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What Does Money Mean To You?

We were sitting in a convention workshop under the direction of Bruce Sellery, the founder of Moolala, when he asked the question, “What does money mean to you?”

He expected us to answer, so I said “adventure and giving.” Another woman said “freedom.” I would be curious to hear your answer. Our values and attitudes towards money deeply affect how we pay attention to handling it well, or not, and getting what we hope for. Sellery says he has met many “smart capable people who are doing dumb things with money.”

Many farm families are struggling to make a profit, and some, as one caller told me, “are just trying to keep the wolf from the door.” We all have strong feelings about money, a context that helps us OR keeps us stuck in the ways we use money. Sellery has a life-changing approach to looking at your context for money, cashflow, debt issues, tax plans, retirement, and opportunities. He sees money as having pillars in our lives, and if our behaviour with money and its consequences don’t line up with how we are actually living, then we will feel very stuck.

For example, a couple values travel and freedom, but they are working long hours to pay a mortgage for a monster house that they barely have time to sleep in. They value “stuff” not freedom.

Many farm founders have been frugal for years, plowing everything back into the farm business and they haven’t really stopped to think about their money issues.

I see them with furrowed brows in family meetings as they want to be secure about their financial futures, want to keep the farm intact, and still want the next generation to farm without a new mortgage to pay off the founders.

It’s time to visit www.moolala.caand check out Bruce Sellery’s approach. He provides workshops in Calgary and is open to traveling to other centres to help folks focus on their relationship to money and find ways to make it work for them. He also suggests that you visit www.globefund.comto see how your mutual funds are doing. (This is painful, I have done it!)


Talk to your adult children about what they expect from your lifestyle choices. You might be pleasantly surprised. Many successors understand the years of hard work and sacrifice on the family farm that have allowed them to step into a very successful operation. What these folks don’t realize is that the founders are not world travelers. They just want time to play with the grandkids, and time to enjoy the seasons of the farm life at their own pace. I’ve had children ask their parents to spend money on themselves, and live a life that is much more leisurely than the past. You need to seek out a financial planner who sees planning in a “holistic” way, not just money and land, but what you value, your dreams, and your aspirations for making money work for you.

Some folks are scared by “complexity of money,” Sellery says. You need to find the level of complexity that works for you. You can hire a financial planner that works only on a fee for service rather than a commission. You can interview three or more folks and choose the best fit. You can visit your local bank or credit union and see what they have to offer you for wealth management.

“Elaine, I have no wealth to manage!” Really? Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Your health is your wealth.”

I value being rich in relationship and rich with good health. You may have meagre savings, but we all have to start from where we are. Your attitude towards moola may be causing you to act out of fear, or not plan at all for the future, because you can’t face the consequences of your fizzled money management.

You also may have suffered from poor risk management by being under-insured or without proper well-written agreements.

I am on a personal mission this year to have every farm family visit a lawyer to have a valid will written, and to choose a personal financial planner. What good is it for a man to gain a whole section of land and lose his soul or his family due to overwork and lack of attention to what really matters deep down in his heart?

How do you start to have the conversation about what money means to you?

Take some quiet time with a pad of paper, alone in the pickup or in the lazy boy and think about your behaviour with money. Ask yourself what you want your legacy to look like beyond money and land, a legacy of how you would like to be remembered, and your wishes to be fulfilled. The threat of death shouldn’t be the only motivator for us to get a better handle on our money or our affairs.

Contact Bruce Sellery to find out more about his approach at www.moolala.caand pre-order a copy of his book or refine your goals by reading his blog.

Take your spouse out for a nice supper or light the candles in your kitchen and linger over the thoughts and ideas you freely share about what you want money to do for you. Letting go of past bad habits is not easy. I am a firm believer as a coach that we all get to make choices to build new scenarios, and perhaps today is the best day to start making new choices about your money.

I hope you will be kind to yourself, and start a new approach to aligning what money means to you with the way you act in your farm and your family.

It’s your choice.

Elaine Froese’s expertise is appreciated by farm families seeking practical ways to talk about tough issues in transition on the farm. She speaks across Canada at ag events and coaches farmers by phone and in person. Catch her on TV or visit her at 1-866-848-8311 or order her book at is a member of the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors and Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. She knows exactly where her money went last year, and hopes to be more generous this year.

About the author


Elaine Froese is a Manitoba 150 Woman Trailblazer. She is passionate to guide farm families to find harmony through understanding. Her mission is for you to have rich relationships on your farm. Visit to learn more and book her for speaking engagements at



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