The minute I start talking about money or finances, most people start running for the hills. It seems to cause a visceral reaction in most people. It touches nearly every aspect of our daily lives in some way or another, yet most people hate talking about it abstractly, much less dealing the specifics of their own personal finances. Weirdly enough, one of my most favorite topics to teach about is money, finances and stewardship. It is really rewarding to me to help de-mystify things for people and to help empower them in the area of their finances and becoming good stewards of their resources.
We do an incredibly poor job as a culture and society in teaching people to be in control of their money and not allowing money to control them. People often wonder what the differences are between the haves and the have-nots are. One of the MAJOR key differences is how the haves deal with their finances within their families. It is a integral part of their life; they start educating their children about it very early. They talk about it frequently at the dinner table. It is part of their normal everyday life and conversation. Their children learn about business, investing, and finances by osmosis. They understand how the world works financially speaking and how to take advantage and leverage that knowledge for their own benefit and their children.
Growing up and even now, my own family talks about money, finances, investments, stocks, real estate, etc. You name it, we talked about it. Same thing with P & I at home. Our son, M, hears us talk about these things openly and sometimes daily. When you compartmentalize it or treat money and finances like a boogeyman that you keep locked up in a closet, it communicates unhealthy attitudes to your children that it is scary, confusing, secret, difficult, overwhelming, or whatever negative connotative you can ascribe to it.
I just noticed today that PBS (in the Bay Area) is re-airing Suze Orman’s latest offering, The Money Class, which was broadcast originally in the Spring of 2011. Although Suze can be a bit more new age-y and touchy-feely for my tastes, the gist of what she has to say is right on target. I know that the majority of people feel that the rug was pulled out from under them financially speaking these last few years. Most people are operating out of fear, despair, frustration and hopelessness. You might feel overwhelmed by debt, underwater in a mortgage, wondering if you can ever retire, concerned about how in the world you will pay for college for your kids, and wondering what kind of world it is that we live in now.
It doesn’t have to be that way for you. There are answers and help if you would just take some time to take control of things and, yes, educate yourself a little. Check out what Suze has to say about this new economy and how you can take back control of this area of your life. I love how she cuts to the chase, tells you the truth and makes things simple so that anyone can understand. Suze Orman’s Money Class | Expert Financial Advice : PBS.
I will say that I do not believe that the American Dream is dead, but I do think it isn’t the same as what a lot of us assumed it was. I think that American Dream was really a house of cards built on easy credit, very little reality, and a lot of trying to keep up with the Jones, Wongs, Gonzales, Washingtons, Guptas, etc. Don’t pay attention to what other people are doing, pay attention to what YOU are doing. No one is looking out for you except you. You are the only one that can take control and be your best advocate. You can either be your own best friend or your own worst enemy with respect to your money and your finances. I believe that you can do this!