Finances. They are frightening. Why? Because we’re told that finances are the only thing separating us from All The Bad Things. All the bad things our ancestors had to worry about were saber toothed tigers and occasional starvation. But these days we have to worry about paying the phone bill and the internet bill and the rent and buying groceries and what about retirement and what if we don’t have enough to send our future kids to school???
Don’t worry – there is an entire chapter devoted to Finances in my upcoming book, Ultimate Life Success.
But enough about you. I personally avoided dealing with my finances in my early twenties, for a number of reasons:
1. Smug rebellion against my un-cool father and his frighteningly good financial skills
2. Fear I would somehow uncover a terrible problem, like “OMG DID I ACTUALLY SPEND $14 563.91 AT LULULEMON THIS YEAR?!”
(I did not.)
3. I’m young! Carefree! Coasting by on my looks! Who cares about finances?!
THE ANSWER IS THAT I CARE. Starting NOW.
And you can, too!
Being financially savvy has only 3 major components:
1. Use words like ‘accrue’ and ‘debenture’. You do not have to know what they mean for them to work, because they are magical. These magical words are imbued with the power to strike paralyzing fear into the hearts of anyone who isn’t Warren Buffett. Once you have awed and impressed those around you with your savvy, they will assume you are financially competent and, presumably, lavish you with gifts.
2. Know Your Price Range. Can you order sushi tonight? What about buying the nice shampoo instead of the industrial-by-product stuff? What is the maximum you can pay in rent per month? Only you can answer these questions! Yes, taking a long, hard, honest look at your finances to determine your budget can be a harrowing experience. So remember: if you are overwhelmed, simply yell debenture until you are calm enough to continue.
3. Don’t spend too much money.
It’s just that simple!
Ok, secretly it’s not. Underneath the obvious bad things are All The Bad Things that not having ‘enough’ might mean about us; about who we really are. Financial fears are really fears of All The Bad Things we see shapeless within us and try to hide from the world, All The Bad Things we try to avoid and deny by focusing on money instead.
The truth is that All Sorts of Bad Things can happen to anyone, at any time, no matter how much Debenture they Accrue. I mean seriously bad things – not just missing your payments, or not being able to retire, or losing your home, or feeling unimpressive or even ashamed. I mean getting hurt, or lost, or broken. Being forced to face the reality that maybe you’re not good enough, never were and never will be. That’s why I really avoided looking at money in my early twenties. That’s why people work themselves literally to death in order to have ‘enough money to enjoy life’. Because we are afraid that we won’t have enough, that we aren’t enough. We use money like a talisman, brandishing it against the fear and pretending that it can protect us, that it gives us a measure of control in this crazy thing we call life.
It doesn’t. No matter how much you have, you will still get hurt. And no matter how much you have, you still wake up just you, every morning.
Facing finances is important. More important is facing ourselves. Are you scared that you’re a major asshat unworthy of human love? If so: face that fear. Feel it. Don’t fight it. You’ll either discover that you’re actually alright, or that yes, you’re an asshat but so is everyone and you’re a beautiful one of a kind high quality asshat that isn’t just worthy of love, but is loved, and deeply.
How we approach our finances can tell us what we’re most afraid of. Living in this culture that bombards us constantly with proof that there is not enough and we are not enough and leaves most of us afraid of a lot of things. Generally, when you feel fear about money, that’s not what it’s really about.
There’s lots to be scared of. Life is uncertain in every conceivable way. Being human is a dangerous, delicate thing.
So feel the fear, the real fear, whatever it is. Don’t fight it. Let uncertainty into your heart – it’s already there anyways. Understand that, sure, All The Bad Things could happen. But all the good things are happening too.