Present Tense

Money, money, money…..

Let’s talk about money.   I’ll go first:  I like it, I’m for it and I want to collect as much as I can.  I know this is a very unfashionable thing to say, but I’m past worrying about fashion.  Here’s what I think; I think that most of you feel exactly the same way, but it would be unseemly or crass to say it out loud.  It’s okay if you feel that way, because this post is aimed directly between your eyes.

I’ve always liked money and have always been quite the little saver from the time I was a kid, when I hoarded my allowance and couldn’t wait to put in my little bank every week.   Every Christmas, I would get checks from a few relatives and I nagged my mom to take me to the bank, so I could deposit the money in my passbook savings account.

In Junior High and High School, I saved not only my allowance, but all of the lunch money that my mom gave me, so that I could buy a tennis racket and a 10 speed Schwinn bicycle.  I managed to talk my friends into buying me cookies and milk, while I saved my money, but that’s not the worst of it.  In 9th grade, I would kiss Clayton Rice in the band room for a quarter, everyday!  I look back on it now and am thankful that he never produced a $100 bill or my life may have taken a completely different turn. He became my actual boyfriend and so I lost that stream of revenue.  It’s indecent to charge your boyfriend for, well, you know.  By then, I was old enough to get a real job serving food for tips.

As a grown-up I’ve been completely happy to collect and nuture my money through hard work and discipline.  Ever since my first post-college job, where I made all of  $9000 a year, I’ve always set aside whatever I could afford, with every single paycheck.  Eventually, I set a goal to save at least 10% of what I made.  I married a man who shares my money style and over the years, we’ve scraped together a decent nest egg.

In this country, we’re accused of having ‘puritanical’ views on sex.  I beg to differ; the current culture is absolutely INFUSED with sex, to the point where it’s actually kind of boring and fake and silly.  Where we’re puritanical, is in talking about money.  Go ahead, get with a group of people and start talking about money, I dare you.  If you want to see people screaming and hyperventilating and calling you names, try to have a healthy conversation about money.  Admitting that you earn a decent living, have invested smartly and want to have more money, is like unveiling pornography at Sunday school!

The current climate in our society encourages denial that money is important to you; to be suspicious or downright hostile toward wealth or success.  What hypocrisy.  I have YET to meet anyone who doesn’t wish for higher pay or more money.  And yet, it’s fashionable to deny any interest in money and in my opinion, that’s not noble or hip or realistic.  In fact, it’s flat-out stupid.  I like to live in the real world where money is necessary to fund the basics in life.  I prefer to have more than just the basics and have worked really hard to to make and save enough money to ensure that not only are our basic needs met, but that we can live comfortably and donate to worthy causes.  If you deny the importance of money or think it’s cool to ignore it, you’ll never have enough to meet and exceed those basic needs.  In Deepak Chopra’s book, “Creating Affluence,” he said that money is like blood; it must flow, in order to create wealth in a society and wealth is good, if you hope to be gainfully employed.  Notice I said “wealth is good”, not “greed is good”.  There is a big difference.  For those of you into the whole Law of Attraction philosophy, wealth can also be termed abundance.

So, let’s dig down as to what money represents to me.  First off, I equate it with security; I want to be able to pay may own way without outside help.  When you rely on others to pay your way, there are ALWAYS strings attached.  Keep this in mind, as we seem to be moving toward some other entity paying for our needs: strings, hassles and following THEIR rules, rather than your own.  Secondly, money is freedom.  Read the book, “Your Money or your Life” for a blueprint of how you can achieve financial freedom.  If you have enough money put away, you are no longer beholden to others: your job, your family, the government (UGH!).  You may think that’s out of your reach, but with proper discipline and planning, you can certainly move toward that goal, if it appeals to you.

Look, I’m not saying that money should supercede happiness or fulfillment.  Don’t sell your soul for a piece of gold, but don’t feel awful about making it, growing it and yes, giving some away.

