One of the reasons that I hesitated in creating “Empower” is because talking about my personal issues is super awkward for me. But I’m willing to do it, because I truly believe if we talk about money and share the awkwardness, we’ll all be better off. So - In the spirit of full disclosure, here goes: I struggle with financial balance and my relationship with money is complicated.
On the one hand, I don’t have any problem buying homes or investing. I feel perfectly comfortable trading thousands in the stock market or signing over earnest money checks. But when it comes to spending money on clothes, cars, furniture, vacations or luxuries of any kind, I get nervous, uncomfortable and have a full-out panic attack (true story). It took me forever to understand it - I used to think I was just cheap. But that’s not (all of) it. I’m not cheap, I’m afraid.
I bought a bag recently. The most expensive bag I’ve ever purchased. When I got home from buying the bag, my water heater was dead. There was no hot water and my first thought was, “see, if you hadn’t bought that bag, you’d have enough to get the water heater repaired”.
I’m sharing this with y’all because it’s nuts. Like straight up crazy. It’s crazy to worry about what might happen, what money you might need, while saving and investing and making plans for your money. It’s insanity to make good, consistent financial decisions and not enjoy any of it. It's nutty to make all of these plans and provisions and then live as though I have none. It demonstrates a lack of balance and an irrational fear.
One of my greatest fears is to really, really need something and not be able to buy it. I’m afraid to have an emergency or a situation that I can’t afford to fix. So I hoard money, and don’t spend (even when I can afford it) because I have a fear that it won’t be there when I really need it. Some call it financial freedom, some call it wealth, but for me, it’s the place where I don’t have to choose between the water heater OR the bag. I can have them both. That isn’t a dollar amount, it’s peace - and it’s not the kind of peace that will come from my bank account, no matter what is in it.
I’m sharing so that you all understand that when I say “face your finances”, I’m talking to me. We all have some stuff that complicates our relationship with money. Whether it’s over spending, going into debt, not investing - whatever - there is a reason you’re doing (or not doing) it. There’s no budget, no program and no plan in the world that is going to fix our finances if we don’t don’t face what we’re doing and why. Your “why” isn’t going to be the same as my “why” but it could be equally damaging. So face it, deal with it - whatever IT is. And then you can make calculated, rational, intentional decisions about money. Or don’t face it and end up hyperventilating in a handbag store…
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