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Regina Leeds
The Zen Organizer ... Named 'The Best Organizer in LA' by Los Angeles Magazine!

Regina's first career as a professional actress (she received a Bachelor's degree in Theatre from Hunter College in Manhattan) has made the transition to teacher and seminar leader an easy one. Regina's credits as a professional actress include national commercials, guest spots on TV, theatre roles and three happy years recurring on The Young & the Restless .

When I was writing “One Year to an Organized Financial Life,” everyone was eager to receive an advance copy. “I really need that book!” they'd shout. There was one item, however, the vast majority of people told me they didn't need: a budget. It seems the world is divided into two groups: those who eagerly craft a budget and live by it (you can recognize them easily because the phrase ‘I'll have to run the numbers on that' tumbles out of their mouths with great regularity) and those who feel they have ‘a feel' for how much they spend. I have only one comment for the second group: good luck with that!

A budget isn't meant to be a straightjacket. It isn't the numerical equivalent of a strict parent who wouldn't let you have a new dress for the prom or that hot rod on graduation day. It's simply a tool that will help you wisely manage your money. It gives you a realistic picture of where your money goes rather than having you live your financial life based on a series of hunches. If you have never had a budget, why not start one this year? You have noting to lose and everything to gain. The worst case scenario is that you will spend 30 minutes to an hour and discover that you are indeed that rare individual who does indeed ‘have a feel' for your expenses. You can pat yourself on the back and tell me about your good fortune when we meet. There is, however, a far more likely outcome.

The vast majority of people will discover that there is a major disconnect between what they make and what they spend. If you don't have an emergency fund or an investment portfolio, I'm going to guess you do have large credit card bills. Plastic is the handy way of making up the monthly shortfall. What's the old saying? Oh yes: ‘Denial is not a river in Egypt!' Are your palms sweaty? Do you suddenly feel like the temperature in the room has gone up about 50 degrees? No worries! You'll find detailed instructions in “ One Year to an Organized Financial Life ” to help you craft your budget. Financial planner Russell Wild and I also help you make up the short fall and invest the excess. We help you set realistic financial goals and show you how to achieve them.

Finally let me say that in addition to the carefree/careless use of plastic, most people blow their budget with unconscious spending. An occasional coffee bought at your favorite vendor makes life sweeter. Multiple, complex, large size drinks purchased on a daily basis will drain your pockets of money that could be more carefully directed. Money management isn't about punishment. It's all about balance …one of the key goals in Zen Organizing.


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