January 23, 2010 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , ,


  1. Awesome post, girlfriend! It is a serious subject, and one that you correctly assess as being taboo in polite company. I’m going to forward this to my kids to read! I wish I’d read something so provocative when I was younger. When I was a kid, my dad always told me “Kath, invest 10% of everything you earn and by the age of 40, you’ll be a millionaire”… sure wish I’d followed his advice! Every time I’ve had to move I end up asking myself how I accumulated so much crap and what a waste most of it is… your post is funny, serious, moving, and timely… thanks for a great post!!

    Comment by Kathy | January 23, 2010 | Reply

    • Please! Pass it along. Our dads were smart, weren’t they? I’m glad I listened to him about money! Thanks for the kind words!

      Comment by janelondon | January 23, 2010 | Reply

  2. Great words of wisdom and logic – our dad would be proud of you!!!

    Comment by Marsha | January 23, 2010 | Reply

  3. Great blog…I agree with it and enjoyed reading it!

    Comment by Francesca Amari | January 23, 2010 | Reply

  4. Excellent post Jane. You’re right about so many things in that piece. Especially about strings being attatched when somebody else is paying the bill *cough* *cough* healthcare.

    Comment by Mike | January 24, 2010 | Reply


    …Wealth is also health – especially in the US.

    Comment by Eliza | January 24, 2010 | Reply

  6. First of all, I’d like to you are good writer. Your blog is easy to read and well thought out.

    Wealth can be a tricky thing. One is only wealthy as compared to someone else. We are usually regarded as a wealthy nation as compared with other nations. Then there are the wealthy in this country which make others feel like they are poor, even thought, by many standards they are not. No one should appologize for saving up for something and making sacrifices along the way,

    My struggle is with the people and organizations that surround me that enjoy spending money while I’m trying to save it. So, I hold in tighter to what I have saved. Greed? Hopefully not. Worry? Most defintely.

    Comment by Big Steve | January 24, 2010 | Reply

    • Steve, thanks for the kind words. I completely understand your point; but we can only take care of our own finances, I guess. Kind of like the tortoise and the hare! I think most of us are still worried about the broad economy and our personal economy and that probably won’t change in the near term.

      Comment by janelondon | January 24, 2010 | Reply

      • I think the economy is secondary. In good times and bad people strive for wealth. I agree wealth in itself is not bad. How one attains wealth and how one behaves once its gotten is the bigger issue. If it comes suddenly, it can change people. If it comes by work and sacrifice, it make you richer yet.

        Comment by Big Steve | January 24, 2010

  7. Good stuff sister. I LOVE money myself and intend to always have enough for me AND anyone else that needs it. Let it flow!!!

    Comment by Margie Jennings | January 24, 2010 | Reply

  8. Great subject Jane! I love it.
    Money, that is – Gives new meaning to going Green! Please! Let me go green!
    What I find interesting is that, it seems when you are young and just starting out, it was easy to talk to your friends/family about money (ie. how much you make, how much you spend and what on etc..) But it seems the older you get the less PC it is to talk about $$. So when you have been successful (and are truly modest about it)and it would be fun to share your success(just a tiny bit, nothing extravagant mind you)it doesn’t seem like it is very “PC” to discuss your success with close friends and family. Is it just me? Or do others feel this way? I find the older I am, the less I feel others are comfortable about talking about things important – like the all important green stuff. Money sure doesn’t buy happiness though! Just ask Tiger Woods! Although I’d give a ton of $$$ to look even a little like Elin!

    Comment by Sherry | January 26, 2010 | Reply

    • Sherry:
      I agree completely. Thanks for the comment and for reading my blog. Feel free to pass it around to friends and family, if you read something they might enjoy.

      Comment by Jane | January 27, 2010 | Reply

  9. I’m jealous of people like you who somehow knew intuitively early on, how important money really was. Not me. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have slipped through my hands. Maybe millions! Now I have nothing to show for it, and my false faith that I would always make it/have it is…going…going…GONE!

    It’s hard for me to imagine the feelings you had as a child, actually EAGER to get to the bank and put it away. Is it like running/exercising or beginning any new habit that might at first be unpleasant, but which with accomplishment becomes enjoyable? Were you born with some innate sense of responsibility regarding money? Would you have inherited that sense without a supportive, instructive father? Does/did your responsibility in this area translate to other areas of overall wellness? (i.e. physical fitness, health/nutrition, loyalties in relationships, sexual promiscuity/safety?)

