Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Money, money, money

Money is one of the most complicated topics in the world. Most of our problems and challenges are about the conflict between people who have money and people who do not. Organisations, companies and whole nations rise and fall because of it. Financial issues are also on top of the list when it comes to relationship problems and divorce. I have lately been thinking quite a bit about it...

Money has never been a topic I liked talking about neither have I ever looked out for friends/boyfriends with money. I grew up in a family where the one part of the parents lived beyond the available means hence making a lot of debts and the other one ultimately paying the debts off. In addition to those two extremes we where also taught that life has to be lived and enjoyed (within the available means). So even when the money was scarce little treats (which were not always monetary) were part of life.
So what is the effect? I'm not a big money saver, I know I have to work hard to earn it but I definitely regularly sign up for treats and the enjoyment of life.

My career decision was not at all based on the idea of 'making money' but rather on making a difference. I went into the field of development work and had during my studies the naive attitude that I will work for 'doing good' and the salary will not matter to me. Approximately eight years later and five years into the job market, my views have changed. I'm still in the same line of work though.

I have laid my guilt about earning a salary to rest. This has been the most difficult to do living in a society where the majority of the population is poor. I have come to the conclusion: their lives will not change if I earn no money.  It might sound tough but this conclusion is the outcome of a long inner journey. I came to terms with something that most of you might have discovered long time ago - money itself is not bad or dirty - it's the people who abuse or misuse it or waste it.

Have I used the institution of a credit card and overdraft? Yes I did. Did I spend money that I should have saved? Yes I did. BUT I do not regret it. Throughout the years I tried to stuck to my principle to earn honest money, to pay taxes (I at least try my best to comply) and to not do a job that exploits other people. I contribute money or my own time to initiatives which I think are making a difference and empowering people rather then creating dependency. I try to be responsible and 85% rational when spending or giving money.

I have a healthier attitude towards money today. I can honestly say: It is nice to have money to do the things in life that I like doing. It is great and empowering to make conscious decisions about how to spend money like for example changing my bank if the rates and services are too high at my current bank or changing my car insurance because another company offers a better rate. And most exciting to me has been to discover opportunities to earn money with things that I enjoy doing. Being open to money has also opened up new opportunities to make money work for me. Another plus has been to have someone at my side that thinks similar.

My conclusion: me having a healthier relationship to money sets me free and assists me in focusing on the values that I really want to live for - the people I'm close to, appreciating the moment, trying to be the difference I would like to see and living life to its fullest.

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