Life in Harmony and Affinity with Money
I was recently talking to my business coach about money. You see, for the first time in my life, I owed a debt for income taxes. Not because I hadn’t planned, but because I had never been in the situation before and had underestimated what I’d need.
I explained to her how I “found” the money to pay my shortfall. As we were talking I said, I wasn’t worried about it, I knew I would be able to pay it. She stopped me and said look at what you just said. You said you weren’t worried about it. I thought about it and I realized I truly wasn’t worried about it. I think I felt a little aggravated with myself since I was a CPA in my previous corporate life and had underestimated what I’d need. I think I also felt curious as to how this was going to unfold. But I never felt a sense of worry and anxiety about where this money was going to come from.
Why wasn’t I worried? Wouldn’t the normal person feel some anxiety and worry about owing $2k to the IRS that you just didn’t have in your bank account? Probably.
You see, my path with money took a shift about 30 years ago. All of my life there were tensions around money in my family. My dad made a decent income, but we were by no means rich. Probably lower middle class is where we fell. But there never seemed to be quite enough money. I remember one time Dad even sold our TV so that he’d have money for bills.
Things got really ugly though when my parents divorced. I was 15 years old and ended up in the role of co-parent with my mom and sister for my three young brothers, aged newborn to five years old. I was completely cognizant of the bills and the lack of funds to pay them. My mom was in a constant struggle of making ends meet and putting food on the table for five kids. My dad was gone and he rarely sent money. Honestly, I can’t even tell you how many things I couldn’t have because there wasn’t enough money. But I can tell you that the deciding factor for me was when I needed braces. Mom took me for the consult and the orthodontist told her I definitely had to have them because of the formation of my jaw and mouth. When mom looked at the required down payment, monthly payment and total cost she just shook her head and said we can’t afford it. I remember the rage and frustration I felt. At that moment I made the decision that I was NOT going to live the rest of my life like that.
When I got home that day, I got the biggest plastic cup I could find — think one of those giant slurpee cups from 7–11. I scrounged up every dime, penny, nickel, quarter and half-dollar I could find and put them all in the cup. It was a paltry amount, but I had a goal and I WAS going to achieve it. That cup became my “braces fund” and I put every cent I earned babysitting and cleaning houses into that cup. The funny thing was this cup had a prominent position on my desk. My sister and I shared a bedroom which was actually the dining room of our house, so anyone coming in could see that desk and cup.
One day I came home from school and found a $20 bill in the cup. I asked mom where it came from and she said she had a visitor who asked about the cup and mom explained what I was saving for. They made a “contribution”. It still brings tears to my eyes thinking about it.
My “fund” grew quickly because of the occasional contribution, but mostly because I put every cent I found, earned or was gifted right into the cup. Before long I had enough for the down payment on my braces. Mom still wasn’t sure if she could make the monthly payments but I assured her that I would do it. She finally gave in and took me to get the braces. And guess what, I did pay for almost every single one of those monthly payments.
All it came down to was a decision. I was NOT going to live my life a slave to money. I was NOT going to live my life in constant turmoil with money. I was NOT going to live my life without things that I NEEDED because of money.
Money and I came to an affinity on that day when I was 15 years old. We understood each other and we agreed that my life would be different.
And guess what, my life has been different. Just like the braces when I was 15, the solution came to me for where the money was for my taxes. That is a story for another day because my message today is about decision. You have the power to decide to live your life in harmony and affinity with money. Or you can live your life in struggle and conflict with money.
Once you decide you are going to live differently, you will begin to see a change. You will experience a change in how you think about money, a change in how you feel about money, and a change in the flow of money through your life.
Have you decided to live in harmony and affinity with money? Or are you still struggling?