What are your money messages?

Our typical money messages fail to remind us that money is simply a tool to help our souls evolve. Money, as a form of energy, is an instrument used to pursue fuller, richer and more purposeful lives.

by Todd S. Smith — 

Modern society constantly inundates us with conflicting messages — especially when it comes to money. On the one hand, advertising touts the allure of bigger, better homes, the fastest cars and the coolest new high-tech gadgetry. On the other hand, we repeatedly hear financial gurus attempting, seemingly in vain, to spread the wisdom of zero debt, sound budgeting and saving, and intricate retirement planning.

So, which message is right?

Most of us think to ourselves that the financial goals we so often encounter make logical sense; however, we seem to reach this conclusion begrudgingly, or put that awareness on the incessant back burner. Even as we know what we should do, we continue to find ourselves mired in the financial trappings of modern-day consumerism. Why?

For the most part, our schizophrenic financial behavior occurs because both of these messages miss the mark when explaining proper money use, and the conflict feeds on our sometimes hazardous emotional responses.

The first belief is fueled by our immediate desires. It plays into the culture that tells us we need things to feel successful, accomplished or normal, or that we work hard so we deserve nice things, regardless of their cost. The latter belief draws its power from our fears — fear of lack, fear of being unable to support ourselves and eventually retire, or fear of being unable to properly care for our loved ones. It is no wonder that most of our relationships with money are bipolar, at best.

Our typical money messages fail to remind us that money is simply a tool to help our souls evolve. Money, as a form of energy, is an instrument used to pursue fuller, richer and more purposeful lives. In his book, Women, Men and Money, William Francis Devine puts it eloquently when he states, “[M]oney is an instrument of personal evolution and the power in it lies not in taking possession of [our funds] but in how we behave with them.” This is not to say that we should ignore the money messages that surround us; rather, we should question where those messages fit into our human evolution. Saving for retirement can be a wonderful thing for some people; however, it becomes a Pandora’s box for others.

We can become so fixated, addicted even, to the misconception that life will blossom if we simply follow a program. Such a fixation encourages us to deny the frustrations of not living on purpose or settling for work that fails to fulfill our passion in the present. In order to find fulfillment in life, we must do something satisfying with the funds our work and savings afford us.

Even if our investments yield in excess of 20 percent for years to come, the act of sending money to our favorite investment firm — and waiting for it to produce a profit — does nothing to further our connection with ourselves, build rapport with our partner or cultivate our inherent talents. The traditional investment vehicles in which we constantly are told we should participate do nothing to nurture our souls.

Using money as an instrument through which we enrich our souls involves avoiding the three-pronged dilemma promulgated by the so-called American dream, one which threatens our souls’ very vision: buying a grander home than we either need or can afford, doing work we are not fitted to, and saving, saving, saving with that retirement carrot as our incentive. While they are seemingly important cornerstones of the dream to which most Americans aspire, perhaps we should also become just a little bit skeptical about these pervasive financial messages, realizing that these goals can trap us and severely limit our human evolution.

In describing the energy of life’s intentions, Albert Einstein said, “All means prove but a blunt instrument, if they have not behind them a living spirit.” And so it is true about the instrument of money.

 

Todd Smith, a Certified Financial Planner™, is a financial author, speaker and coach who helps working adults navigate the complex financial landscape to achieve greater economic success and prosperity. 602-485-3896, www.azmythfinancial.com or todd@azmythfinancial.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 5, October/November 2006.

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