I find that an interesting relationship exists between many people, (women especially) and money. For some people (women especially), relationships come first; everything else – including money – is secondary. This is not flawed logic or values, but it may be the root cause of why people have this dysfunctional relationship with money. What if we’re successful? Does that mean that we’ve somehow placed material success above those relationships? Maybe… but maybe not. We need to make peace with the fact that our relationship with money is (I’m bristling even as I type this, but stay with me) as important as familial relationships and friendships in that it directly impacts those relationships. Our money plays a role in our lives, our relationships, and in our ability to serve our higher purpose.
I read a great post recently by Lisa Earle McLeod about motivating employees to be more productive by communicating their role in the larger scheme of things; in other words, get them to buy into the company’s mission and vision. I watched a program about the “Rosie the Riveter”s who made airplanes during WWII. The woman being interviewed told of how they were so exhausted but that they knew they played a role in the war and that they very much wanted the United States to be victorious, so they worked that much harder. Their work was aligned with a higher purpose beyond their own efforts, needs, and desires.
It is not socially acceptable to love money but it is socially acceptable to love what money can do. Let me pose some scenarios to you where money plays a vital role:
Scenario 1: A convent of nuns who have all taken a vow of poverty and have given up all worldly goods still needs money to heat their home, electricity so they can see in the dark, running water, food, and basic clothing and living essentials. Who pays for these items? Sometimes the nuns may serve as teachers or may provide material items for sale to generate income to sustain them but generally donors are responsible for maintaining that convent. Donors share some of their resources with these women to help them serve a higher purpose. What if these donors didn’t have money to share or chose not to share it?
Scenario 2: The husband in a family of three children is stricken with a deadly disease. His family hosts a fundraiser to help cover the cost of medical treatment. Tens of thousands of dollars are raised. People come from all over, even those that don’t even know the man, to donate towards his cause. They are using their money to serve a higher purpose.
Scenario 3: A single mother with two children scrimps and saves to send the children to college but also saves for her own retirement so that she will not be reliant on her children for support. She uses her resources with not only her children’s needs but her own needs in mind. By doing so, she serves a higher purpose; she is a role model for financial self stewardship.
Sacrifice is laudable but not to the point where is causes you to become a burden on anyone else.
We must develop a healthy relationship with money in order to direct it towards our purposes. When you identify what your highest purpose is, and what you must do to live it, it will become crystal clear what you need to do with your money and what you certainly can do without.