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Money, Gollum and The Ring

by Ouida on March 17, 2010


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Master, don’t take it to him
He wants the precious.
Always he is looking for it.
And the precious is wanting to go back to him…
But we mustn’t let him have it
Gollum

It’s a livin’ thing
It’s a terrible thing to lose
It’s a given thing
It’s a terrible thing to lose
Electric Light Orchestra

The importance of money
flows from it being a link between
the present and the future.
John Maynard Keynes

Money is a living thing. That it seems to have a mind of its own is why so many of us seem to have such poor control over it. The hot stock tip that crashes, the totaled car that you still owe on, the feeling that when you get ahead just a little bit, someone steps up to claim your surplus. Money like the ring of lore truly seems to come and go where it pleases providing the link in our lives between planning for today and planning for the future. Who plans for the future without consideration of money? Money seems to hang out with some people and flee the company of others. The presence of money can create poverty in the lives of those who have it and the absence of money can create wealth in the lives of those who know how to live richly. What is money then, is it want and desire does it feel or is money simply neutral responding to the feelings and emotions of those who handle it?. In my post The Money Shot I talk about an amusing and fun exercise that I did to forge a conscious relationship with my money. The truth is that until my Walmart epiphany I had engaged in behaviors that told money that I had no respect for it. I spent what I did not have on things that I ultimately did not remember buying. Many of the items that I did buy were consumed, given away unused or damaged beyond repair when my home flooded. I had lost the connection, if I ever had it, between me, my work product, the money that work product created and the items that money could buy. I never asked myself, while I was going crazy, if the items I bought were worthy of my work. I finally figured out that money hangs out with people who have the following characteristics. 1) generosity of spirit (by this I don’t mean giving money to constantly broke relatives or to people who have proven that they cannot handle money. I mean giving money to situations and charities in which you know the money will be used in line with your priorities). If feeding the poor is important to you then generosity of spirit may mean that you donate your time and money to the local soup kitchen. 2) a purpose for money. Money has specific goals in their lives 3) respect for money. You know where your money is going and why 4) value for money. By this I don’t mean that people understand that money is valuable. What I mean that people who create and hang onto money understand that money follows value. See it is not just enough to pay off debt. Once the debt is gone, or better yet while you are paying off the debt, you have to develop a clear philosophy with respect to money or the same financial challenges that led to the debt will manifest in a new form. I have been out of short term debt and on solid financial footing for a over a decade now, but like the alcoholic who is one drink away from falling off the wagon, I am occasionally afraid that I will overspend. I simply have to trust that the financial habits and philosophies that I have developed over the past 13 years and my on-going financial education will see me through as I forge my link from now to the future.

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