When someone says to you “It’s personal!” it usually means that they don’t want to share with you whatever they’re referring to. So no wonder we use the term personal finance because most us are especially private about our money affairs. So my next question is why is it this way? Why are we so guarded when it comes to how much money we make, how much money we have, etc?
I believe that the reasons all boil down to this…
So why do we carry around with us so much fear in regards to our finances? Let’s look into this issue a bit deeper.
Money is the Root of All Evil
Have you ever heard this before? A truly bold statement especially when taken out of context. Do you believe this to be true? This is the actual original quote as taken from the Bible:
1 Timothy 6:10 to be: 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.
Loving money above all things?
In our quest for acquiring more money or treasures, none of which you can take with you after you die, do we sacrifice a relationship with GOD, relationships with others, or pursuing a greater purpose in life?
How many hours away from our loved ones do we work at a job we don’t even enjoy doing in order to make it? Do we do questionable things in order to obtain it? Do we place higher value on money for our own self-importance? Do we try to impress others with how much we have, how much debt we qualify for or what we can buy with it? Do we place higher value on others who have more money or stuff than we do? These are the questions you should be asking and if the answer is yes, then it is time for self reflection and change. No wonder so many of us carry a great deal of fear regarding money.
Money is Amoral NOT Immoral
Money has no morality nor is it immoral. Great things can be done with it, and terrible things can be done with it. Great things can be done for it and terrible things can be done for it. Morality lies within ourselves, not our bank accounts.
Let us free ourselves of the bondage that holds us in fear with regards to money. Consider it just what it is, a tool that we manage to help others and our family fulfill our purposes. No more, no less.
Feelings of vulnerability can be summed up with one word: Inadequacy. Here is how the word inadequacy is defined.
the state or quality of being inadequate; lack of the quantity or quality required.“the inadequacy of available resources”
insufficiency, deficiency, scantness, scarcity, scarceness, sparseness, dearth,
paucity, poverty, shortage, want, lack, undersupply; More
inability to deal with a situation or with life.“her feelings of personal inadequacy”
I would argue that all of us struggle with some level of inadequacy. Our values do sometimes get mixed up with the value of our net worth, the amount of salary we make, and how we compare to other people. In our society, when you first meet someone at an event oftentimes one of the first questions asked is this… “What do you do?”
What do you think of the person that answers burger flipper? What about mailman? doctor? What about a CEO? Any differences in thoughts? How would you feel answering that if you were one of those people?
But imagine if you were asked at a party… How much money do you make? I could imagine a sore red cheek as a result… or is it just me? Why is this question so offensive especially since through knowing someone’s profession we can assume a certain income level dependent on the their answer anyway?
We by nature compare ourselves with others and often place more value on a person with more wealth or prestige. This comes at an unfortunate cost. We sometimes miss out on the richness of the burger-flippers and perhaps exchange it for the shallowness of the CEO. Or perhaps we walk away from the conversation feeling emptiness stemming from our sense of inadequacy. Social media only magnifies this affect when everyone (including us) is putting on their best show for the world. This can quickly rob us of our own sense of joy.
Don’t believe me yet?
Imagine if you were to find that your coworker doing the exact same job you do made $20,000 more than you. How would you suddenly feel in regards to your place of work? Your boss? Your coworker! Anger comes to mind. What about you?
We don’t talk about our salaries, our debts, or our bank accounts openly because we are afraid to unleash these negative feelings. Or perhaps we don’t want to upset others who make less?
Compare Your Present Self Only to Your Previous Self
To remedy inadequacy, I recommend that you focus your attention to your own financial state and how your present state compares with your previous state. Are you headed in the direction you want to be? Are you paying down your debts and freeing yourself financially? Are you saving and investing for the future? If you aren’t it’s not an insurmountable problem because you can take steps NOW to improve your financial life.
Do not waste time and compare yourself to others! There is no quicker thief to steal your happiness and self-worth than comparing your financial situation to that of another person. Take a realistic approach to your present situation and find ways to improve. Don’t try to impress anyone else. Do what is right for you as long as it doesn’t hurt someone else. There will always be others with more, and others with less. Get over it and improve!
Stop Living on Your Own Island of Financial Isolation
Congratulations. You now have your own private island. Just not the good kind. As a result of our fears, we live most of our financial lives in personal finance isolation. We keep our money matters private on our own personal finance deserted island where we often find ourselves hungry and desperate.
We usually isolate ourselves financially unless we are pursuing a specific task like qualifying for a car loan, applying for mortgage approval, opening a bank account, etc. Then suddenly we are at the mercy of other financial professionals to determine our financial futures.
The danger lies in the fact that on the other side of many of these transactions are salespeople who do not often serve our best interests. I hate to break it to you, but their primary concern is usually with their bottom line, not yours. It is beneficial to bounce ideas off of trusted confidants as to whether or not these transactions are even worth pursuing in the first place! If you don’t seek a second opinion this can have adverse consequences financially for years to come.
The Boat Has Arrived
Of course we can now research things, some of it true, and a quite lot of it untrue. How do we discern between them? I encourage you to read books and blogs like this one yourself (pat on the back as you are already doing this). Please do this with a healthy bit of skepticism.
I also recommend you seek unbiased counsel in order to focus in on your long term goals and go over the specifics of your unique financial situation? This is where you can leave your island, jump onto a ship that takes you towards the sunset that you desire. It’s helpful to have another person help steer the ship.
If you’d like to break down these personal finance barriers, I’d be glad to help you clarify your financial direction, break it down into achievable steps to take, and motivate you to take a proactive role in your financial future.
If you would like to learn more, feel free to contact me directly. Let’s face our fears head on… I dare ya!