What do you do when you’re spending everything you earn and then your salary gets cut in half? You’ve got to go on a spending diet, I guess.

Getting your salary slashed in half is frightening enough. But when you’re 45, with no savings and have $30,000 of debt, you’ve got to make some tough choices to get on the right path for retirement.

Although she was nowhere near New York, the events of September 11 hit Sheri Meyer pretty hard. She got laid off from her job that paid six-figures.

“I just blew through all my savings. Blew through my retirement in order to live. And really found myself at the age of 45 going, “What’s going to happen to me?” Meyer says.

Two years later, she started consulting for an education software company. They eventually hired her full-time at half her former salary.

“I’d get to the 15th of the month and be like, “oops, got to scrimp and save to get to the end of the month.” And I did that for about 6 to 8 months, and I just was like this is no way to live,” Meyer says.

She found financial counselor and money coach Sharon Durling, author of “A Girl and Her Money,” who worked with Sheri to figure out how her values corresponded to her spending.

“I started to realize I just have a bad relationship with money,” Meyer says.

And helped her understand why she always spent every cent that came in.

“I always grew up with a sense of entitlement. That I should be able to have what I want and because I work really hard I should be able to have it,” Meyer says.

“There’s some denial and some fear. It’s not about having more income,” Durling says.

By keeping a daily spending journal, and spending a lot of time talking things through with Sharon, Sheri was able to figure out what was important to her life.

“What I realized is I didn’t want to give up traveling. So I moved. Just moved recently into a place where it’s half of what I was paying before,” Meyer says.

“We realized there wasn’t a whole lot of spending that needed to be done to find the satisfaction she wants in her life,” Durling says.

“What I need right now is to be debt free again. That’s what’s hanging over me, making me nervous, making me stay up at night,” Meyer says.

And if she puts all the cash she’s saving toward her debt, she’ll be debt-free in 18 months. “Diets don’t work and budgets don’t either. What does work is a change within,” Durling says.

If you want to learn more about managing your money, and fixing the holes in your budget, money coach Sharon Durling will be giving a free seminar as part of money$mart week.



Sharon Durling, author of: A Girl and Her Money: How to Have a Great Relationship Without Falling in Love (W Publishing Group, $13.99)

Check out Sharon Durling’s free seminar:
The Money Spa: The 90-minute Mini Money Makeover
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Register by May 23
Where: Lincoln Park Public Library, 1150 W. Fullerton, Chicago
For more information or to register, email moneyspa@yahoo.com

May 23, 2005.