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March 27, 2018

The Power of Appreciation in Money & Life

In the world of personal finance, “appreciation” has two important components:
  1. In the quantitative realm, appreciation refers to the increasing value of financial assets.
  2. In the qualitative realm, appreciation refers to feelings of gratitude for one’s financial resources and circumstances.
Of course, both elements are extremely important, but it is actually the more qualitative “appreciative mindset” that is the best predictor of both increasing wealth and personal well-being in your life.

In The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life, Lynne Twist teaches that appreciative thinking is the opposite of scarcity thinking: “When your attention is on what’s lacking and scarce—in your life, in your work, in your family, in your town—then that becomes what you are about.”
Similarly, Jackie Kelm, author of Appreciative Living, believes that what we pay attention to grows. She wrote: “Our attention will create our experience, and if we focus on lack, we create more lack.”
In addition, because of past programming, most people have formed the habit of focusing on what is going wrong in their financial lives rather than on what is going well. After all, haven’t we all been taught to spot the problems and fix them??
The truth is, however, that when you direct your attention to problems and breakdowns with money—on both the macro level (markets, financial crisis, etc.) and micro level (personal circumstances, failures, etc.), then that is where your consciousness will reside. If there is no counterbalance to this perspective, then you will likely continue to think about limitations and obstacles rather than abundance and possibilities.
Therefore, changing your thinking to reflect on the positive aspects in your life and to focus on the value of what you already have will likely create more of the same. That’s because, according to Twist, “What you appreciate appreciates,” and Kelm similarly explains, “What you focus on grows.”


“What you appreciate appreciates.”

– Lynne Twist

At Allison Spielman Advisors, using materials provided by Money Quotient, we teach a simple visualization exercise to help nurture this more positive cycle.  It starts with asking you to reflect on specific areas of life such as family, community, finances, work, and learning.  Next, we ask you to make a list (words or short phrases are sufficient) of what is most important to you now in each of these domains, and then to visualize what you hope to experience and/or achieve in the future.   These additional questions will also help to guide your thinking and facilitate this process:
  1.  What do you value most in each area of life?
  2.  What are your current “riches” in each area of life?
  3.  What “riches” do you want to include in each area of life in the future?


Source: Money Quotient®, Author: Carol Anderson


“In a very real sense, this exercise not only helps you to appreciate what you already possess but will also help you to visualize your own unique version of a rich and meaningful life in the years ahead.  The clearer this mental picture becomes, the more it will guide the choices you make and shape the life you will experience in the future.”

– Carol Anderson


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      Financial Satisfaction Survey


      Directions: The statements below will help you to think about and assess how satisfied you are with many aspects of your financial life. Indicate your level of satisfaction for each statement with stars.
      (1 star = "Not Satisfied", 3 stars = "Moderately Satisfied", 5 stars = "Very Satisfied")

      I am satisfied with...

      1. ...with my ability to meet my financial obligations

      2. ...with the income my current job or career provides me.

      3. ...with my spending habits.

      4. ...with the level of debt I carry.

      5. ...with the “extras” that I am able to buy for myself and/or loved ones.

      6. ...with the level and quality of insurance protection I currently have.

      7. ...with the amount of money that I save and invest on a regular basis.

      8. ...with my current investment choices.

      9. ...that I am on track to build a sufficient retirement nest egg.

      10. ...with the level of employee benefits I receive.

      11. ...with my style of personal bookkeeping and financial record management.

      12. ...with my ability to provide financial help to family members.

      13. ...with my estate plan.

      14. ...with my level of charitable giving.

      15. ...with the level of financial education I have attained.

      16. ...with how I respond emotionally to my personal finance issues.

      17. ...with my ability to communicate about my financial matters.

      18. ...with the feelings I have about my money life.

      19. ...that financial issues do not cause stress or strain in the relationships that are important to me.

      20. ...with the working relationships I have with my financial service providers (i.e., insurance agent, banker, broker, financial planner, accountant).

      © 2002 - 2018 Money Quotient, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This document is available via licensing arrangements with Money Quotient and is protected by federal copyright law. No unauthorized copying, adaptation, distribution, or display is permitted -

      Life Transition Survey


      Directions: In each section, select the transitions that you are currently experiencing and those you are likely to experience in the future. In addition, check transitions in the short to mid-term and long-term columns that you either hope to experience or anticipate with concern.

      Work Life Transitions

      1. Change in career path:

      2. New Job:

      3. Promotion

      4. Job loss

      5. Job restructure

      6. Education / retraining

      7. Sell or close business

      8. Transfer family business

      9. Gain a business partner:

      10. Lose a business partner:

      11. Downshift / simplify work life

      12. Sabbatical / leave of absence

      13. Start or purchase a business

      14. Retire:

      15. Phase into retirement

      16. Other

      Financial Life Transitions

      1. Purchase a home:

      2. Sell a home:

      3. Relocate:

      4. Purchase a vacation home / timeshare:

      5. Re-evaluate investment philosophy:

      6. Experience investment gain:

      7. Experience investment loss:

      8. Debt concerns:

      9. Consider investment opportunity:

      10. Receive inheritance or financial windfall:

      11. Sell assets:

      12. Other:

      Family Life Transitions

      1. Change in marital status (marriage):

      2. Change in marital status (divorce):

      3. Change in marital status (widowhood):

      4. Expecting or adopting a child:

      5. Hire child care:

      6. Child entering adolescence:

      7. Child with special needs:

      8. Child w/pre-college expenses:

      9. Child going to college:

      10. Child getting married:

      11. Empty nest:

      12. Family special event (Bat/Bar Mitzvah, anniversary party, trip):

      13. Helping and/or gifting grandchildren

      14. Concern about aging parent

      15. Concern about health of spouse/partner or child:

      Legacy Life Transitions

      1. Increase charitable giving:

      2. Give special financial gifts to children/grandchildren:

      3. Give parental pension (monthly stipend):

      © 2002 - 2018 Money Quotient, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This document is available via licensing arrangements with Money Quotient and is protected by federal copyright law. No unauthorized copying, adaptation, distribution, or display is permitted -