy starting with 9/11.  Looking inward at our true selves, not ourselves as defined by our circumstances, can give us the answers we need.
    Good luck.

    1. YES YES YES – could not agree with you more… the “lost decade” is really what it feels like. Love the way you put this: “Looking inward at our true selves, not ourselves as defined by our circumstances…” well put!

  5. As a stay at home mom with no income of my own and dwindling savings, I have been having a financial crisis of my own. I have had to do some serious evaluations of my relationship with my husband as well as my feelings about money, financial responsibility, retirement, savings, work, my entire financial being. The place I ended up was not one that I expected. I have spent the last year and a half trying to think of ways to make money here and there while staying home with my son. I have given up on that train of thought and instead bought a book on minimalism. I am in the process of streamlining my life, shedding everything that is extraneous, everything that weighs me down. I am settling into a life of less stuff and more quality. I am looking at my surroundings and taking inventory of all that I have and feeling grateful to be provided for rather than frantically trying to find more money so that I can buy more stuff. It is a difficult but also very rewarding process. I feel like I am getting back to my roots, to the core of what is important, and finding what is most valuable to me.

    1. I just had to say that this is amazing. It reminds me of a similar pivotal moment: A friend was over my house, surveying our mess. She said, “You need a bigger house.” and I thought, “Nah. I just need less stuff!” Ever since then, I’ve been purging…making room within what we have…and feeling more grateful for it. (LOL – though for some reason, the house is still a mess…) Now it seems it’s time to apply the same principal to my finances, too!

    2. Ooooh – your comment made my toes tingle. I love how you put this: “I am settling into a life of less stuff and more quality. I am looking at my surroundings and taking inventory of all that I have and feeling grateful to be provided for rather than frantically trying to find more money so that I can buy more stuff.” Go you for slowing down to identify what brings you the most meaning and joy in life –> and for sharing your inspiring journey with us.
      And To Alisa’s point – soooo true, for so many of us the answer very well may not be more house but less stuff!

  6. Manisha-
                           This is a fantastic idea!  It is crucial to look at our lives holistically as things are shifting so dramatically. I look forward to teh journey…….

  7. I’ll come with you on your journey Manisha as I think it’s a truly worthwhile one. While I have no debt and doing pretty well biz wise I do believe its time to adopt more of a bountiful attitude to cashola and all the ways it can benefit me and others in my life and be enriching, not limiting

  8. I would love to join you on this journey.  I have had a mind shift change and change in my financial circumstances over the past couple of years and have discovered that even though my income levels have dropped dramatically, if I still think of myself as abundant and blessed, my happiness levels aren’t affected dramatically. 

  9. I wish you the best of luck on your journey.  I’ve always believed that the “system we use is the solution.”  The question is what “system” of believe will help us settle in on our angst?  Is it a formula for looking at our money life differently?
    It is a bit like trying to find a theory that fits all “angst money matters.”  Isn’t it interesting you quoted Einstein who set out to make sense of the universe.  E=MC2.  Simple yet brilliant.  And of course under challenge at every turn.
    FPM=??? (Financial Peace of mind =???).
    Good luck!

    1. FPM = ???
      Love that framework :). What immediately comes to mind are words like “here, now, love”. And interestingly, as soon as I let my mind wander away to thoughts of “progress, more, better” I find myself tensing up. Yet there are many wonderful things birthed from that very human urge to move forward. Maybe the answer is some sort of combination. You’ve got me thinking about Force = Mass * Acceleration. FPM = “progress*HERE, more*NOW, better*LOVE” ??? –> much to challenge and marinate on. Thanks for sharing, Cody!

  10. Great idea! I love the idea of a money tree. It’s hard to “grow” money if you haven’t created strong roots and branches.  I once took a workshop where we learned how “Money is Love” and that shifted some core beliefs for me (there’s a book on that now).  Looking forward to more on this topic.

    1. Rachel – oooh, would you feel comfortable sharing any of those core beliefs that shifted? Or alternatively, are there any topics that you’d like to see this blog address? Am eager to put out pieces that help us all get stronger roots and branches!

  11. I’m on a quest to find my own money zen as well Manisha.  Your message came at just the right time as I am about to take back my financial life from my biz manager temporarily, I’m not taking on any clients right now so I can become my own best client and get conscious about my financial situation.  I’ve decreased my expenses SIGNIFICANTLY so I can say no to new work and  figure out what I really need to be happy.  I’m looking forward to following your journey and sharing mine along the way.  Love you.

    1. Sweet Alexis – Oy, so sorry for the ridiculously delayed reply. LOVE that you have adjusted your expenses to give yourself the freedom & mental space to identify what will really make your heart sing. To Natalie’s point about figuring out how to make money truly an enriching not limiting part of your life… my hunch is that having a fully conscious relationship with it is an important (if not the essential!) starting point. To that end, brava sista, on taking back your financial life. Sending you a huge karmic hug. Can’t wait to hear how your journey goes. Knowing you, it will be a beautiful site to behold.

  12. As a country we need to realize that we have been spoiled rotten. Worse our kids are spoiled rotten. We have created all these superficial needs. Lets start with cell phones, Bye the way i gave mine up! Yes as a business owner and all. Why have a cell phone when emailing is free. You can always call on Gmail too. I think i am the last person on Earth without a cell phone. Ask a person in a tight financial situation if they would let go of their cell phones: No Way! I can’t live without it. How about cable TV?  How that second car?
    My point is that we need to take a good look at what our 21st century needs have created. Being Frugal is a new word for being wise.
     As a Nation we also need to spend more one on one, active time with our children and Family. By family i mean, grand parents,siblings and spouses.  
    The best memories in Life are the one’s spent with Family.
    What makes a memory last: emotion!

    1. Marie – If I could hug you through the computer I would. What you describes resonates so strongly not just with you & I but I am happy to report also a growing of others. Books like RESET by Kurt Russell and THE NEW FRUGALITY by Chris Farrell are excellent starts. Michelle Singletary of The Washington Post has also been a long and early advocate for a nationwide return to sanity.
      This is a key theme that I’m going to be focusing my work on over the coming year… I like to think of it as mindful, conscious spending –> grounded in a solid understanding of the basics of personal finance (which will quickly make it clear why all to many well-intentioned Americans are living lifestyles they simply can not afford for reasons that honestly, may not be bringing them joy in the first place).
      Thank you so much for chiming in on this important topics – and go you on the no cell phone front. I’m very impressed :). Warmly, Manisha

    2. Ps: I got so excited about “being frugal” as the new phrase for “being wise” — that I neglected to mention how much I concur about the importance of how and where we spend our time. I frequently find that the people I love most dearly (my husband, my parents, my brother & sis-in-law) all too often get short changed by “work demands” that are for what? With our love & emotion… what is the point of it all. My hope with this new concepts I’m working on (calling it “MoneyZen” is to help realign all those wacky kinks that have crept into modern life.). So thanks for this excellent point as well, Marie!

  13.  It is so amazing to read how different questions lead to the same solution.  I’m a professional organizer and this purity is exactly what I try to accomplish in my own and my clients lives.  But not out of frugality but out of the deep routed knowledge that connecting with my child and family is more important then spending time collecting, cleaning and putting away our stuff.  Having moved countless times over the years I noticed that my happiness didn’t depend on the amount of memorabilia or previously loved items in our home. But rather on the beauty and simplicity around me.  Which I could generate with even one twig in a vase.

    1. Fascinating isn’t it how mastery in virtual any discipline leads you back to a small word that packs a powerful punch – JOY :). Thanks for sharing such a beautiful example!

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