Friday, April 07, 2006

Why would you take advice from this face?

Money. Dinero. Moolah. Cash. Pounds. Francs... No matter what you call it, this stuff is a big part of the lives of most people in the world- particularly Americans. Why you would take my advice concerning money, I don't know. Maybe because I look a little bit like Suze Orman. I will say upfront that I am not trained in financial advising. I have strong opinions on money and how it should be handled- but I am not a professional in any way, shape or form as far as dollars are concerned. So what you read here should be taken as my opinion and regarded (or disregarded) as such.
I'm not sure if it's the fact that taxes are due soon, or what, but I've decided to post some of my personal Nitty.Gritty. thoughts on money here for you to read. First of all, I want to say that I truly believe that much of the way we feel about money in life comes from the way we were raised in it. My childhood experiences with cash- earning it, saving it, spending it, donating it- all of that influenced me deeply as to how I view it today. I was brought up with very conservative, traditional views of money. I opened a CD account and had a savings account by the time I was in third grade. I remember being so proud of the fact that I had my name printed on deposit slips with the logo from ZAPP bank. I did a lot of babysitting in my neighborhood and I earned quite a bit of money through junior high and high school. (I found waiting tables to be much more profitable than babysitting!)
After putting 10% in the offering on Sundays at church, most of the rest of my earnings I put into savings. I loved to watch my account grow. I got my first credit card when I was in 10th or 11th grade- I rarely used it, but my dad thought it would be good for me to establish a credit rating. I would buy gas for the car, or charge a few necessities when I was at Target, and then each month I paid off my full balance. Having a credit card was a pretty simple thing in my life. I don't even think I realized it could get me into trouble. I understood that I should only buy things in life that I could pay for in the end. I never thought to buy something "big" just to have it, or to pay for it over a series of months. If I really wanted a big item, I saved enough money for it and then purchased it, or decided if I really wanted to use some of the money in my savings account to buy it outright. That is how I did it for years.
Then reality hit as I had to take out a student loan as a senior in college. My money innocence came to a screeching halt as I learned what interest was...and not the kind I had been used to earning on those CDs I had put away as a kid. Life just sort of kept happening, and next there was an engagment, paying for wedding/honeymoon expense. Then came a monthly townhome payment, and car expenses and insurance. I had to sort of undo the concepts I had lived with for so long and accept the fact that sometimes you can't quite pay off a full credit card bill.
I grew to understand what "worry" had to do with money. Most often I brought it upon myself, and most often it was needless worry. The kind that I let affect my moods somedays, or that I tossed and turned about before falling asleep at night- only to find that each month it somehow worked out alright, and I would feel bad that I had even wasted time and spent energy worrying about this money thing.
So this is what has been on my mind off and on in recent days. The tragedy of my life has certainly affected almost everypart of my life- and I realized it even affected my attitudes and beliefs about money. I realize that I rarely "worry" about money anymore. Or at least not in the way I had before my life changed so dramatically. I've thought it about it alot. I don't think anybody has ever died directly because of money. They may have died because someone wanted their money, or that they owed a big gambling debt, or a host of other things- but that all happened as a result of the choices they made (or someone else made) concerning money.
I think I've learned that money is only as important as we allow it to be in our lives. I think that too many times people focus on money as the issue or matter at hand- when in reality there is a driving force behind that issue; usually it is not money-related at all.
I'm not here to solve money issues, or to tell you how to spend or save your cash. I simply am spilling my personal thoughts on this subject and maybe I will come back to this topic again sometime. I am happy to say that money doesn't control my life or {most of} the choices I make. It is a part of my life, but it doesn't affect how much sleep I do or do not get at night. It doesn't make me better than you, or less of a person to you. I hope I make good decisions with my money that enhance my life and make me a better person. Whether it means saving it, spending it, or giving it to other people or organizations that really need it. I think this world needs a money reality-check. The cool thing is that we can each start by looking at money in our own lives. Don't ask me to solve the problem of our nation's national debt! I don't claim to have the answer- just a little insight into what's important in this life. And for me it's not always money! You are more than welcome to agree or disagree with me on this topic. It's my Nitty.Gritty. dollar day today. That's all for now.


amy j. said...

Jody, that's so weird...I just blogged about money the other day! I was writing about how I don't fret over spending money on things to make my life easier, ie getting help with house cleaning or dog washing etc. I budget these things into our finances because I was so overwhelmed before with doing it all myself, that whole superwoman myth so many of us live by. We are more fortunate than many because my husband is a doctor, but that's relative of course. There is always someone with more money isn't there. But I just decided one day that as long as I'm saving for emergencies and the future and doing my level best to live within my means, that I shouldn't worry about hoarding every dime in order not to spend it on things that are considered extras. My father in law is from the old school where those sorts of things didn't exist. People just saved and saved and saved beyond their savings. I always wonder what he'll do with all that cash when he dies. I suppose leave it to his family, which is nice. But I know for a fact that he hasn't enjoyed his life as much as he deservedly could have if he'd not been so, well, tight. Ya know.

Anyway, I just thought it was funny we both had been thinking about money lately and blogging about it. If you wanna read my thoughts feel free to visit el blogo.

Kerry said...

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Terrific... My wife doesn't worry about money as much. I can't wait to see her face when I pull in the driveway with a new boat.:)

glo-girl said...

Oh my...that is

I LOVE it!!