Your Financial Container
post by guest blogger, Kate Northrup
Freedom tastes the best when combined with a generous dollop of home. In other words, it’s easier to spring off into endless possibilities and expansion and ecstatic creation in your life if you’ve got a firm foundation, if you feel safe and grounded.
When I sold my apartment, got rid of most of my physical belongings, and headed out in my Prius to be purposefully homeless for an indefinite period of time while driving around the country teaching about financial freedom I had a strong interior sense of home. The Freedom Tour was only possible because of my strong container.
My mom still lives in the house I grew up in. My grandmother and uncle still live on the property where my grandmother raised her six kids. My dad still spends summers in the home that his mother spent summers as a child. My roots run deep and that’s why I feel so safe to fly.
What does freedom mean when it comes to our money?
When it comes to our money, we have to have a solid container in order to be able to create financial abundance and financial freedom. I define financial freedom as having your passive or residual income greater than or equal to your living expenses. What’s great about this equation is that you can move towards financial freedom both by increasing your passive/residual income and also by simplifying your life to decrease your expenses.
As opposed to models of financial success that measure only your income, financial freedom actually measures your quality of life. When your passive/residual income is greater than your living expenses, you’re officially free to choose to spend your time however you’d like to spend it. And choice is the ultimate currency of freedom.
How strong is your container?
As you’re working towards increasing your passive/residual income by doing things like investing in real estate or paper assets, creating intellectual property, building an online business and selling digital products, building a network marketing business, or joining affiliate programs, you can also start creating a strong home for your money. The stronger your money home, or container, is, the more free you’ll be able to become.
A strong container for your money includes the following:
- A great financial team (accountant, bookkeeper, financial advisor, lawyer, investment broker, etc.)
- A regular practice of keeping track of your expenses and income (use a bookkeeper, spreadsheet, notebook, or Quickbooks)
- A plan for paying off any debt you have
- A regular practice of putting attention on your bank statements and investment account statements
- A plan and regular practice of putting money away in savings/investment/retirement accounts
- Paying attention to your money in whatever way feels nourishing and important
Some of you just read that and practically fell asleep due to boredom, had your eyes completely glaze over, or left your body. For those of you who think paying attention to your money is something that somebody else should do for you, is over your head, or is terminally boring, listen up!
It’s time to start paying attention to your money like your life depends on it.
Because it does.
I used to avoid looking at my bank balance, my account statements, and my credit cards bills with mounting balances that I wasn’t paying off because I thought that paying attention to my money in that way meant a lack mentality. I had read tons of metaphysical books on money that had told me to create abundance by acting as if I had the amount of money I wanted, to trust that the universe would take care of me, and to believe that there was more than enough to go around and that I was deserving of prosperity.
That was all fine and good but somehow I missed a major piece of the equation. There’s a great African proverb that says:
When you pray, move your feet.
I was doing the praying part without being willing to hold up my end of the bargain. And as a result of my financial oblivion and avoidance I ended up in nearly $20,000 worth of credit card debt. I felt like a failure and an imposter.
One day I was on a plane flying from San Diego back to New York City writing in my journal. Something amazing happens to me when I’m on a plane; it’s as though I’m closer to God and I get really good downloads of insight. As I wrote in my journal about my lack of financial awareness and why I couldn’t seem to get myself to pay attention in the way I knew I should or spend within my means, it hit me:
My lack of financial awareness that manifested in me spending beyond my means was a way of keeping myself small.
Woah. I had never realized before that paying attention to my money and spending within my means could be a vehicle for taking exquisite care of myself and a manifestation of self-love. I did a 180 degree turn and started to create a strong container for my money. I looked at my bank balance every day and gave gratitude for what I had. I wrote down all of my debt with the APR rates and due dates of minimum payments. I started opening and reading every single account and financial statement. I started to pay attention to my money as a way of loving myself.
And guess what happened? In record time I was able to pay off all of my debt. About three years after my airplane insight about money and self-love I have more in savings and I make close to 100% more than I did when I was not practicing the proper care and feeding of my money.
I created a strong container for my money with care and attention, all sourced from love. If you want to live a life where you have the choice to spend your precious time, the most valuable commodity you have, in the ways that give you the most joy and pleasure, it’s time to start building your container.
Give your money a strong foundation. Build a home for it and gather your team. Use financial awareness to expand your self-love. And then and only then, from this stable base, can you really fly and experience true freedom.
Kate Northrup is a multi- passionate entrepreneur, yogini, dancer, artist, researcher on what it takes to be free, and seeker. She also mentors wellness entrepreneurs to create financial freedom. www.katenorthrup.com