“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” -King James Bible
“Having money isn’t everything, not having it is.” –Kanye West
Whether we chose to admit it or not, money is power. We do have a choice though, will we hold the power or will we assign it to money (or to people with it)?
This may be a really good time to stop for a second and notice what you have already accomplished. We often get so focused on doing more, getting better, getting closer to that allusive goal post, we can forget to reflect and be grateful what why we have already built.
What can you reflect on financially and be proud or grateful for? Have you caught up on the bills? Paid off a car note? Tackled a loan? Have you been faithful about retirement or college fund savings? Anything! Find something that you can say you have done right with your money, even if you aren’t where you want to be financially today.
Now let’s look to the future. What do your values (not your “shoulds”) tell you that you need?
[I equate “shoulding” on yourself to s$%ting on yourself. I pay attention to anytime a sentence or thought begins with I/you SHOULD. Why?! Who says?]
Anyone who knows me really well knows that I hate debt…. Like a lot. My journey isn’t yours but in the spirit of sharing, in order for me to feel free to explore other financial goals, I needed (for me- no one else) to pay off my student loans. Pursuing that goal was totally for and about me and it was really interesting to get (unsolicited) feedback from others. I often heard things like, ‘You don’t need to do that you should do this…’ or ‘I’ll never pay off all my student loans’ (as though it was a frivolous goal). But it meant a lot to me so I kept at it. I’m stubborn!!
I don’t really care what your goal is, but I challenge you to take your power back when it comes to money. Set your financial goals for yourself and keep them for yourself and your family.
There are so many financial philosophies out there. When you are thinking about your values and using them to guide your goals, I encourage you to find one for yourself to help give you structure and ideas; a community of like-minded people to support you when it is difficult to reach the finish line.
Before I list some names, I will preface by saying I am not endorsing any of these as a solution and I know that no plan is perfect. We can find flaw anytime we search for it. Instead of searching for flaws, perhaps you can find nuggets of support for yourself.
David Bach (I mentioned one of his books in my last post, I find him really helpful.)
Suze Orman (She has resources on all sorts of things even wills and estate planning.)
Dave Ramsey (Believes in living debt FREE and has a lot of free resources on his website.)
Since this month is tax season, I thought it would be the perfect time for us to think about money together.
Each year, there are random surveys of why people get divorced. People are presented with a list of one to two word options for why they got divorced. Each year the top three are typically:
That makes sense, right? Each of those is really complicated and has very deep meaning and implications.
A few years ago I read, “Smart Women Finish Rich” by David Bach. (He has written about a dozen books some geared towards women, others are more gender neutral.) His book was the first ‘financial philosophy’ book that challenged me to think about my values around money. Which is something I wasn’t even challenged to do in graduate school!! There was an entire class devoted to sex therapy and you could specialize in child therapy but there was no content on specifically helping couples/families work through financial challenges! How to talk to kids about money, how to work through financial abuse, how to spot financial abuse!
I have come to believe that it isn’t part of a counseling curriculum largely because it is such a social faux pas to even discuss it!! We could spend days guessing at how that got started, but let’s just dive right in!
What values does money represent for you? What is important about money to you?
The answer is different for all of us and it should be. What are your values around money? What does money represent to your and your life?
In his book, Bach says that it is nearly impossible to stick to your financial goals if you don’t know what your money values are rooted in and I really agree with him. Does your spending reflect your values? Or does it reflect your fears?
So here is my challenge for the next two weeks!! Make a list of what your values are around money and talk to someone about them. I would love it if you shared them with me and it could be a really powerful conversation to have with a family member.