Love Affair - With your Money

Derek Notman, CFP |

What if I told you that it’s quite alright to engage in an affair?  You might think I’ve lost my mind and my morals.  But not quite!  I want to encourage you to have an affair with your money and to seriously learn to love and value your money.

 

Why do so many of us have a difficult time realizing our financial goals?  Well, let me share a little secret with you when it comes to your money.    Financial success is not about 401K savings, cash reserves and debt management.  It is about your feelings, desires and your vision.  Those that are financially successful first identify their hopes, dreams, and goals for the future and then leverage the power of money to help them realize it all.  And ironically, it all starts with love. 

 

I know it sounds unconventional but think about it.  How can you have a successful relationship with anything or anyone, if you don’t start with love?  This same principle applies to your finances.

 

Loving your money is ok.  We just were never taught it was ok because no one taught our teachers that is was ok to love money and so on and so on.

 

This all sounds easy enough, but how do you learn to love your money?  Having been in the finance industry for well over a decade, I’ve come to learn a thing or two when it comes to attributing real value and learning how to truly love your money, and the powerful concept of what your money can do for you.

 

HARNESS THE POWER OF MONEY IN YOUR LIFE

A lot of people have a love-hate relationship when it comes to money matters.  We love it when we have a lot of money.  We love it when it’s payday.  However, this quickly turns to fear and avoidance when we have to start paying out for all manner of expenses (car, house, boat, tuition, food, etc.)

 

We tend to find ourselves in a bit of a conundrum (sorry for the $20 word!) when it comes to money.  We all need it, but yet most of us are taught that money is the “root of all evil” and that money is not something to be talked about.  To add to this conundrum is the fact that so many people today equate having money with being a good or important person.  The two should not be reliant upon each other.

 

Since when does having money make us a good or important person? 

 

The problem with this philosophy is that the attention and focus is in the wrong place.  We should not be focusing on the amount of money we have, but rather, on our attitude & relationship with our money.  

 

What we need to do is shift the focus and see what money can, and is doing for us.  We need to start looking at the power of money in our lives.  Not in an obsessive way, but in a respectful way – and in a way that we are in control of our money, and not the other way around.

 

This sounds quite simple doesn’t it?  Not quite – I’ve outlined a few key factors to get you started on your journey.

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Change how you value money

All too often we are taught to buy flashy things and show off our money.  Maybe we are not specifically told to do this, but look at our society.  How many times do you see people flashing their expensive cars, handbags, big houses, etc?  We are bombarded with these influences which impact our own thoughts on money.

We need to put more value on money as a tool and not as the end all be all.  You probably heard of the screwdriver analogy.  No one wants a screwdriver, they want what it does for them.  I believe the same should be true with money.

 

Then take it a step further, does having all the “stuff” money can buy us really make us and society better, or is it just filling some internal void temporarily?  This is an extremely personal question that most people avoid like the plague!  Those who come to grips with it, and transition how they view & value money are the ones who achieve a much higher level of happiness and success in their lives.

 

Money Can Protect The Ones You Love

In order to love your money, you need to learn how to use it as a tool to ensure that the best things in your life i.e. your family, those dearest to you, and even a business are protected from catastrophe.  Whether you use life insurance to ensure that your family and business are taken care of, or you use it as a tool to maximize an inheritance and charitable giving, it is important to think about placing your money where your heart is. 

Let’s face it, talking about our mortality is about the least enjoyable topic of conversation I can think of!  But, what I have seen is that the people who have the conversation, and then do something about it, enjoy a peace of mind at a much higher level then they previously did.

 

Money Can Work For You And Ensure A Happy Future

You have probably heard the term “money can’t buy you happiness”.  It has been my philosophy and even of those like Elizabeth Dunn & Michael Norton who wrote the book Happy Money, that money actually can buy you happiness if used in the right manner. 

Successful people understand this concept.  They use money to pay for experiences over things.  They use their money to provide for others, whether that is college education for their kids or giving to a charity.  Putting your money to work for you can and will increase not only your happiness but your success.

