So I’m finishing up a book called, Money, A Love Story, by Kate Northrup, and I have to say it’s one of the first books about money I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading. Granted, I haven’t read too many books about money because, to be honest, the topic has never been one of interest to me. I knew from my time selling real estate that money was not a source of motivation for me, however since Andrew passed away, I’ve actually had to start thinking about money in order to provide for my family. I’m now challenging myself to get educated on the topic.
In the book, the author asks the reader to recall his/her money love story: the high points, low points, and where it began. It was an eye-opening request as I connected the dots between my memories around money and my not-so-positive feelings toward it. Digging back through my past, I came across a couple of key memories that stood out. Growing up, my parents went from thousands of dollars in debt to creating their own wealth. As a kid, we didn’t talk much about money, but I felt a lot of energy around it. Both my parents grew up without financial wealth and so providing a better life for their family was a huge motivator for them.
As a kid, I think I equated sacrifice with money because my parents worked hard and worked a lot, which sometimes meant I didn’t get to see them as much as I would have liked to. I also picked up on money being associated with guilt because it seemed my parents felt bad when they had to travel for work, so they would bring us back gifts. I also remember when I started going to church on a regular basis and started learning more about God, I interpreted Scriptures about money to be associated with a negative connotation. I also connected money with struggle, specifically my struggle to understand math, which at the time felt impossible.
I hate to admit it, but after I got married, I buried my head in the sand even further when it came to money. I just figured Andrew was smart and understood how to do all of the financial planning, so he could take care of the money. He always encouraged me to learn about our finances because he wanted me to be able to take care of myself if something were to happen to him (hindsight is 20/20). But I avoided it like the plague because I thought it was too difficult for me to understand and I just wasn’t interested in it anyway.
Fast forward from our newly-wedded season to the year 2013, when Andrew passed away, and I was a 28-year-old widow with a 2.5-year-old daughter, thinking, HOLY CRAP, now I’ve really got to figure this out! There was no more dancing around it. HOLY CRAP, was soon replaced with:
-How do I make a budget?
-How do I track my spending?
-How do I keep track of my taxes on the books I sell?
-How many different accounts do we have?
-How do I make more than I spend?
It’s been a slow process, I’ve had to be uber-patient with myself, and also be OK with literally starting at the beginning. If you can relate at all, I hope that you might be encouraged to stretch yourself when it comes to learning about money. Maybe start by reading a new book about personal finance or take on some financial responsibility in your household (like tracking the monthly budget or keeping up with the cash system) so you can be better educated in case, like me, heaven forbid your world turns upside down and you’re forced to learn it.
This weekend I got to connect with one of my dearest friends whom I’ve been close with since middle school. Her husband is in residency and it’s been a challenge with her two kids and her husband working nights. He’s nearing the end of his stint and they are about to be in a very different place financially once he is out of residency. I’ll never forget what she told me, “You would think I’m excited to be taken care of (she has worked pretty much their entire marriage to help support their family), but I told my husband I want to go back to school and get a masters degree. That way, if anything ever happens to him, I will have the skills to be able to provide for and take care of my family.” I was so inspired by her attitude and grateful that my story had a part in encouraging her to be proactive in that area of her life.
So what about you? What’s your money love story? I encourage you to write it out and see if, like me, you can connect some dots that might give you insight into why you think and feel the way you do about money. It was an enlightening experience. The rest of the exercise is about acknowledging that every moment has been a lesson that has brought us to exactly where we are supposed to be. Now is the time to take responsibility for all the moments when we have allowed our circumstances or events in our life to define our reality. I know for me, regardless of my past, I want to feel positively about money, so I’m constantly keeping an open mind as I read new books and see different perspectives on the topic. The result has been a feeling of empowerment and confidence as I continue to be proactive about and take responsibility for my finances.
Below are the list of books that have really shifted my energy around wealth. Would love to hear what books about money you are loving. Please share in the comments! Happy Reading!
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles
The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Get Rich, Luck B**** by Denise Duffield-Thomas
Money, A Love Story by Kate Northrup
HOLD– Linda and Jim McKissack
P.S. Looking to share the gift of learning the ABCs, as well as build lifetime character lessons with a special child in your life? To get your signed copy of The Ellie Project click here!
P.P.S. I couldn’t be more excited about my first podcast with the amazing Jamie Ivey on her show, Happy Hour! Click here to give it a listen! Blessings.