    This seems to me, to be the question of the 21st century…how do we recreate and reinforce the best habits of humanity (like your financial responsibility) using our evolving understanding of psychology, biology, neurology, and genomics to be our best and teach our youth to be even better, through whatever aspects of family, friendships, education, genetics, self-discipline and self-discovery can contribute to excellence?

    Walter Mischel did a cool study demonstrating the importance of self-restraint in children as a predictor of self-fulfillment and accomplishment in adults, but the moral of the self-discipline story seems to be that we are each strong in some areas and weak in others.

    Regardless, I can’t help wondering how you would have done on the ‘marshmallow test’?


    Comment by Ted | February 3, 2010 | Reply

    • Ted:
      I must have been born with a certain ascetic sensibility, in that I was always able to delay gratification; that is, until I discovered alcohol as a teenager, but that’s another post. In my opinion, nurture outweighs nature, in most cases; we learn discipline from family, school, martial arts, military, youth groups, etc. I think if you don’t learn some self-restraint as a kid, i.e. the “marshmallow test”, it is probably harder to develop as an adult.
      Personally, I am quite disciplined in setting and reaching goals, whether it’s financial, physical, emotional or spiritual. I would love to ascribe it to luck, but like anyone who is successful in ANY capacity, it’s hard work, right?

      Comment by janelondon | February 3, 2010 | Reply

  10. I’ll look forward to hearing about that future post, then…how the smart, disciplined sensible girl who had her finances, fitness, emotional & spiritual health in order, was sidetracked by alcohol. Why was that your weakness? What did it offer? How’d you overcome it? My own strengths/weakness were reversed from yours–alcohol had no power over me, but I never mastered money. You’d think the skills/strengths in managing one would transfer to the other, wouldn’t you? As a personal trainer, I am always interested in the way many overweight/unfit clients track every detail of their financial ledgers, but don’t/can’t do the same for their caloric deposits & debits. There again, I myself am strong in one and weak in the other. Don’t you think one of the great tricks to good living is to recognize the weaknesses of your own nature before they cause too much damage, then surround yourself with friends/family & others who can help shore them up? Isn’t balance the ultimate goal, since it seems that no amount of success in one area can truly compensate for a glaring weakness in another?

    Comment by Ted | February 4, 2010 | Reply

    • Well, Ted, perhaps if you read some of my other posts, you’d see the narrative that you seem to seek; or not. The point of this blog for me, is to move FORWARD, to let go of past mistakes, behaviors, etc. I think it’s a rare person, who has nothing but strengths, don’t you? So, while I’ve admitted my weaknesses in previous posts, my plan is to develop, celebrate and share my strengths. That’s just where I”m at; one can only navel-gaze for so long and then action is required.

      Comment by janelondon | February 4, 2010 | Reply

  11. YES! I do agree! Perhaps I didn’t emphasize that enough in my last comments. I’m looking forward to hearing about how you have used your strengths to move forward in this regard as well as others, and how you have successfully compensated for your weaknesses in this regard and others. ACT we must! And FORWARD we must go. But how & where? And…how & where FIRST? One of my best friends has a teenage son who is currently experimenting with heavy doses of alcohol. It’s scary, expecially since there is a family history of addiction, but neither my friend nor I have experience in the same area of personal weakness, nor of the same weakness in any of our other children, so we’re not quite sure how BEST to act. Which way, even, is FORWARD…to have faith that this otherwise good kid will outgrow his current experimentation and rebellion, or to intervene more strongly. (drug testing, medical intervention, mental health consultation, etc.) To ask him to leave the house (he is 18) or to nurture him inside it. It seems that our strength in this area of our own lives leaves us weak as potential mentors in his. Perhaps your story has more credibility, is infused with more wisdom, can help in some way that ours can’t. I apologize that this theme has strayed so significantly from your original discussion of financial responsibility, but inside it was a hint of another discussion, related but different. I can’t help looking forward to it.

    Comment by Ted | February 4, 2010 | Reply

    • Ted, I’m really not comfortable talking about this via the internet. If you actually want my thoughts on the subject, perhaps e mail is best.

      Comment by janelondon | February 4, 2010 | Reply

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