When the chips are down and finances are tough, most people reach for the budget sheet and try and make economies. While it's a smart idea not to spend like a billionaire in lean times, financial coach and author, Jennifer Cramer Lewis says focussing – and talking – too much in terms of -lack' can actually create more of the same thing and shut your mind off to finding new ways to generate more money. 'Many of us think being constantly aware of the difficulty of our financial situation is a good thing, but in reality, continually talking about how there's no money in our lives, just attracts more of the same thing. I've seen it time and time again with clients."
Jennifer is a Right Riches for You facilitator for Access Consciousness, a global self-help modality, and teaches classes on how to improve your finances. 'It's really interesting how much of a role language can play in the whole equation" says Cramer Lewis. 'I hear people in tough money situations saying all kinds of things that are essentially sending messages to their brain that say they've accepted this is -how it is'. That's often the first thing we need to work on."
Jennifer says it could be as simple as changing the word -budget' to Capital Improvement Plan. 'Don't call it a budget, as your subconscious translates that as trying to get by on less, for a future that you might get to enjoy one day - if you are lucky. A capital improvement plan is based on having all the things that make you happy included in that plan. Not just the basics. Change your language and mindset on the word budget, and incredible things can happen. I've seen it in my own life, and with the people in my classes."
She's also not a fan of the word -want' for her clients either. 'The pre-World War II definition of the word want means to lack. I am hard on my clients when they tell me they -want' something. I suggest that they replace that word right away with the word love ie I love that car or I love having $10,000 in my bank account, even if they don't have it yet. To use a word that means lack, is counterproductive to improving your financial situation. When we stay in a state of lack, then we believe possibilities are not possible and create a circumstance where that stays true for us.
While she's eliminating those from her client's vernacular she makes them stop saying -but' and -try' as well. 'The only but you want, is the one behind you!" she laughs. 'When people talk about how much they'd love for something new to show up - a new job, more money and follow it up with BUT and 10 reasons why they can't create that, it only programs their brains to think that way and therefore create that reality. Same with -try', you have to speak with conviction and choose things that you know you will complete to the best of your abilities and never choose things that you won't do. It builds a muscle inside you where you know that if you do something to the best of your ability, it will succeed. Rather than speaking in terms of trying, and possibly failing, talk confidently about what's going to happen.
Jennifer also believes it's not just in what we say but also what we do. 'When things are tight, it might not seem like a good idea to go and have a glass of wine at an expensive wine bar, or have a pedicure but little indulgences can train your brain about the kinds of luxuries that you may learn to love and then ask to attract into your life. If you have never treated yourself to very good wine, how do you know if you prefer it?"
It all comes down to realising you're not restricted in your capacity to earn. Jennifer says a subsistence attitude - both in language and actions- is just reinforcing to yourself that you're okay with just making ends meet. Realising you have the choice to have more money is incredibly powerful – there's always a way to do it: get paid more for what you're currently doing, get an extra job, buy and sell things for profit, start a side business using your skills to train others, use the power of the internet. It all starts with realising your current financial situation does not have to be your forever financial situation and talking to your brain like you're already there.
Jennifer Cramer Lewis loves showing people simple changes they can make to drastically improve their financial welfare. She's worked in business and finance for over 20 years including stints in Banking, Real Estate Sales, Mortgage Broking, and Real Estate Management and has always found it easy and natural to implement process which make things flow more simply and productively. These skills combined with her love of people meant that financial coaching was a natural progression from working within other people's businesses. She has written two bestselling books and is mum to two fantastic teens who are learning early to master the language of prosperity. She also shares her financial wisdom with people around the world as a Right Riches for You facilitator, a specialty program within global personal development organisation, Access Consciousness.
Question: Why do you believe money is one of the number one causes of stress amongst Australians?
Jennifer Cramer Lewis: Money is a place where young women feel a lack of power and expertise. The media paints a bleak picture of what the future holds for women financially and so it's difficult to feel optimistic about having money. That said, it doesn't have to be. Being stressed about money isn't a new phenomenon, it's just more socially acceptable to talk about money than it ever was for previous generations. Young women have the ability to create a career and make real money more now than they ever have before in history.
Question: How do we lack financially when saying phrases like 'budget' and -want'?
Jennifer Cramer Lewis: Words have energies that effect the body. You can experiment with them and see how they work for you. Budgeting speaks about taking what little money you have and stretching it out or squishing it to have less. Rather than use the word budget, as a Right Riches for You facilitator I love to coach my clients to use the words 'Capital Improvement Plan". The ancient definitions of words can often have more energies that help with generating wealth. Capital means a principal sum of money, improvement means profitable use and management for profit and the old definition of plan, means to map. The word -want' has 26 definitions, all but one mean -to lack'. Rather than use the word -want', I coach my clients to replace it with the word love. Say 'I love that" to the things that they desire to create or attract in their lives.
