Here’s the article I wrote for this week’s edition of the Greenhorn Valley View:
Money. Dinero. Moolah. Dough. Smackers. Greenbacks. Benjamins. Coin. Clams. Bucks. Quid. Simoleans. It makes the world go ’round. Explorers depleted the coffers of European monarchs to search for it. Drug dealers kill for it. The love of it is the root of all evil. To some extent, all of us depend on it, need it, crave it. Our need for it makes us do things we don’t like, such as hold down a full-time job, fight with our spouse, or steal. Money so permeates every aspect of our lives that we cannot do anything without it. Money is the primary consideration in every decision we make. No matter how much of it we have, or don’t have, getting more of it consumes our every thought.
Since money is so dominant in our culture and society, and occupies the foremost position in our minds, surely we must have figured out all the details. Right? Most of us carry thousands of dollars in credit card debt. Bankruptcy filings are at an all-time high. Our national savings rate for 2006 was a negative number; not only did we not save anything, we actually spent more than we earned. What is it about dollars and cents that we don’t get? After 10,000 years of trading and bartering, financial management should be seared into our DNA.
Is it possible to stop being consumed by money? Is it possible to control our money, instead of being controlled by money? Is it possible to put away money for a rainy day, and still have enough to live on now? Can we reverse the alarming trend in the bankruptcy rate?
The answer to all these questions is: I think so. I would like to begin exploring these questions and many others. Some of the issues currently confronting me are; saving, spending, giving, bankruptcy, budgeting, shopping, big-ticket purchases, starting a business, investing, retirement, leaving an inheritance, education, passing on our knowledge to the next generation, the magic of compounding, needs vs. wants, contentment, affluenza, more with less, money and spirituality, getting rich quick, and giving children an allowance, just to name a few. What are the burning money-related issues you face? What hard-won attitudes toward money do you harbor?