3 tools that helped me learn to manage my money after my husband died


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“Dear money,

I’m sorry to ignore you. I hate you, even. I know I need you. I’m ashamed to admit that I would love you so much more. You make me feel so safe one minute and so completely vulnerable the next. I know avoiding you is not the answer. “

So begins a letter I sat down to write in the summer of 2020, at the heart of my first search for a home that looked nothing like what I thought. Learning the ins and outs of real estate in the midst of a pandemic and making countless deals on places I’d seen through FaceTime, to be overbid I felt completely deflated. It wasn’t like that it was supposed to be.

My husband and I had saved up to buy our first home when he passed away very suddenly, shortly after my 31st birthday and just days before our wedding anniversary. According to our plans, when I wrote a letter to Money at the age of 34, we should have had our first child and looked for our new home as a family. I was ready – didn’t want to go through another pandemic lockdown in my tiny one-bedroom apartment on a busy street. I could improve my situation, then I would. A few resources have finally helped me achieve my goal.

Jen Sincero’s “You Are a Badass”

So as not to give up hope when the house hunt turned sour – more than once – I turned to a trusted resource: “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero. That letter I wrote to money? It’s a tool from Sincero’s book. There is real wisdom here, and much of it hard earned.

His philosophy of believing that what you want already exists, is already waiting for you to claim it, was revolutionary to me. And learning to approach things from a place of plenty instead of a place of scarcity has been helpful beyond money management.

Sincero’s pragmatic take on money inspired me to unbox my dysfunctional relationship with him. And so, I sat in a park on a hot June day, escaping the trapped heat of my tiny apartment, writing a letter to the money, sharing my hopes and dreams for it, and manifesting my new home – that already existed and was waiting for me to claim it.

I successfully bought my first home on September 1, 2020, leaving big city life behind. A year later, I started my own business and plan to dive back into “You Are a Badass” to write Part 2 of this Letter to Money as I go through another big change in life. life.

Shannon Lee Simmons’ “Money Without Worry”

That same summer, I read “Worry-Free Money” by Shannon Lee Simmons, personal finance expert and founder of the New School of Finance in Toronto. Simmons’ accessible book explores the psychology of money and humanizes finance for the reader.

One of my biggest takeaways from the book was recognizing and understanding my own “F * ck-It Moments”. For example, I had a rough day and chose to order take out instead of making dinner with the groceries I just bought – it’s a “fucking time”. Simmons shares tools to navigate these “F * ck-It Moments” with self-compassion, identify patterns of behavior, and keep them under control.

And then there’s the Beyoncé factor: learning to stop comparing my own financial situation to someone else’s. For example, how could my colleague buy a house in Toronto before the age of 30 with just one salary? Although their situation may be like mine, I really have no idea of ​​their financial situation; they might as well be Beyoncé.

The new school of finance

Whenever big changes happen in my life, my first stop is the office of Liz, my financial planner at the New School of Finance. I turn to Liz to help me plan and manage the big changes in life and adjust my finances accordingly.

I started working with Liz after my husband died and took the reins of our finances. She helped me prepare to buy my first home, clearing up the muddy process. And more recently when I decided to start my own business and go back to school, Liz helped me see that I could do it, empowering me to make another big change in my life by making it work. my finances for me.

Last summer, the first in my new home, I sat in my peaceful backyard re-reading “Worry-Free Money” and admiring the new patio I had built. A year earlier, I was reading Simmons’ book in a park to escape the heat and noise of my tiny apartment. I have been proactive in adding a variety of tools and resources to my financial management toolkit since taking charge of managing my finances after my husband passed away. Recognizing the inherently emotional nature of money has led me to resources that demystify the psychology of finance and provide tangible tools for navigating and healing unhealthy patterns.

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