How often do we think about Money in a day? Once, twenty times, or how about every few seconds of every waking hour?
Everywhere we look, in every moment; there are reminders around us about Money. In every room we may see adverts from financial companies on our mouse mat, on a folder, or a flyer, on the head of a bank statement, on the foot of a bill, on a scribbled note we made, our internet banking code generator, on our bookshelf, or our wallet on the desk. We are bombarded by marketing messages telling us “those who do more, get more”, or “ a clear vision of the way ahead” or the consequences of “repeated failure to pay on the dates shown”, to name but a few.
How do we cope, how do we manage, how do we even breathe? Let’s take a deep breath now.
We live in an exterior materialistic world where money dominates everything, everywhere and everyone, at some time or other.
I work to integrate Meaning and Money in people’s lives. This is what I do for a living. It’s part of my life plan that marries Meaning and Money for me.
There are those who over-identify with Money. That is they are ruled by Money decisions, to the extent that they are the Money they have. Rich. Poor. In debt. An Investor. The insured. The assured. The gambler. The shareholder. The scammer. The miser. The account holder. The policyholder. The tax payer.
Then there are those who over-identify with the interior spiritual and emotional world of Meaning. We are either materialistically rich and spiritually poor, or materialistically poor and spiritually rich. Successful living is where the two meet. Our health and welfare meets our finances ideally, in a world where Meaning and Money co-exist in our lives. The key to successful living is to plan financial, emotional and spiritual goals.
If all that we looked at was the Money, we would accumulate money during our working life, crystallise our wealth at retirement and decumulate it until death, when we pass it on. In the meantime we protect it as much as we can, against whatever life might throw at us. What more is there to think about?
How about, what if life threw at us a moment of our awakening; an awakening to what has true meaning in our lives for us; what then? The greatest risk of all – spending your life not doing what you want on the bet that you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.
What often happens when some life event awakens us to become conscious of Meaning in our lives, is a recognition that it’s about more than Money, it’s a dark night of the soul threatening our very existence. This is the moment that our life, and often also our financial life, falls apart.
Post-awakening, living in consciousness, we become mindful of the need to live congruently to Meaning, whatever that might be for us. The Money goals become more focused on sufficiency, and our stretch targets become Meaningful rather than Materialistic.
Planning for this time, as Dr Wayne Dyer calls it, the afternoon or evening of our life, is critical to any fantastic financial plan. Yet, virtually always, this time is never factored in.
It’s time to change the way we plan our finances.