Present Tense

Money, money, money….shhhhhhh!

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 nurture 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 who are into the whole Law of Attraction philosophy, wealth can also be termed abundance.

So, let’s dig down 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 supersede 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.

December 6, 2011 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. I teach a personal finance class and I could not agree more. Most people woefully forget the connection between financial freedom and life freedom. Back in 1999, a colleague of mine called me “stupid” for paying off my mortgage early since I then would lose the mortgage deduction. Who is laughing now?

    Comment by Philip | December 6, 2011 | Reply

  2. This is so good Jane. It is about time that we start enjoying the idea of wealth as a good thing. I do not have one single wealthy friend that isn’t good and generous with their fortune. Nothing but peace should come from it if you are a good steward. Nice work!

    Comment by Margie | December 6, 2011 | Reply

  3. I envy your money saving ways, I am the complete opposite. Thanks for the book recommendations, maybe I will get myself on the right track.

    Comment by Jessi | December 9, 2011 | Reply

  4. Great, as always. I agree with it all. Will check out that book; We’re always just a little behind and it would be great to catch up!

    Comment by Francesca Amari, Cabaret singer | December 12, 2011 | Reply


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