The circle shifts

Embarking on this project, I kept coming upon authors addressing different facets of the field but nothing that presented a cross section of their remarkable findings. As a novelist and poet, I’ve been called a Mixmaster of diverse elements, and I was wanting to do it here, too.

Barbara and Mary found their own interest shifting away from continuing their money workshops. They wanted to do more with spiritual direction — altogether fitting, since they both had seminary degrees. As their blessing, they gave me all of their materials and told me to use them in any way I wished.

That led to a book-length manuscript, which got an encouraging response from two publishers, if I could build some cred. Remember, I’m not a money manager or even a financial columnist — just a writer who jumped into this line of thinking and developed a few related exercises of his own.

One way the publishers suggested was by expanding the workshops across New England and beyond for the next year or two and incorporating those responses. The only problem there was that I had a full-time job, and a double-shift on Saturdays, the best time to travel to conduct such sessions. Setting those up and promoting them would be another job altogether.

Another way was to gain a co-author or two who had relevant credentials. Who did I know?

That’s when Barbara and Mary introduced me to Lu Bauer, a holistic certified public accountant in Maine. By holistic, she meant taking the emotions into account, rather than just the numbers. And much of her practice involved helping people dig out of financial difficulties.

As a joint project, our venture didn’t pan out, for various reasons, one of them being that we both had full-time jobs and other interests to attend to. Another was that we differed in our ultimate direction. And then, I remarried and kids entered my life, and for the next 15 or so years, this project was set aside to gather dust.

With her hands-on daily practice, though, Lu opened my eyes to more ways these issues moved in the lives of everyday people.

And the one thing we all had in common was a deep respect for the revolutionary personal budgeting developed by Joe Dominguez and his colleagues. We’ll get to it, I promise.

Are you talking about these money issues with anyone else? Who’s in your circle?

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