Because managing money is usually something kept very personal, the act of being criticized out loud for it is pretty rare. In my own case, other than my spouse, I generally do not share the specific details of my day-to-day finances with others even though I am perfectly willing to give my money opinions in my blog posts as to what to do with your money.
It’s a bit of a weird fine line, I guess. Thinking that I can give advice and still keep most of the really personal details to myself. Is that because I think that I will be criticized for the way I actually manage my own money? Maybe it is.
You Read Me, But Do You “Read Me”?
I have always tried to have a plan about my money and in executing it, I have always been open to revising and tweaking it to make it work better for me. Being a conservative (in money matters only!), the criticism I have received in my life has been just that, for being too conservative.
My response to it then and now has always been that “slow and steady wins the race” and that risky money management may yield some great gains, but also can lead to a financial disaster. I have been right in my long term approach consistently and that makes me feel very comfortable with my decisions.
Is the Goal to Have as Much Money and Things as Humanly Possible?
The $64,000 dollar question (or for you younger readers, the “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” question) is just that: What is the reason that you manage your money? …if you actually do?
It seems that we live in a culture that is constantly telling us that money rules us and that money is all that we should care about in our lives. More money is always good and that is the goal, meanwhile less money is bad and will spell out horrors for you and yours.
That may be the reason that the average person works their ass off in a job that they really don’t enjoy very much and sets up the idea in the brain that someday they will make the really big bucks, hit the lottery, or be so darn successful that F.I.R.E. (financial independence, retire early) will be their ultimate destiny! After all, it happens for some so why not me, too?
My real observation had been that we all get really caught up in what I will call the “money race” here. I was at one time, too, and mostly everyone I have ever known was at least that way in the beginnings of their lives. That’s especially true when you get your first real job and suddenly learn that a job is actually “work” and all you really want to do is other things most of the time. If you never felt that way yourself, congratulations are in order. My only question is this: “When does your ship return to the planet you came from? And say hello to Mother Teresa for me when you get home!”
The “Money Race” Proves That There Is Another Form of “Racism” That We All Have to Deal With!
The color of money racism isn’t black, brown, or white. It is—yes, you guessed it—green. In addition to all of the other color problems that people have to deal with, the “green one” is a sneaky, ever-present one that can really make you feel judged, inferior, and picked on in your life.
Sometimes it’s simple as in “what kind of car do you drive?” or “where did you go in your vacation this summer?”, or even more so, “this winter?” It’s also about size as in “size matters”. “Where do you live and how big is your place?” Square footage and land is a cornerstone of opulence and if you don’t think so, then explain to me why Ted Turner felt it necessary to buy 2 million acres of it and 15 ranches including most of the state of Montana?
The Real Purpose of Money in My Opinion
Money is important to me and you. There isn’t any way to deny that. I can even say it was important to Mother Teresa, too, but of course not for the same reasons as most of us. Money is the means to an end. It’s just that we have to figure out what exactly that “end” is for our own selves.
Money provides us with the reward for hard work, no doubt. Some of us earn it with unbelievable effort and go through extreme trials and tribulations in getting it. Some inherit their wealth. I’m not going to name any names, but there are some very well-known people who never do very much work or ever will in their lives and yet live like kings or “presidents”, if you catch my drift. But for most of us, that’s not our fate.
What most of us do is work, earn our money, and then are faced with the daunting task of protecting it and making sure we have “enough” of it to have enjoyment and the necessities with a little left over at the end to pay for our retirement years. How we do that is very different from person to person.
But, what I know now that I didn’t know back then is that the sooner we get a grip on figuring it all out and having a plan (i.e. managing money), the better off we will be.
I have written over 500 posts in the past 5+ years and most of them can be summarized in this very, very short list I will call “The Plan”, so here it is. Have it laminated on the back of a small card and keep it in your wallet for future use, please.
- Get a good education for yourself, in the best way for you, and keep learning all the time, forever
- Have valuable goals and apply yourself to achieving them even when the going gets really tough
- Work both hard and smart in everything you do
- Learn that you can’t please everyone, but you must always please yourself (with apologies to Rick Nelson for that one)
- Protect your money because you will need it someday, even if you can’t imagine when “someday” is
- Money is a means to an end and that end should be for good, not evil
- Money isn’t everything that there is in life
Cheating, lying, and doing questionable acts to get “mo’ money” is not the way to do it. Buying lottery tickets and spending every penny you get your hands on right now may be fun, but it doesn’t win the race. Life is a long term event and not a sprint. Try to remember that.
Do you get criticized for how you handle your money? Do you have a plan and will you achieve it? Are you smart about your money and do you plan for the long term? What have you learned about money that can help others?