Month: January 2013

THE MONEY CODE – Improve Your Entire Financial Life Right Now by John Duran

THE MONEY CODE – Improve Your Entire Financial Life Right Now by John Duran

Women of our generation have been struggling to find their “fiscal identity” for a long time. Launched into the job market at an early age, we carried the baggage Joe Duranof the benevolent caregiver we inherited from previous generations. Twenty and thirty years later, we still sometimes  find ourselves feeling uncomfortable with money and accurately calculating our value in the market place. This is why I chose to review The Money Code when asked by Joe Duran’s publicist.

The book is simplistic and a bit awkward at times, but when it comes to financial matters, simplistic goes a long way for me! I found it a quick and easy read but I walked away with some valuable insights on my own relationship with money, as well as a clearer understanding of what motivates my husband when it come to money.  We had several productive conversations, using Duran’s easy to understand concepts and visuals, that I wish we had thirty years ago!

If money is still “an elephant in your closet”, take this opportunity to get it out and have a look. You might just find you gain a whole new perspective when you do.

Joe John Duran is CEO and founding partner of United Capital, which consistently ranks as one of the nation’s fastest growing wealth counseling firms. He’s fueled by his passion to change the industry and improve lives by empowering people to make better, more informed financial decisions. From CNBC to CNN, Joe frequently provides commentary on TV. He has been profiled in numerous publications, including the New York Times and Smart Money.

The Money Code is Joe’s third book. His two previous titles are Start It, Sell It, and Make A Mint (Wiley and Sons, 2004) and The First Time Investor’s Workbook (McGraw Hill, 2001). Joe holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and earned MBA degrees from Columbia University and UC Berkeley. He lives in Laguna Beach, California, with his wife, Jennifer, and their three precious daughters.

Connect with Joe:

Visit the official website

Like The Money Code on Facebook

Follow on Twitter


Beyond the Empty Nest

Beyond the Empty Nest

Life ebbs and flows.  There are times when we are swept away by the task at hand. Committed to our goals, we have all the energy we need to see them through to their conclusion. During these times we feel connected and involved in life. At other times, however, we may find we are living in a place of uncertainty. A kind of restlessness takes over. We feel discontent, lethargic and uncertain.

The childbearing years are a period of time when most mothers are caught up in the demands of the day as they chart the course for their children’s future.  We have little time in our days or space in our psyche to think about much else. A whirlwind of activity hurdles us through time and we hang on for dear life committed to the end.

One day, we wake up and find ourselves alone. Suddenly, we are empty nesters. It was easy to laugh and joke about it as we anticipated this moment. We couldn’t wait “to do our own thing”, “have the house to ourselves”, and “be free at last”. The reality, however, is quite different.

The ending seems abrupt and the change in our day-to-day lives seems bewildering.  We were so focused on our children that we did not adequately prepare ourselves for parent obsolescence.  Wasn’t it only a second ago that they couldn’t take a breath without us? How did they become self-sufficient so quickly? Oh yeah, that was the goal!

The empty nest can feel dreadfully quiet and lonely. In that quiet space it is easy to let self-doubt and fear creep in as we seem to lose our sense of value and purpose. Our children have left our world for their own, both physically and psychologically. They are building a life apart from us and we are no longer privy to the little ups and downs of their day to day existence.  How quickly we have forgotten how we felt at their age. Yes, we remind ourselves, they are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing. But what are we supposed to be doing?

It is difficult to prepare for the feelings that an empty nest can create. When we begin to understanding that it is a period of transition for us as well we can give up fighting the discomfort and begin to take the necessary steps to find ourselves again. We can get through it and we will. Life will feel “normal” again. First, we must go through the in-between time.

During any transition period in life, whether it be an empty nest, retirement or a loss of any kind, it is important to take the time to grieve what we have lost. Our identity as a mother was a very important part of who we were for twenty years or more. It takes time to replace this identity with a new one. Allow yourself the time to grieve. Ask yourself, “what are the things about motherhood that I will miss the most? This is where your grief lies. Feel the sorrow. Let your tears flow. It is only after the grieving can you let that part of you go and make room for something new.

To make a successful transition avoid obsessing over the past.

Wallowing in guilt and regret about the things you wish you’d done differently as a mother is a clever way for your psyche to avoid focusing on the present or the future and to avoid experiencing the pain of grief and loss. Parents whose children are having difficulty adjusting to adulthood, are most vulnerable to falling into the regret trap. Whenever possible, stop yourself  from doing this. What’s done is done.  It is now your children’s responsibility to make the most of what has been given to them, just as we had to build a life from the hand that we were dealt. Our job is done. It’s up to them now.

Secondly, avoid the temptation to worry about the future. Living in fear of what tomorrow may bring is a very handy way of avoiding today as well.  Today is all we have. The future will take care of itself when we live today to its fullest.

The period of time between the ending of one phase of life and the beginning of another, is a  fertile opportunity for personal and spiritual growth. Rather than filling the void with fear and guilt, we can use the time to learn about ourselves.  Dare to just “be” in this quiet time, this in-between time. By tuning into our inner voice, we can listen to the callings of our heart and follow where it leads.

