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Your Hard Earned Money And You

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I woke up today thinking about money. I mean, I think about it every day, but this morning, it was different. Thing is someone owes me money. Money that should have been paid into my bank account weeks ago, but it hasn’t been yet and I got slightly unsettled thinking about it. If I hound my debtor persistently, I will get it back but I don’t want to be like that. This however got me thinking about how I relate to money, a thought I want to share with you.

Some popular money phrases that we hear about include, ‘money isn’t everything’, that it can’t buy love, common sense, integrity, happiness and contentment etc. And it is so true. If wealthy people could throw money at all their problems, they will be problem-free, but we all know this is not the case. How often have you thought to yourself ‘only if I had more money, I’ll be okay?’ And then you get some financial respite but realize that nothing changed, you still worry and are still apprehensive?

Having said this though, I believe that a lot of relationship/family squabbles can be avoided, physical & emotional discomforts minimised, positive life experiences heightened, stress levels considerably reduced, entrepreneurial opportunities created and big dreams achieved only if money was available. So, before I go into my gist, my take on money is that while it can’t buy everything, it can solve a lot of problems (and I mean A LOT of problems). It is one of the best tools in the world.

Realistically, most of us work or own a business/side gig to make money. Yes, you might want to improve lives, share your gifts with the world through your work, want to make a difference and help people realise their potentials but I believe that at the end of the day, you also want to eat well, live under a nice covered roof, send your children to good schools, wear nice clothes, do other basic things- things that require money. So really, wherever the gauge falls in your world, we all have an interdependent relationship with money. The extent of its importance or its influence on our attitudes is another thing but nearly everyone will agree that it is a basic need. Renowned Zig Ziglar said, “Money isn’t everything, but it ranks right up there with oxygen.” I totally agree with him.

3 things that influence my relationship with Money

I love money, but it is not an unhealthy obsession, and different things influence how I relate to money. My own relationship with money stems mainly from 3 things- my upbringing, my personal experiences and my desires. For others, it’s their culture, habits, society, religion and media etc.

  1. I grew up in a home where money wasn’t at my prompt disposal, and while my now retired father’s stature afforded him some privileges, my siblings and I were raised under austere conditions when it came to money. In our middle-income home, it wasn’t scarce but we didn’t have excesses and we didn’t get everything we asked for. I had to save my pocket monies and those earned from doing holiday jobs. That background moulded my money ideals and taught me to appreciate the efforts it takes to make money. It also taught me not to be irrationally excessive but to save for what I want. I have my excesses that I give in to from time to time, but because I’ve had experiences where money wasn’t at my beck and call, I can navigate the paths of delayed gratification.
  2. My personal experiences so far as an adult have led me to different points in my life- from prolonged ‘dry up’ periods where I was faced with having to stretch sooo little money for as long as was possible, to periods of abundance where I could afford to be lavish. Having experienced both situations intensely, I have become somewhat adept at managing money. So now, if I have a lot or a little, I know how to adapt, be satisfied and to spend wisely, whatever the circumstance.
  3. My desires are strong drivers for my connection to money. These include the desire to have a level of autonomy when it comes to financial matters, to be able to deal with unforeseen events without my life coming to a standstill, to live a comfortable lifestyle now and in the future, take care of my loved ones and help people out. My identity is not tied to how much/little money I have, but my desire is to be able to have a considerable measure of control over it to live life on my own terms, as is within my reach.

It is therefore crucial for me to evaluate my relationship with money from time to time. If you are already good with it, how do you become better. If you have a poor relationship with it, how do you improve. If you are unsure of what relationship you have with it, how do you figure that out. I am no financial adviser, but a few probes every now and then help me re-assess my relationship with money. These questions may seem too much of a procedure but for something that I work so hard for, it is worth that regular mental check-in.

3 questions to ask yourself constantly regarding money

  1. Why am I working so hard for money? Establishing the motive is the starting point. Are you constantly paying off debts, is it because of hoarding, penny-pinching or philanthropic tendencies or because you want to use money to acquire things, to pursue life goals, leave a bountiful inheritance for your children, to keep keeping up with the Joneses, to take care of your and family’s needs, to study more, to be more charitable, to buy a nice house, to send your kids to good schools, to be able to take care of your parents, to enjoy new experiences, to enjoy the good things of life or to establish businesses that employs people etc.?
  2. Do I know where my money is going? Do you have a budget (monthly, bi-annual or annual), review your bank statements, go over invoices to ensure that you are not being overcharged (it can happen), are you being penny wise but pound foolish? Your budgets (if you budget) and bank statements can help you track expenses and your ‘financial performance’ on a regular basis. It also helps you know if what you budgeted for is what we spent money on? It helps with gauging if your costs outweigh your income or vice versa?
  3. What’s my intention with money, what is my money goal? We have career goals, relationship goals, life goals and all those other goals, but do you have a financial goal? A goal helps streamline our energies, helps us focus. And when we attain a goal, no matter how small it is, we celebrate it. That win reinforces our willpower & commitment and as a result, our outlook on our self improves. A financial goal could be something like deciding to consult a certified financial adviser to plan your finances, saving a proportion of your take-home income every month, investing in a flexible unit trust to cover a vacation expense (not using the credit card), paying off 10% of the credit card bill or shopping under-budget each month. It can be big or small, as long as there is a financial goal, there is something to work towards.

Over the years, I am learning to be more responsible and be less ‘happy-go-lucky’. Also, due to no fault of ours, we sometimes find ourselves in unpleasant financial situations because life happens and it hits us hard unexpectedly when it does. You lose your job or your spouse loses his/her job or your parents do, you end up being the breadwinner for your entire family, you need to start paying for a sibling’s school fees, your financial sponsor cannot continue with their commitment to you, you become a parent unexpectedly or a divorce happens, an accident incurs huge medical expenses etc. It’s life, it’s real and it happens daily. However, whatever situations we find ourselves in, having a good foundation and establishing measures to keep a tab on our monies really helps. They say, where your heart is, your money is as well. We put so much effort into making it, it is equally vital to track how we stash and splurge it.

What methods/approaches do you adopt to maintain a positive relationship with your hard earned money?

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Till we chat again, save some money, keep shining, share this blog with your awesome tribe and take care of yourself XOXOXO

Image Source:Pixabay

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