Whether we’re spending it, making it, talking about it or even trying to conquer it; money is as important to human survival as oxygen and water. Turn on your television, open a newspaper or surf the internet. Money is everywhere; it changes everything and affects everybody. Yet in spite of this, we are ignorant—ignorant that money is so much with us we don’t even notice the affect it has on us.
Aesop said, “Familiarity breeds contempt” and if that’s true then money is the most contemptible thing of all. Our daily interactions with money and society’s incessant messages become the air we breathe and this familiarity actually prevents us from managing our finances well. We are unconscious of the beliefs and behaviors that form the foundation of our life with money—and, our life in general.
As a child, you’re introduced to money without so much as a hello. But when you get a new toy or gadget, at least you get the instructions on how to use it. Not so with money. You grow familiar and intimate with money and begin using it as soon as you start getting an allowance, and so you grow up thinking that you know how money works. So when money problems arise, you turn to mechanical solutions: you strategize your investments, balance your budget, pay down debt. For awhile you feel in charge.
But when that old familiarity returns, so do the dysfunctional patterns. The truth becomes painfully clear: money is not so easily understood. It’s complex and the only way to master it is to go back to the beginning and rethink how money works in your life.
Three simple steps will start you on the path to creating a new relationship with money.
- Ask yourself what you think money really is. You may not be able to answer that question because you never really think much about its role in your life. You simplify it as something to pay for the necessities of life and once gone, you have to make more. With money as important as it is in your life, it takes a deep understanding of its role to be able to initiate financial change.
- Talk about money. Like sex, you probably never learned to talk about money. You picked up messages, interpreted them alone and turned them into beliefs that run(or ruin) not only your financial life—but also your relationships. Talking more about money, not less, enhances your understanding and management of it.
- Create a new money philosophy. Money is not concrete or mechanical; it’s a fluid force in your life. Once you understand its role you will see money as the slave and not the master. You will realign your perspective on money and begin setting and living by reasonable rules that put you in charge once and for all.
It’s time to get off the merry-go-round and take charge of the money in your life. Now is the time to get a handle on more than just money strategy and tactics; now is the time to forge a new money management philosophy that fits your life perfectly.
The bottom line? When it comes to money—Ignorance is Not Bliss!