The subtitle of my book is “Developing a healthy relationship to money.” Relationship with money?? Many people think, “I can’t have a relationship with money. It’s just there. Money is just a thing,” or, “I don’t even want to think about money, much less have a relationship with it!”
For many of us, our relationship with money is similar to the one we have with our car: we don’t really want to understand what’s going on under the hood; we just want it to work and take us where we want to go without any trouble. And hey, we’re realistic. We know the car needs gas. We realize we have to put in a little fuel and care in the thing, but beyond that we don’t want to hassle with it. That’s our wish with money too.
Others’ want money to be like Santa Claus, a benevolent force that ask nothing of us but still shows up with a bagful of goodies. We want money to appear when we want it and need it, to grant our desires, get us out of trouble, and take care of us.
I understand this and have felt this way too. I once thought my trouble with money was that I simply didn’t have enough of it. That was true in my childhood and young adulthood. MORE would certainly fix things, I thought. I felt empty and deprived when I had nothing. Then, when I got money, I ended up spending it recklessly and still felt empty and deprived. This behavior said a lot more about my relationship with money than about how much of it I had.
It has become clear to me that absolutely everyone has a relationship with money—whether they want it or not, and whether they know it or not. The relationship may be harmonious or it may be acrimonious, distant or obsessive. It may be conscious or unconscious, supportive or abusive. So what about you? What type of relationship to money do you have? And are you willing to work on this relationship?
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