I know it’s rather odd having a conversation about Christmas in Spring.

In just a few more months, that sense of urgency will be fired up by advertisers and retailers who will begin quietly installing their first round of holiday ornaments … right around early October.

For years, I’ve felt “meh” about this obligatory shopping expectation that rides hard and heavy on the back of Christmas.

THE OTHER REASON FOR THE SEASON – FAMILY

Of course, what matters more than anything is quality time and other expressions of love for family. I loved being around my rambunctious aunts, uncles, grandparents and six cousins who loved to tease, play board games and laugh hard.

However, after my grandparents transitioned, and between divorces, college life, and my family’s tendency toward very moderate procreation, family attendance at holiday event shrank and became less frequent.

Eventually, I simplified my Christmas shopping goals. Practicality became my mantra. Target gift cards for everyone!

“Here … buy what you need.”

(Though I did order Bitsbox for my brilliant STEM-crazed grandson – a monthly subscription box – that teaches children how to code.)

While some of you may feel my attitude is godawful, I’m guessing that someone out there might be exhaling, discovering they’re not alone in longing for a simpler holiday season – without so much material fanfare and strain on household budgets.

OPTING IN FOR REFLECTION TIME

Over time, my Winter holidays become more personal and reflective. It was the time I chose to curl up and deeply comb through my life map, quietly celebrating my accomplishments, refining my goals and renovating how I wanted my life to unfold in the New Year. It was also the time I re-calibrated my various game plans, tweak my calendar time blocks, and evaluated my levels of integrity with my family, love, experiential and social life declarations.

Did I spend enough time nurturing my sister-friendships? Which country on my vision board will I travel to this year? What do I need to be doing more of (and better) to build my cash flow?

What do I want the My Amazing LYFE brand to mean to women and their families? How well did I keep my promise of monthly massage? What kind of a love relationship do I truly want? How will I get more face time with my youngest daughter? What role will I play in nurturing my grandson’s keen interest in the sciences These are all very real questions I ask myself. There are scores more I ask and answer in my life map.

THAT DEFINING MOMENT

Winter of 2016, I did something totally out-of-the-box:

I earned my life insurance license and got certified by the National Financial Educators Council. I wanted to impact women’s lives at a higher frequency because our earning, spending, saving, investing and giving habits all impact how we progress (or hinder) our goals, strategy plans, and legacies.

Armed with these tools, I could help women not only create living blueprints for their lives, but could also support them with strategies to build brighter, and more secure futures.

Both measures were inspired with the release of a report by the Institute for Policy Studies: The Ever-Growing GAP: Without Change, African-American and Latino Families Won’t Match White Wealth for Centuries.

Wow! The title alone spoke volumes to me.

This was the year I really laid down the gauntlet.

I decided to stop buying the gift cards even. Instead, I gifted my daughters and then 3-year old grandson with permanent life insurance policies that included living benefits and cash accumulation, earmarked to help fund his college education. I calculated the exact amount I’d typically spend on gifts throughout the year, and re-directed that money into life insurance.

MY TOP 6 COMPELLING REASONS

I want to do what I can today to ensure my grandchildren don’t graduate from college heavily burdened with debt and experience the mental, emotional and financial anguish can have on their young soul. It would be difficult for me to face myself in the mirror, knowing that I could have done more.

I’m in love with the idea of my children and grandchildren inheriting money from my efforts. With proper guidance, education and carefully spelled out guidelines, this money can be used to jump-start wealth accumulation such as buying a home, offsetting college expenses, or seeding a business start-up.

I’d rather plant seeds in my own garden (AND in the gardens of my business and personal “partners in creation”) than plant my seeds in the gardens of people who are already billionaires. I want to seed OUR heirs’ economic empowerment and success in life. Leaving this kind of legacy is very important.

I have no need to own a lot of stuff … and owe a lot of money to credit card companies. Americans spend more on shoes, jewelry, and watches ($100 billion) than on higher education. I choose to make higher education a high priority, as my parents did. And, if you believe in Pareto’s Law, we all likely only wear 20 percent of what’s in our closets. My idea of a great time is walking into a thrift store, and walking out with a really cool, one-of-a-kind $8 wool jacket!

We’ve ALL witnessed the reality that family members can get seriously sick or injured long before they die. Things become far less important, when a key breadwinner suffers a heart attack, stroke, or is in a serious accident. It happens to families every day. It’s likely happened in yours, or someone close to you, An entire lifetime of dreams could be obliterated within a few weeks or months…just like that.

A CALL TO ACTION

Last month I got an email inviting a group of professional women to a posh nail salon. Our host was treating all of us to complimentary manicures and pedicures. I was so impressed by his “self-care” centered marketing strategy, I jumped online and researched our host and his company.

Within 30 minutes, I’d learned a lot about this young man and the insurance/financial services empire he’s built. Within a few quick Google searches, I was impressed by and excited about what I found.

After a relaxing Sunday of pampering, coupled with this young gentleman (but with a 19-year award-winning track record, I might add) and his business partners personally serving us wine, cheese, grapes, hummus, and pita chips, I met with Eszlyfie Taylor the following Monday (when my intuition calls that loudly, I take brisk action)…and joined his team 48 hours later!

Yes, I’m very excited to be a part of this dynamic team, successfully creating solutions for clients – who range from high net worth individuals and families to business owners, entertainers, and athletes.

MY “BIG ASK” OF YOU

I’m asking for 30 or 40 minutes of your time to show you the type of work I’m doing now, and to get your opinion about it.

ON THE LIFE PLANNING SIDE:

If you’re ready to push your boundaries, deepen your self-awareness, do the inner-work, engage with other like-minds, advance your goals … and define your destiny on your own terms-


I’m available to consult with you – my “seed planting” GIFT to you – on how “My Amazing LYFE Map” coursework can help you design, chart and activate your goals, game plans, and daily tasks to profoundly enrich the quality of your life. Book here.

ON THE MONEY SIDE:

We take a realistic look at how you’ll financially plan, execute and manage your needs, hopes, and desires.


As a team, we’ll review your financial and insurance game plans, and evaluate how you’ll meet your goals and objectives. Book your complimentary consultation here.

Or, you can always email me at maria@MyAmazingLYFE.com anytime.

ABOUT MARIA DOWD

As a dynamic motivational speaker and impassioned catalyst for women’s empowerment, Maria Dowd inspires women to be more courageous, wise, and enterprising.

Maria’s My Amazing LYFE lifestyle brand of empowerment programs includes a simple, step-by-step system you follow that will help you unlock your potential and reach your goals. The system includes training modules we refer to as “LYFE Labs.” Each Lab, you will learn what simple, actionable steps you can take to make your goals a reality.

With your “My Amazing LYFE” Map in hand, and your goals clearly defined, I can help you identify opportunities or gaps in your planning, and devise viable solutions to fill those voids. www.myamazinglyfe.com.

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