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How to harness the power of money
Use your inner advisers to harness the power of money
by recognising and managing the many roles of money in your life
I never cease to be stunned by the power of money to bring about the best and the worst in people, myself included.
I spent much of my early working life fixated by the desire for money. Undoubtedly, this caused physical and emotional damage to myself and cut out those who I should have welcomed and been there for.
In later life, I began to understand the folly of excessively stockpiling money. Instead, I had the privilege of witnessing how letting money flow in and out could bring joy and comfort to others.
In practice, I felt at ease charging clients a realistic and fair fee for helping them to sleep at night and live meaningful lives by day. I found happiness in using some of that money to help with the care of sick and disabled individuals.
The source of the power of money
I believe the power of money comes from its many functions. These roles often work in harmony, but sometimes they conflict with each other. Whether malign or benign, they complicate money and your relationship with money. In turn, this increases the power of money over you.
However, you can regain your power over money. First, understand money’s many roles and question the influence they have on you. Second, awaken your inner advisers. Seek their answers, the answers that often lie hidden within, to your money questions.
Your relationship with money has a significant impact on your health, wealth and happiness. Power often underpins relationships, which will not flourish if one side exerts excessive control over the other. Finding the right balance of power is often the best way of maintaining a good relationship. This tenet applies to personal relationships, work relationships – and your relationship with money.
The roles of money in our lives
Here are ten different functions that add to the power of money.
Making the world go round
Economics Lesson 101 tells us that money is a means of exchange, a store of wealth, a mechanism for quantifying and comparing value and a technique for deferring payment. It is, literally, the stuff that makes the world go round.
A mirror for your soul
Money is a proxy for your life. When you look at how you earn, store, borrow or spend money it becomes a reflection of your life. The flow of your money tells the story of how you live. It’s often painful, which is why you sometimes hold back from looking in the mirror and so allow money to gain power over you.
The ultimate wealth creator
Money has always had the power of self-creation. You invest in a new piece of machinery in your factory to increase output, turnover and profits. However, developments in modern financial markets and the creation of new and complex financial products now enable you to use your money directly to make more money – or lose it.
The status symbol of choice
Money is a proxy for the ego. You use it to make judgements about others and to shine a spotlight on yourself so others will see you in the light you want. This approach pushes us to apply a money-based value on ourselves and others, rather than valuing them for who they are.
The vehicle for your intentions and values
When you earn and spend money, you create a flow of money that carries your purpose and values. If you intend to help those less fortunate than you, you might resolve to buy clothes from a charity shop, not a high street store. If you value the planet, you might buy from sustainable businesses only. You might earn money by working just for firms or with clients that echo your values.
Achieving growth, fulfilling aspirations
Money has a role in your growth by providing the means for your personal development through lifetime learning, travel, courses, reading etc. It also plays a role in achieving your aspirations, From my own experience, however, many of our most common ambitions, such as better family relationships, engaging with our communities, being creative and looking after the environment don’t take up a lot of money.
Managing your time
Time and money go together. We often sell our time in hourly or daily rates. However, money can play a more subtle role in managing our time. To do this, you need to calculate how much your time is worth. With this piece of information, you can better judge how best to utilise and prioritise your time.
Your security blanket
It’s not a great place to be when the coffers are empty. I speak from experience. Having money in your bank account or insurance to cover life’s curve balls helps you to sleep at night free from financial worries.
The defender of your integrity
A friend (and client) of mine was deeply concerned at being asked by his employer to act in ways that went against his principles. With over a year’s worth of core expenditure in his savings account, he was at liberty to hand in his resignation immediately, thus preserving his integrity.
Your greatest teacher
Money regularly tests you. It challenges you practically and emotionally all the time. It’s not surprising that you make mistakes with money, blunders that can lead to pain and shame. Mistakes, though, are your greatest asset. If you can be vulnerable around them, you can learn much from your mistakes. Money, therefore, is your most significant emotional and spiritual teacher, if you let it.
Draft in your internal advisers to harness the power of money
Consider these many and varied roles of money. You will undoubtedly find the majority are present in your life. They each bring messages with them, often conflicting and not always good ones at that. It’s not surprising money leaves you confused and powerless.
How, then, do you deal with them and redress the balance of power in your relationship with money. The answer is to recruit and if necessary train up your internal advisers, those essential elements of your soul who will allow you to sleep at night and live meaningfully by day.
The first is your internal accountant. With the assistance of robust apps, your internal accountant can help you track your income and expenditure, your assets and liabilities. So often people make no effort to do this, which leads to a lack of financial clarity, anxiety and stress.
The next is your internal technician. The financial service industry, in conjunction with the government, has invented a massive range of commercial products from simple vanilla insurance to complex financial instruments involving derivatives and futures. Your internal money technician, with some assistance from other qualified technicians, helps you understand how money works.
Finally, welcome with open arms your internal counsellor. Ask those critical questions about your life, aspirations, meaning, values, ethics, etc. The answers lie within you, not in other people, so give yourself space and time to let the responses precipitate out. And although the answers lie within you, one of the best ways of finding them is to talk about them with a trusted friend or helper. Conversations change lives, so don’t be afraid of letting your internal counsellor have a bit of a chat with someone else’s inner counsellor.
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This is an abridged version of the Living Money members monthly topic.
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