Are you ready to change?
By Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, Founder, KBK Wealth Connection

Financial change happens in the same...
The Stages of Change Model highlights five distinct steps to modifying behavior.
These are pre-contemplation, contemplatio...
cornerstone of coaching and with support I have seen many individuals move
from contemplation to the next stage, preparati...
change in order to truly be in meaning action. Maybe you are here now or
maybe you need to work through the other stages t...

Celebrate your money triumphs along the way. Design a ritual to commemorate
your victory and remind yourself of...
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2/11 - Downtown Women's Club DWC+ Teleclass - Creating Wealth from the Inside Out


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2/11 - Downtown Women's Club DWC+ Teleclass - Creating Wealth from the Inside Out with Kathleen Burns Kingsbury

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2/11 - Downtown Women's Club DWC+ Teleclass - Creating Wealth from the Inside Out

  1. 1. Are you ready to change? By Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, Founder, KBK Wealth Connection Financial change happens in the same way as any other behavioral change such as stop smoking, decreasing bingeing or restricting. It takes time, commitment and insight to make lasting change in any behavior. First, you must look at what is being gained and what will be lost. When you adapt a new way of acting you also lose something in the process. For instance, if you stop smoking, your health will improve in the long term. Over time, you will notice being able to breathe better and being able to do more aerobic activity with less effort. But in the short run you will feel anxious, miss lighting a cigarette when life gets stressful or sharing a smoke with a friend. Overall, not smoking is healthier for all of us, but it is important to know that those who quit feel uncomfortable at first, grieve the loss of this coping strategy and may miss it for some time to come. So what can you expect if you decide to change your money habits? Chances are you will go through a journey that includes mixed emotions, confusion, and discomfort before you end up with clarity. This is what makes developing new habits and saying good bye to old ones so difficult. You may want to balance your checkbook each month but when the statement comes in the mail you have automatic thoughts such as “I don’t deal with my bank account now.” Puts you into auto pilot. So you don’t open the statement, it sits on the counter, time passes by and eventually the next month’s bank statement arrives in the mail and you have not gotten to last months yet. If this story sounds like you, be kind to yourself. Lasting change takes time and is a slow process. It involves moving forward, slipping back a few steps then moving forward a little further next time. It is not linear, but a back and forth journey with the end result being integrated learning and new healthier behaviors. Two researchers at the University of Rhode Island, James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente,, conducted in-depth studies of how people change habits and eventually developed the Stage of Change Model. This model was developed by looking at how smokers were able to give up their cigarettes. Since its development in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, the Stage of Change Model has been used by many healthcare providers to assist clients in recovering from alcoholism, drug abuse and eating disorders with great success. The Model can also be applied to financial change.
  2. 2. The Stages of Change Model highlights five distinct steps to modifying behavior. These are pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance. Each stage and how it applies to changing your relationship with money is described below. Pre-contemplation If you are in pre-contemplation then you are seriously thinking about acting differently with money but you are not interested in getting help. You may have money scripts such as “I don’t spend that much.” “I am too young to worry about budgeting and saving for retirement.” or “I just want to have fun and not worry about money.” No matter what the thoughts, you are defending your current financial behaviors and at this point are not ready to make peace with money. You are very unlikely to get help in the form of therapy, coaching or financial services. Other people such as your partner, roommate, parents or friends may pressure you to stop carelessly spending or tease you for being stingy and cheap, but their requests fall on deaf ears as you do not see your habits as problematic. If you received this book as a gift and are still uncertain why, you may well indeed be in pre-contemplation. Caitlyn is a great example of a young woman in the pre-contemplation stage. She works in healthcare and makes a decent living but has trouble buying food and necessary items for her new house. Her husband, Steven, gets mad at her for being “cheap” and they often fight about money. Unlike many husbands, Steven is not upset at Caitlyn for spending too much; he is frustrated by her spending too little. “I just wish she could treat herself more and have fun decorating our new place.” Caitlyn sees him as the one with the problem as she is not ready to look at how her low self-worth and restricted eating tie in with her tight monetary control. Until she starts seeing the negative consequences of her anorexic spending habits, she is likely to stay in this stage. Contemplation This stage of change is marked by ambivalent feelings. If you are in contemplation, you are aware of your unhealthy relationship with money and see this as a problem. But you have strong feelings, often fear based, about changing and what this means for you and equally strong feelings about not changing and how not taking action is “easier” and more comfortable. As they say the devil we know is better than the devil we don’t. Thus, ambivalence keeps you stuck in thinking but not actively taking action to alter your situation or behaviors. Many of my clients come in for money coaching at this stage. They are open to help but are unsure about how to go about developing new ways of acting around their finances. They may see the long term positive benefits of saving or being more careful with expenses, but they know they will be uncomfortable and possibly anxious in the short run. Thoughtful, curious questioning is the
