For a geeky personal finance kind of girl like me, I am all about digging into issues, fleshing them out, and attempting to learn from situations, so that I can better apply them to my own life.
I haven’t always been that way. Since my teen years, I’ve chosen a fairly frugal lifestyle, but it hasn’t been until recently that I have really been educating myself about making my money work for me (whether it’s $10 or $10,000), the ramifications of debt, and brainstorming ways to increase my income.
I think we do ourselves a huge disservice if we let others think for us. It’s so easy to listen to those more articulate on the news, and nod our head in agreement. In fact, every once in awhile, I find myself doing that because it seems to make sense, but then I pause, reevaluate the deeper meaning and long term impact, and realize that I completely disagree with the statement that I had just been nodding my head too.
That group mentality scares me. I need to be able to understand these larger issues on my own, especially in terms of fiscal responsibility. I need to know how these issues impact my family.
One of the words I chose to dive into was the meaning of “wealth.”
I consider myself an incredibly wealthy woman when I view “wealth” in a broader life context, but I challenged myself to garner insight into the word through a financial realm.
(Now, this is NOT a political discussion. I actually have had this subject line written for two months, long before the Operation Wall Street stuff broke out, so please separate the two. ).
It’s interesting to look at that word in the context of the complex feelings that arise when we examine our beliefs about money. Early on in this series, I stated that Money is Amoral. It’s not intrinsically good or evil, but when we talk about wealth, it starts feeling quite personal.
I’ve had to examine my feelings on wealth from three standpoints – parenting, business woman and my spiritual beliefs. If I am “walking the talk,” my view on wealth needs to be consistent across the board.
So I asked myself a few philosophical questions.
What do I think of when I hear the world “wealth?”
Does it make me feel uncomfortable, excited, dirty, jealous? Does putting business practices in line that garner wealth line up with my world and life view? I keep hearing on the news that wealth is wrong – is it? Am I judgmental towards someone who builds a 10, 000 square foot house, or maybe 25, 000 square feet? What if someday I want to build a something like that and pay cash for every thing I own, can I then spend our money at will? Is it fine to put 75 TVs in your new condo – one in every closet, bathroom etc? Is it even my business?
I could go on and on with some interesting questions and discussions on a very taboo subject, and get riled up in the process, but for me, it truly comes down to a heart issue.
I go back to the premise that Money is Amoral, but it’s the love of money where our ideas get skewed. I want to keep my heart attitude in check. Since our family’s time of unemployment is still in the forefront of my mind, my husband and I have brainstormed, worked hard, and searched out ways to establish multiple streams of income. Having had our eggs all in one basket for too long and realizing where that can lead, we don’t want to rely on just one establishment type of job. $10 here, $10 there, $100 here and there can all start adding up to increased income.
As our family attempts to increase our income, “wealth” (whatever that is to people) needs to be a heart check for our family. Our goal is to be 100% debt free. We just have our house left to go. In paying that off, I would become wealthier than most because no one else “owns us.”(This goes for someone who has a small 600 square foot house, as well.)
My desire is to continually cultivate a life of contentment with little, which then opens the door to fully living a life of gratitude if we have much.
So, what about you? Do you have to ask yourself some hard questions as well?