Financial Crisis: Resources and Tools

It seems we can't go anywhere, nor read/listen to any media these days without being bombarded with news about the Global Financial Crisis. While I feel that calling the current challenges such a monumental name adds to and deepens the problem, that is a post for another blog. (Like this one!)

Today's post is about informing yourself, protecting yourself, and making yourself feel more secure and positive about your future. You are NEVER as out of control as you think.


If you are a regular reader here, you'll know that I am a big proponent of financial education, especially for women.

Children in our society rarely get ANYTHING in the way of financial and survival training, and this is especially true for girls. As adults, this doesn't change for most of us, as we struggle along from month to month hoping we'll have enough to pay for the bills. Many women face either overt 'finances are the man's responsibility' or subtle 'don't you worry about the finances, darling,' discrimination when it comes to family finances. Even those who handle the family's money are not given full reign in investing the money, nor full knowledge of where the money comes from.

If this is not the case for you, that's fantastic, however I'm still willing to bet you don't know enough about handling your money - how to invest it wisely and make it grow, to make the most of tax laws and regulations, to protect your assets from theft or financial drain in the form of fees, poor earnings or even fraud, etc.. And what about estate isses, potential divorce, employee grudges, random accidents and other potential challenges you may face?

If this 'financial crisis' has served to wake many people up and cause them to take a closer look at what they are doing with their money, then that effect, if not many others, is a good thing. Some basic steps you can take to inform and protect yourself, both now and for your future, include:

  • Your financial picture: Take a good look. Knowing where we really are is the first step to getting somewhere else. For years, it has been common practice for people to have their heads in the sand with respect to their spending habits. Sit down with all of your financial paperwork and get a good picture of what you've really got and what you really spend. Knowledge is always power (when it's used to make things better).
  • Credit card debt: Not only are you hurting these days - your credit card companies are hurting too. They do NOT want to write off any more bad debt, and may be more amenable to your requests for lenience. If you can make payments then try calling and working something out with them. Try also speaking with a debt counselor, who can advise the best way to save your credit rating while dealing with your debt.

  • Know your rights: ...AND your obligations. A meeting with a lawyer, an accountant, an insurance specialist and a financial advisor are always advised, no matter what the financial circumstances. You may want to add your local banker to that list as well. Imagine the benefits and peace of mind of having professionals on your side when you need them. They can save you money, protect you from unforeseen pitfalls, and ensure you are on the right track with your financial planning. Planning should include such things as insurance for disasters (from job loss or injury to unexpected acts of God, death of family breadwinner/s, protection against fraud or identity theft, etc.), plans for your assets should anything happen to you, and making the most of tax regulations. All of your planning should put you in a place of advantage, alleviating your current condition of living in fear and ignorance, perhaps making blunders with consequences you have yet to see.


One of the biggest steps you can take towards feeling empowered and hopeful is getting a financial education. This does NOT mean spending four years at business school. What it does mean is acquainting yourself with the ways of the financial world. Learning the common terms, the basics of money management and investing, and brainstorming alternative ways to create income are all a part of the financial learning curve, and you've got to start somewhere.

  • Local: Libraries are full of resources - just ask the librarian. He or she may not be financially savvy themselves, but can certainly direct you to the right sections. (My local library must think I'm nuts, as I have taken out probably over 200 books on finances and personal improvement over the past few years, but then who has to work at the library (them), and who has created the time and freedom to peruse the books and continue learning and improving (me)?) You may find some money management courses available through local schools or clubs. Also try your local and national business papers, and watching shows such as CNBC.
  • Online: You can find many group discussions on websites such as Yahoo!. Just search for financial forums and the like, and join up to start learning. You will also find many tools and resources at the Money/Finances section of

At first you may not understand much, but like any immersion program, your mind will begin to assimilate the information, especially if you combine learning venues. If this seems like a lot of time and trouble, just think of the alternative. NO ONE can do this for you, and your own future and peace of mind are worth the price, aren't they?


Aside from the complexities of how money works, there are challenges which not many people speak of in the financial education world. The two main ones involve a person's financial mindset, and indeed they both have a fundamental effect on what we do with our money, including how much we are able to attract and create. Let's deal with them one at a time:

1) The first challenge with mindset involves our emotions surrounding the topic of money. Although money itself is inert - just a form of exchange - the way we think about it and relate to it is definitely anything but. As you have no doubt noticed, money is one of most emotionally-charged subjects we ever face, affecting many facets of our lives. In order to improve our relationship with money, these emotions - and the limiting and conflicting beliefs which cause them - must be explored and improved upon. Many books and online resources have been created in recent years to help you do just that. Here are a few recommendations:

  • Build Your Money Muscles by Joan Sotkin: A brilliant book which gets to the heart of how we feel about money like no other I have read. This smart, eye-opening book is filled with detailed analyses and tests for exploring and improving our financial relationship, and is a must-read for this reason. Far from dry and boring, it is enlightening and fascinating, as well as effective.