Spark this journey by reading a good book or learning something new. When we indulge our creative selves we are providing fertilizer for the ground of our true selves. The answers will come and the future will unfold as it should.

When we take the time to mourn the loss of our identities as mothers and dwell without resistance in the uncertainty of the now, we will uncover a new version of ourselves. We will become the women we were meant to be now.

We will be another version of who we were born to be!


If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy my book,

now available as a downloadable ebook right here on this website.

Caring for Mom ~ Midlife Reflections.




1952887_sHave you ever felt exhausted for a day or more after a stressful event?  During the event, energy was plentiful.  You danced at your son’s wedding or handled a crisis with ease and grace. That night, sleep came easily.  The next morning, however, you awoke tired and foggy headed.  Days later you your body still felt limp with fatigue and your mind sluggish. You had that “I can’t get out of this chair” feeling in spades.

What you  likely experienced was an adrenaline hangover. In stressful situations, good or bad, our body goes on high alert. Adrenaline gives us that boost of energy we need to take care of business. Once the event is over, the body takes time to return to its normal state.

Chronic stress has become a way of life for men and women of the 21st century. This is especially true during the midlife years when daily demands intensify. Everything hits at once.  Not only are we going through the decade plus process of perimenopause and menopause and its enormous physical and emotional impact, we are also navigating several other significant life-changes.  Our parents are aging and increasingly dependent. Our children are temperamental teens and making major life choices where our guidance is necessary.  We are mid-career, navigating relationships and so much more. No wonder somewhere along the line our body says, “Hey! Wait a minute!”

Chronic stress can do serious damage, not only to our enjoyment of life, but to our long-term health.  The longer we live, the more likely we are to experience prolonged periods of unabated stress and to eventually experience adrenal burnout. Caregivers are particularly vulnerable to this condition, as day after day, week after week, month after month, they put the needs of their loved ones above their own. Those with chronic illnesses or unhealthy lifestyles are also more susceptible to this condition.

Our adrenal glands produce hormones that mobilize our body to deal quickly and aggressively with unexpected danger. In today’s world, the dangers we encounter are primarily emotional, psychological, physical, such as job stress, family dynamics, a poor diet or lack of sleep and exercise.   We may no longer need to run away from wild animals, but we sure might want to run away from our job or home life.

The fact that we no longer need to fight or flee in physical sense, our bodies have no way to dissipate the chemicals released during a stress response.  We rarely get into a brawl with our stressors or sprint ten miles down the road to get away from it (although this is a good argument for running for exercise!)

To complicate matters, stress has become a chronic way of life for many of us.  As a result, our adrenal glands work overtime for years before we realize there is a serious problem.  Overuse of the adrenal glands can cause them to fatigue or burn out entirely. Bouncing back becomes increasingly difficult and we become less and less resilient.

Many factors contribute to, and exacerbate adrenal burnout.  A poor diet, lack of sufficient sleep over an extended period of time, a history of substance abuse, repeated infections, chronic medical conditions, emotional problems, such as depression or anxiety, financial difficulties, a stressful work environment, are all likely culprits.  Treatment requires addressing each issue one at a time.


The following are common symptoms of adrenal fatigue:

  1. Loss of motivation or desire to do things you previously enjoyed
  2. Feeling tired and run down
  3. Low grade depression
  4. Difficulty getting up in the morning even after a good night’s sleep
  5. Feeling overwhelmed and like everything is just too much
  6. Things once done easily take more effort
  7. Craving salty and/or sweet snacks
  8. Difficulty getting strength and energy back after an illness
  9. Feeling better after 6 o’clock at night than any other time of the day
  10. Nothing seems fun anymore
  11. A cloudy, foggy brain


The very first step to recovery is recognition of the problem.  When you are able to hear and acknowledge what your body is telling you, you can then take action and begin taking the steps you need to take to recover.

There isn’t a quick and easy answer to adrenal fatigue. Alleviating adrenal fatigue is a process that takes time and a one-step-at-a-time approach.  There are likely long-standing habits of thought and behavior that have laid the groundwork for an adrenal crisis.

The first step to recovery and the best line of defense for prevention is making sure you are getting sufficient rest and relaxation, and eating a healthy diet. Rest is not always easy to come by at midlife, but it is essential. If you do not rest, eventually your body will find a way to make you rest. Prolonged adrenal fatigue can lead to adrenal burnout making recovery more and more difficult.

When I was on my path to recovery I found a great soup that really works. I make an effort to eat it whenever I feel fatigued and I always notice a boost in my sense of well-being. It’s a great place to begin any recovery or prevention effort.  Be sure and leave a comment below if you have any thoughts or questions.


16 oz. green beans

1 cup chopped celery
1 zucchini, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup tomato juice
1 cup spring water
2 tbsp. raw honey
1 tsp. paprika
1 cup chicken broth

3-4 garlic cloves, minced (optional but good for the immune system)
Combine ingredients and simmer for one hour until vegetables are tender. Pepper to taste.



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