  3. 3. cornerstone of coaching and with support I have seen many individuals move from contemplation to the next stage, preparation. Ultimately, they shift their thoughts and feelings about money and find that healthy financial behaviors eventually follow. A woman in one of my business coaching groups identified her self as in the contemplation stage of financial change. She knew she needed to develop a personal and professional budget but week after week she did not take action on this goal. Her common money script was “I just know I will always have enough money.” This belief was distorted as she often complained of not having enough to pay her mortgage or her car payments. Despite support from her fellow members, she remained in contemplation throughout the year and half of the group’s existence. She thought a lot about changing her relationship with money but took no real meaningful action to address her precarious financial situation. For her, like many individuals, thinking about change may be a life long process. Preparation If you are reading this book, doing the exercises at the end of each chapter and actively talking to those in your life about money, you have made a commitment to change and you are firmly planted in the preparation stage. Also known as the determination stage, this time is marked by statements such as “I will do better managing my money” and “My money situation is serious and I need to get my spending under control.” Debbie is a great example of this stage of change. She came into to see me for money coaching when she was being chased by the Internal Revenue Service for back taxes and several credit card companies for unpaid balances. She knew her situation was dire and she was determined to get her financial life back on track. What she did not know was how to do it and how to manage her feelings in the process. The amount of debt she was in and her feelings about the money she owed were both overwhelming. Each time she sat down to pay bills she would panic and emotionally shut down. Her bills continued to go unpaid, the notices kept coming in the mail and her situation worsened. When she hit rock bottom she called me. In our work together, she examined her money scripts, her family history of spending to manage emotions and worked to actively change her money thoughts and behaviors. Together we developed a plan to help her get out of debt one bill at a time. By the first month, she started to truly believe she could change and be free of her money woes. Action Most of my clients want to be in action mode from the start of coaching as this stage involves actively using techniques such as debt reduction, budgeting, conscious financial planning and believing in your ability to make positive shifts in your financial life. However, we need to work through the other stages of
  4. 4. change in order to truly be in meaning action. Maybe you are here now or maybe you need to work through the other stages to get here. Either way, action feels good and is the goal of working through your feelings about taking better care of you and your hard earned money. Research shows that you will spend less time in this stage than any other. You may stay here six months or one hour. The amount of time is not important. What is vital is that reach a place were you are actively engaged in taking steps to transform your relationship with money into one of mutual respect. Similar to making changes in your relationship with food, financial recovery is a slow process that has many twists and turns along the way. Maintenance Once you alter a bad money habit you need to successfully avoid temptations or triggers to re-engage in it. This step is called maintenance and the primary goal is to maintain the new status quo. You can do this by being conscious about your money habits and reminding yourself daily of your progress. Write an affirmation or belief statement about your relationship with money and post it somewhere where you can see it daily. A visual reminder keeps your intentions in the forefront until the new behaviors become old hat. At this stage, it helps to anticipate problematic money situations and develop ways of coping with each one before they occur. I encourage you to make a list of triggers such as people, places, seasons and moods that may quickly evolve into problematic money situations. Holidays and special occasions are often tricky times for overspending, so beware. Being sad, angry and lonely can make retail therapy look like a good option. Remember to deal with these feelings before hitting the mall. No matter what the trigger, if you have a line of defense before you enter the hot spot, your chances of maintaining your progress is greatly improved. The Slippery Slope of Change Relapse happens. Yes, similar to working through eating and body image concerns, slipping back into old unhealthy behaviors is part of the process. This does not mean to throw in the towel and go on a buying spree. What is means is if you slip do not beat yourself up. Instead pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get support as soon as possible. Together with a therapist, coach or trusted friend, look at the money scripts or triggering events that contributed to your slip and learn something from your temporary back slide. Only through learning from your money mistakes can you cope differently going forward. Remember a slip does not have to be a complete slide. True relapse only happens when you put the blinders on, stick your head in the sand and become unconscious in your money behaviors.
  5. 5. Celebrate Celebrate your money triumphs along the way. Design a ritual to commemorate your victory and remind yourself of our hard work. This celebration will be fun and help you integrate this new behavior into your money lifestyle going forward. Debbie and I celebrated in her session each time she actively paid down her credit card balances or cancelled unnecessary expenses such as subscriptions to business clubs that were no longer applicable in her current profession. By sharing the victory and acknowledging the learning that resulted she was able to integrate these new habits into her current and future relationship with money. For her living consciously in all areas including food, family and finance was life saving. Homework: Take a minute and think about a time in your life when you changed a behavior. It does not need to be related to money. Maybe you quit smoking, started exercising, quit swearing or started a new meditation practice. Now write about how you changed this behavior. What was your habit like before you wanted to change? What triggered a desire to change? Was it a person, place or thing that moved you to let go of this unhealthy behavior and/or start a new one? What was it like when you first started the process of change? What made it difficult? What parts of doing something new were easy or motivating? Lastly, how did you integrate this new behavior into your life in a lasting way? By looking at how you have changed other habits, you will learn something about how you can change your relationship with money. It is important to identify and acknowledge what stage of change you are in and what feelings will likely arise from trying something new with your money. Ask yourself the following questions and really be honest with your answers. What would you like to change about your relationship with money? What stage of change are you currently in? What are the advantages to developing a new money habit and what are the drawbacks to shifting? What can you do to address your ambivalence around change? DWC Special Offer: Creating Wealth from the Inside Out Teleseminar Four, one hour sessions taught by Kathleen Burns Kingsbury aimed at inspiring and motivating you to live a more financially wealthy life. DWC members receive this workshop at deep discount of $77, regular fee is $277. Why not take what you learned today on the DWC call, save $200 and invest 4 hours of your time to change your money mindset and achieving the wealth you want in your life! For more information, contact or call the office at 508-297-1212. Remember to visit our website and sign up for our blog at