This article first appeared in Holistic Parenting Magazine, Issue No.13, January/February 2016.
The article is based on an interview with holistic financial expert Lavinia D. Osbourne. You can find her at laviniaosbourne.com.
“Sometimes we as individuals know that we need to be better skilled at something in our lives, but we don’t do anything about it because life gets in the way. But if we’re doing it for our children, then we’ll have more focus and learn. And they say that when a man educates himself, he is improving his economics; when a woman educates herself, she’s improving society’s economics – because mothers do spend more time with their children.”
And who wouldn’t want to have a better life for their children? This is what unites parents all across the globe: the desire for their children to have the best life possible.
The fact that you’re reading this magazine demonstrates that people are looking for holistic ways to live their lives more meaningfully. Certain areas are already well established in the holistic sphere, like parenting, or health and wellbeing. Money and finance is not yet something that is commonly associated with the word “holistic”, but since money is an essential part of everyday life, why shouldn’t it be?
Holistic financial expert Lavinia D. Osbourne explains a new approach. Osbourne is a money mindfulness coach and the founder of Butterfly Wealth Creation, an online holistic financial education and empowerment consultancy. She spent several years working in the finance industry across Europe, including CitiBank, Ernst Young and The London Stock Exchange, and she knows the traditional world of finance well. After the crash of 2008 however she realised that there was a need for a new approach, so she went on to create her own business.
Money is an extension of who we are
It might seem easy to dismiss money and finances as part of conscious living – but the truth is, money is just as much part of abundance as spiritual wealth is. And “because money is an extension of who you are, if you’re a very generous person you will be even more generous when you have a lot of money; if you’re a mean person then you’ll be mean with money, it doesn’t matter how much more you have, that’s just who you are.”
From a holistic view, there is a lot more to money and finance than incomings and outgoings. Money is a reflection of our values and things that we believe, so it’s very intrinsic to us. Money mindfulness emphasises the need for our lives to align with our values.
We have to explore and define our values consistently and then make the choice about what profession we pursue and how we are bringing money into our lives. Ideally, the job we do or the way we make money has to be in alignment with our values. A great alternative to traditional financial planning is life planning. This makes you the focus of the plan, and lets you create a plan based on your life goals rather than solely your financial goals.
Financial independence is not just about freedom of money or not worrying about the bills, but also being financially free from the emotions that people have around money.
“One of the areas I really wanted to focus on was people’s relationship with money, how they feel about money, what they say around money, their limiting beliefs around money, and also how they master their financial circumstances be it good, bad, or ugly, or indifferent.”
Money can be a very sensitive area for people to talk about, and it can be associated with numerous negative feelings and consequently negative self-talk. Mastering your money will enable you to adapt your behaviour and emotions so that you can be positively bigger than your situation.
If your financial situation is not serving you, then you have to think about how you can change it, and the ways you can change it. The 2008 crash created fundamental changes in the financial world that will continue to have an impact on us – and this impact will either be positive or negative, depending on how we choose to look at it.
“If you choose to become educated, to be more aware of how money works, how it can work for you, how it can work against you, you can make better decisions with your finances. It isn’t just about making decisions about your money, where to put it, where to invest it, but also how you react to it.”
The financial world has altered, governments are cutting back on support, and people don’t get the same amount of help that they used to. But this is not necessarily a negative thing says Osbourne.
“When you’re in a situation that you have to find a way of creating a new income then you touch back with yourself, your inner self, your true self, and you become resourceful. And you start thinking outside of the box. And that’s so powerful because it gives you confidence, it’s not easy, but it gives you confidence.”
In times like this you have to become more resourceful and resilient, which are very good qualities to have. Self-reliance is an excellent life skill to pass on to your children.
Financial ignorance is destructive in our lives
Finance is important to everybody, not just to people who understand the words, or who have some level of education around finance. Finance should be accessible to all people – and this is why financial education is crucial. According to Osbourne it is a lack of financial education that allows other people to take advantage of us, and make money from us. “That is unethical and it’s destructive in our lives. Financial ignorance is destructive in our lives.”
There are several ways you can educate yourself about money: online resources, apps, government schemes, and you can also ask in your local community what help is available.
Financial education is especially important for parents, because it is them who are ultimately responsible for educating their own children and with that the next generation. It is vitally important to break the cycle of limiting beliefs that were passed down from our parents.
“If you don’t want to pass on a legacy of poverty mind-set or mismanagement of money to your children, then you need to be the change in your family in order to pass on new skills, new ideas, and new concepts and ways, habits of doing things, doing better with money so that you can pass that on to your children. That should be the incentive. And that incentive will not only help you as an individual but it will also help your children in the future.”
You can start educating your children about finance as soon as you start giving them pocket money. Financial education is not part of the curriculum in every school, so you have to make it your responsibility to teach your children about how money works. Again there are online resources, apps, even organisations that can help you with this – and this could be a good learning process for you as well.
Mastering your financial situation and managing your money on a day-to-day basis is an essential requirement for everyone; managing money in the household, paying the bills, buying the food, making sure those things are covered. But you don’t necessarily have to stop there. Osbourne encourages everybody, especially women not to shy away from investing just because the ideology is not presented in the media and society that they can be good investors.
“I’m here to tell all the readers: you have it within you to be your financial hero, and to be good financial investors. All it takes is for you to take the time and start learning, and start building your confidence.”
Osbourne compiled a list of money mindfulness must-reads for us:
- The Wealth Chef – Ann Wilson
- Love is Not Enough: A Smart Woman’s Guide to Money – Merryn Somerset Webb
- Creative Visualization – Shakti Gawain
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki
- How to Become a Money Magnet – Marie-Claire Carlyle
- Money Magnet Mindset: Tools to Keep You and Your Money on Track – Marie-Claire Carlyle
- Rich Woman: A Book on Investing for Women – Kim Kiyosaki
- Your Road Map for Success: You Can Get There from Here – John C. Maxwell
- The Magic – Rhonda Byrne
- Love Life, Live Life: How to have happiness and success beyond your wildest expectations – Sue Stone