Money: Your Best Frenemy
“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” – Abraham Lincoln
What is your relationship with money? If you are like most people, money might be described as a true “Frenemy”. Depending on the day, money may be your best friend or your biggest rival. The good thing with money is that unlike dealing with a real-life “Frenemy”, you decide on how money will respond and react.
A Complex Relationship
Your relationship with money is based solely on your attitude toward it. Some may feel that money is the root of all evil. The truth is that you determine the place it will have in your life. The relationship with money is complex because it has a huge impact on every facet of your life. How you earn a living, where you live, what you eat – the list goes on and on.
Money is irreplaceable in the space in which it works for you. That does not mean it automatically makes you happy or brings you long lasting satisfaction. Your fundamental human needs can be met without a great deal of money. That is why it is important to establish guidelines on how you want to manage your finances and what you want out of them.
Many people have spent a lifetime working a job they hate in a quest to build up more and more wealth, only to look back with regret. They realize that in the end they missed out on so many opportunities. The one thing we can never get back in life is more time.
The Key to Future Success
Unfortunately, most people think that their wallet holds the key to their future success. The reality of the situation is just the opposite: you are the key to the future success of your wallet. You are the one in charge of making the decisions that lead to financial independence.
Piling up a bunch of stuff in a huge house with a luxury car tends to make you poorer, not richer. Mindlessly charging up credit card balances with a “worry about it later” mentality leads way too many people to financial ruin. A large percentage of people sacrifice future long term success for short term satisfaction.
To set the parameters for your relationship with money, you need to give it attention and constantly monitor your habits. Like any other relationship in your life, you need to take time to notice your tendencies and patterns. What is your motivation for buying things? For example, are you calculated or impulsive with most of your purchases?
Take an Honest Assessment
Taking an honest assessment goes a long way in setting yourself up for success. One of the best things you can do to get started is to track each and every expense you incur if you are not already doing so. The results are often very telling and can help you identify opportunities for improvement.
This is a similar approach that I take when I work with a fitness client. The same process applies. Instead of discussing attitudes toward diet and exercise, I am applying these same concepts to money. An interview with a client at the beginning of a relationship is critical to success. I have to understand their concerns and their circumstances. Understanding where they are at and what has gotten them to that point is the proper way to begin.
I do not believe in having someone just walk in the door and start working out. We have to discuss goals, motivations, desires, and emotions. It is important to understand their diet, past experiences with exercise, and things that held them back previously. I have to understand strengths, weaknesses, and abilities. Money works much the same way. The same discussions must take place.
Love Thy Frenemy
It is incredible how the principles are so related. I work with people who admittedly hate exercise and things related to money. However, through discussion and understanding, they realize that their attitude had held them back. While they may never love doing a kettlebell squat or reviewing their 401K, they know that it is crucial to their well-being. They have come to love their “Frenemy”.
You can make similar adjustments. An honest assessment of your attitudes goes a long way. If you have had a love/hate affair with money throughout life, you can change things. Money is a fantastic friend and a very cruel enemy. When you realize that you are the one who controls the parameters of the relationship, it is a very empowering feeling.