Question: What language should we be using to create opportunities and wealth?
Jennifer Cramer Lewis: Two questions I love to ask myself everyday are, 'Where can my money go today to create more right away?" And 'If I buy this, will it create more money or diminish my cash flows?" When you ask questions, you are looking for an image to pop in your head or an opportunity to be presented to you. Sometimes immediately, more often it will show up in a few days or a week. Then you act on it.
Question: Why is being constantly aware of our financial situation a negative?
Jennifer Cramer Lewis: It's not so much that being constantly aware is a negative. It's the energy of being wary with money that is not what you want to create. When we are on high alert or overwhelmed, guarding against a potential disaster, we're putting that negative energy towards opportunities to have wealth. What we can do instead is ask 'What can I do today to generate wealth and contribute to my financial security?" It is also important to look for other opportunities beyond your job to create multiple income streams, and therefore more opportunities for wealth. If an opportunity to turn a hobby into another source of income or create something, shows up after you ask the above question, then it's up to you to choose it.
Question: What is the number one lesson you'd give to your teenage-self in regards to money?
Jennifer Cramer Lewis: The number one lesson I would give myself is to have a bank account that I contribute 10% of my income to each month. I teach my clients to get accustomed to having money by choosing to put 10% or more of the money they earn into an account that becomes part of their capital improvement plan. Knowing that this money is there, makes a difference in the energy of how much money can be generated in their future now that they have it. It's strange, when I am excited about putting money into this account, it creates more in my other accounts. Once you've built a substantial amount of money, you can begin to feel wealthy and secure, and built a nest egg for future investments, your children's education or treat yourself to a luxury item.
Question: How can we actually stop stressing about money?
Jennifer Cramer Lewis: A good question to ask is, 'Who am I being with Money?" Often we are picking up on the moods and opinions of our family, our culture, or socioeconomic status, the media and celebrities. If you hear your mother coming out of your mouth when you talk about money, you are not being you. Another question you can ask is, 'If I was truly being me, choosing just for me when it comes to my finances, what would I choose?" Also, I encourage my clients to spend more time on their actual mental health. Often, clients will come to me when they are almost too frazzled and overwhelmed with their financial situation. I would recommend young women have a lower threshold for what they are willing 'to put up with" and once they have one or two bad months, it's time to hit the panic button and ask for help and take better care of their mental wellbeing.
Question: What originally inspired you to begin working in financial coaching?
Jennifer Cramer Lewis: Two summers ago I kept thinking, I should teach a money class. I finally relented and put one on the calendar and it was a tremendous success. I had 25 participants and the majority of them generated large sums of money through all sorts of means, inheritances of hundreds of thousands, valuable coins and artwork, properties they owned going up in value hundreds of thousands. I had worked in Real Estate, Mortgages and Management for most of my career up to this point, so talking about large sums of money and planning for them was easy for me. This transfer of knowledge allowed my clients to stop fretting about small amounts of money and start building large amounts.
Question: Can you share with us the types of questions we need answered regarding finances before moving in with a significant other?
Jennifer Cramer Lewis: Great question! Relationships and money can be difficult if you allow them to. When people fall in love there are a whole lot of chemicals flowing around in our bodies. Ocytocin, Dopamine, Seritonin all designed to have us bond with our mate and want to have a herd of children together. I would coach my clients to ask themselves, 'Will this person be fun to have in my life in 20 years?" 'Will we have fun with money together in 20 years?" 'What will our whole life be like in 50 years if we move in together?" 'Am I choosing this person because we can create more together or for some other reason?" Even if you don't plan on being with this person in 20 or 50 years, they may plan on spending the rest of their life with you and be very upset when you leave. This is what causes the most pain and heartache with my clients and it doesn't have to. It's easier for both of you to get the information you need before you move in together. I know many couples who have created amazing financial abundance together that they would not have been able to create apart, because of the chemistry of them as a couple.
Question: How can we create a prosperity mindset with our children?
Jennifer Cramer Lewis: I love the idea of having kids have their own money very early. It can be in the form of an allowance or a pay per chore scheme. Personally, I love the idea of them getting paid per chore and then creating an accounting system for them to bring their bill to get paid. Bonus chores earn more money. I also love the idea of them having their an account that they contribute a percentage of the money they earn into, even if it's in the form of two piggy banks or even 3. One for something that they are saving up for and one for day to day spending like a trip to the candy store. This way they know that they create their own money, even in their parent's home. Ask them questions about money and finance and build some general knowledge, perhaps together if you are not that financially savvy. I also love for the family to have a common financial goal together. Everyone chipping into a piggy bank in the kitchen that gets opened once a week to have a movie night or dinner out. That way children learn that they are a part of a financial team that includes themselves and their parents.
Interview by Brooke Hunter