 

See Money As A Blessing

One of the most influential ways you can love your money is to use it to love others.  There are so many possibilities at your disposal – sponsor a school uniform for a child whose parents cannot afford one or invest in someone who is starting a small business.  When you start giving, you will reap the rewards – it may not be in a fiscal sense, but perhaps in the form of seeing a child who is happy and relieved or seeing that small business owner thrive because of your investment.

 

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EVALUATE YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO MONEY

The best way to improve your relationship to money is the same principle applied to improving any relationship you have.  It is quite simply through love.  It is very difficult to enjoy a fruitful relationship with your money unless you’re willing to love it, through the good times and the bad times.

 

When our relationships continue to improve, then we know we’ve invested our love in the right way.  Our relationship with money will continue to improve and grow as long as we honor it in the same way as the other important relationships in our lives.

 

How do we do this?  By paying attention to it.  When your loved one comes home, you acknowledge them right?  Even if you’re a little busy, you pay attention to them when they enter a room.  One wouldn’t usually brush them off and deal with later – we make time for our loved ones.  This is how we improve our relationship with our money.  We learn to respect it.

           

By applying these principles, you will most certainly harness positive changes regarding your financial success.

 

Prioritize Your Time And Your Money

Life is busy and the older we get, the fuller our lives become.  We need to choose how we spend our time and put our money in places that align with our values.  So, if you want to place more value on the money in your life, then you must make a conscious choice to prioritize it.

 

Acknowledge The Good

When we do well and achieve merits, we display them.  Whether it’s a trophy or a certificate, we like to feel good about our achievements.  The same should apply to your relationship with money – when you’ve made some progress, allow yourself a moment of recognition.

In fact, I give you permission to talk about money!  Celebrate the good things you are doing with your money and tell others.  If enough of us do this just maybe we can start to change the perception of money to that of something good for us all.

 

Keep A Sense Of Humor

Listen, we can’t be serious and glum all the time – it’s just not healthy and you’re no fun to be around.  When people can laugh at themselves, they’re self-aware and their readiness to not take themselves so seriously is a magic combination for successful relationships.  The same applies to money – it doesn’t have to be so serious.  Try having a little fun and seeing the silver lining.  It’s ok to make mistakes with your money, just as long as you learn from them!

 

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Respect Your Money

The best relationships are built on respect – self-respect and mutual respect towards the people in your life.  Believe it or not, your money is trying to tell you something, so you need to pay attention and look for the clues.  Money is the tool people use, so respecting money is in effect respecting people.

 

 

Avoid Knee-Jerk Reactions

There will always be situations that are unexpected – this is just life.  However, when we’re faced with these unexpected situations, we find out all the details and then move on.  When something goes array with your money, learn to devote the same attention to understanding the dynamic before acting irrationally.  When you review life and its roller coaster ride calmly, our responses to knee-jerk reactions will be better managed.

 

Understand The Difference Between Want And Need

This is an important point – we all want certain things at some stage or another in our lives.  In our “I want it now” society it is easy to say a want is a need.  Don’t fool yourself, most needs are just a want in disguise.  Be honest with yourself and evaluate each and every purchase and use with your money. 

For years the millennial generation has said they need to buy a home but yet a recent study just revealed that 2/3rd of millennial home owners regret buying the home.  Perhaps their need was truly a want….

 

Embrace Change

Life and relationships are interesting to say the least – there’ll be times when things are exciting and times when things are a little mundane or even stressful and scary.  Nothing lasts forever and the same is true about our relationships with money.  It can’t be sunshine and roses all the time and it’s during these less than rosy times that we need to make the choice to just love it anyway.

 

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To conclude, we are faced with a barrage of choices every day.  Being a fence sitter is not going to assist you in making informed choices.  Change your mindset to empower yourself to make informed choices.  As much as most of us detest change because it’s uncomfortable – wouldn’t it be great to let yourself see that on the other side of pain is a money relationship that is filled with love and freedom. 

 

The only thing stopping your decision to love money is you.

 

Thank you for reading!

 

Cheers,

 

Derek Notman