  • The Breathing Prosperity blog: This resource was crated for exactly this reason - to help the founders (including myself) and readers explore and transform their/our thoughts and beliefs about money and prosperity. There is a wealth of articles here which deal with our mentality surrounding wealth, abundance and money in general - enough to keep you busy for a while. Warning: you may feel confronted, which is a good thing!

  • The Personal Development blog list: For tons of online reading, you'll find many choices on this list. A lot of people in the personal development world include financial abundance in their definition of lifestyle and personal improvement, and you'll find that many of these writers address financial issues, especially those relating to beliefs and behaviors.

  • Accept Your Abundance by Randy Gage: Get ready to confront your beliefs when you read this no-holds-barred, in your face dialogue. Randy is passionate about the lack of financial education in our society, and equally passionate about being honest about - and purging - the limiting beliefs we have about money. A great book by a fantastic gentleman.

  • You're Broke Because You Want to Be: How to Stop Getting By and Start Getting Ahead by Larry Winget: Another straight-talking look at how you got where you are, and the steps you can take to change things, for now and for the future. Larry has become famous for being 'the Pitbull of Personal Development' and was recently featured as an expert panelist on CNBC's The Millionaire Inside.

  • 30 Days to Wealth: My own contribution to the 'wealth mindset' literature, this book combines and delivers the result of years of research and trial and error. Exercises are designed to open your eyes and improve - for good - the way you think about money, enabling you to attract and create much more abundance. For those who are REALLY ready to make changes!

2) Mindset issue number two is also very common, and hurts almost everyone: the belief system we are taught in school which tells us that we must work our butts off and never get anywhere, all the while saving for a far-off retirement. How depressing, and how untrue! This mindset is so pervasive that you will find few people to discuss any alternatives with, so you must go this route on your own. There ARE better ways - ways which will help you achieve financial independence and the joy and peace of mind which come along with it. Here are some books by enlightened people who already know this. Enjoy, and prosper:

  • The Millionaire Maker series by Loral Langemeier: This smart and ambitious lady will help you think differently about earning money and achieving financial independence. She excels at helping people go from the drudgery of a job they hate to the success and true freedom of owning what she calls a 'Cash Machine' - a vehicle based on your own skills which can lead you to financial independence. Part of her strategy involves learning to invest in assets which produce cashflow, a key piece in the financial independence puzzle. Click here for a review of the third book in the series.

  • Rich Dad Series by Robert Kiyosaki: This series is a MUST for anyone wishing to shake up their traditional mindset and really see financial independence as a reachable goal. While they are all good, I would recommend as primers Rich Dad, Poor Dad (What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money, That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!), Rich Woman (by Kim Kiyosaki) and Success Stories (inspiring stories from real people who have changed their lives that will help you feel that you can do it too!). Also recommended is their Cashflow 101 game, created to assist with this process in a fun way. You can find groups playing the game locally by visiting their website at

  • Why We Want You to be Rich by Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki: Citing the failing social security pension system and the growing gap between the 'haves' and 'have-nots,' these two gentlemen, no strangers to creating abundance, express their deep concern about your chances if you continue along the standard path. They encourage you to think in terms of winning rather than not losing, and to create financial abundance instead of trying to live below your means and always feeling poor. Very inspiring and encouraging.

  • The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris: There is a lot of garbage out there promising to help you work less, especially online...this is not part of that garbage. Tim, from his extensive experience, gives you information you can use. Many people have had their lives changed for the better by the information in this book, and you would have to pay for a number of other books to get the collection of gems contained in just this one.

  • Cracking the Millionaire Code by Mark Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen: Both of these wildly successful authors and entrepreneurs are famous in their respective worlds, and their efforts combined in this book make for a powerhouse of information. Truly, this book gives the blueprint for not only achieving wealth but doing it in a way that is 'enlightened,' as in, good for everyone including you, your loved ones and our planet.

As Charlie 'Tremendous' Jones is famous for saying, "You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for two things, the people you meet and the books you read."

This is as true in your financial life as in any other arena. Instead of being frightened, which comes from weakness, become empowered. Yes, there may be horrible things going on, but worrying and remaining powerless is no way to live, and will not create a better future for you. Learn to thrive and not just to survive. YOU CAN DO IT!