Those holiday credit card statements are starting to arrive and sobering thoughts are turning to organizing for 2016 taxes. As one of our goals or resolutions for the New Year, many of us want to work on getting our financial houses in better order. As in “brick and mortar” houses, there is always something that could use our attention.
Our unique relationships with money are based on our upbringing and life experiences. In our working years, we exchange much of our time for money, often due to the pressures of family obligations. In retirement, we puzzle over risk tolerance, investments, expenses, providing for healthcare and long term care and living on fixed incomes in a low interest rate environment.
Days gone by, discussing money may have been considered impolite. Today, we have hundreds of authors and Internet gurus advising on the “nuts and bolts” as well as the softer side of money, such as Suze Orman, Brent Kessell (It’s Not About the Money) and many others. Financial archetypes range from “the guardian” to “the artisan” to “the innocent” to “the warrior”. We are told we need “the courage to be rich” and to unlock our emotions around money. I’m sure these provocative ideas sell plenty of books and seminars, but it takes discipline and determination to actually incorporate any of this good insight into our lives. A good place to start is the library or the Internet – for free!
In Your Money or Your Life (Vicki Robin & Joe Dominguez) the authors suggest four money perspectives:
- The Street-Level perspective – banking, investing, insurance, taxes – Daily Money Management
- The Neighborhood perspective – the emotional/psychological realm, including our money mythology:
- Money as Security
- Money as Power
- Money as Social Acceptance
- Money as Evil
- The Citywide perspective – our cultural understanding of money – “We ignore intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth, having gotten stuck trying to continue to grow physically by adding more and more possessions.”
- The Helicopter perspective – personal responsibility and transformation – “Money is something we choose to trade our life energy for.”
- Other often neglected discretionary uses of life energy include your relationship to yourself and others, your creative expression and your contribution to your community.
As we start 2017, full of possibilities, I encourage you to open the door into your money personality – some may need to relax and let go, some may need to step up! As Suze Orman says, “If you expect your money to take care of you, you must take care of your money.”