It was evening and I was walking to my car after a very interesting theater experience (about philanthropy, family, grief, and asking people for money, put on by Theatre For Change). I was casually chatting with a client as we both walked through the parking lot.
She remarked how I think about money so differently from how so many other people – especially financial planners – do and I chalked it up to the fact that I am so different and, being the age I currently am, don’t really care about being different and it certainly isn’t a negative thing; I embrace it. But then something came out of my mouth that was neither planned nor ever consciously thought:
“I don’t want people to believe the lie about money.”
I think we both kind of gasped, at least I know I did. There it was, my truth, my mission, in one simple statement in a parking lot in Buffalo, NY.
I suppose, like an ex-smoker who feels everyone should quit because s/he did, I can be a little over zealous in my mission. Since I’ve believed the lie of money (“you must work more, earn more, have more in order to be happy, successful, and accepted”) and it occasionally reminds me of its allure, I can more easily spot it in myself and in others and I want so badly for people to live lives of peace and abundance, of truth and joy, of love and priorities. And I think most people want to live those lives, too. Therefore, I have work to do.
My work as a financial planner puts me in a position of doing many calculations to help people make difficult financial decisions such as when to retire, how much to put into a college savings plan or how to set aside money for enjoyment but I always tell people, “Don’t fall in love with the numbers.” The numbers aren’t the story; their lives are the story. Money is the employee who fetches you great coffee so you can keep doing your work. (You can read more about this concept here.)
My family jokes that I have a sign on my back that says, “Please tell me your life story.” This personal trait of mine has lead me to have curious – and sometimes confusingly intimate – conversations with complete strangers while grocery shopping or waiting in line at Disney World. But, it has also helped me connect with people and discuss the intimate place in ourselves where money resides: Our Self-Worth.
You see, the truth, the moral of the life-story, if you will, is all about reminding peopledon’t confuse net worth with self-worth.. Don’t fall for the lie. It’s okay if you’ve fallen for it before, now you know better and can choose a different path.
Zig Ziglar said, “Money won’t make you happy, but everyone wants to find out for themselves.”
Like “The Force” in “Star Wars,” money can be powerful, it can be powerful for good as well as for evil. Join the resistance, leave the Dark Side!
To learn more about money, thoughts, values and relationships, check out any of my blog categories (listed to the right) and if you’re in Western New York, come to our support group: “I HATE Budgeting (But I Like Having Money),” we meet the 1st Saturday 10:30am-noon and the 2nd Monday 6:30-8pm, for a nominal fee ($5-$20pp), usually at Dog Ears Bookstore & Cafe where you may also purchase my books.
Peace and abundance,