Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hating Money

I once told a boss I had studied what I studied because I hated money. This is not likely what he wanted to hear from someone whose job was to explain to people what we were doing with their money. Most of my extended family members are in service related professions - teachers, psychologists, doctors, ministers and other jobs not 'driven by money'. A lot of 17/18 year olds want to save the world and don't want to 'sell their souls'. I was the same, but I became the black sheep in the Black family. A cold-hearted capitalist.

What I hated wasn't really money. The explanation of what I meant hopefully having saved me the boot. What I hated was what 'money' can do. More specifically, the lack of it can lead to bickering as the reality of life kicks in. Relationships can become a case of fighting financial fires rather than getting on with the things that are important to us. For some this happens just as they are starting families. The onslaught of tyrannical two year olds and a barrage of bills can suck the romance out of life. You do well just to make it through to the other side alive.

I had wanted to do something that allowed me to be creative. I figured doing teaching or architecture would do the trick of letting me mix my love of art and maths. I worked for two years between school and university, and in that time decided to aggressively front load the money understanding issue. I ended up studying financial risk (via actuarial science), then financial planning, then financial analysis. It wasn't money I hated. It was the rifts the lack of it can cause. It was the creativity the lack of it could restrict. 

I think everyone should do this in a less all-in way. Education shouldn't be about deciding on a career path and narrowing down your understanding to a specific area. That is for computers and machines. Ken Robinson suggests the reason we educate should be 'to help students understand the world around them and talents within them, to become fulfilled individuals and compassionate citizens.' Even teachers, psychologists, doctors and ministers can benefit from understanding money to help understand the world around them. Even those who try understand money can benefit from studying the issues pressing the service orientated careers. Those issues are our issues. We can all benefit from more art, drama, dance, music and writing.

Money isn't actually a thing. Hating it doesn't make sense. As a more general rule, it seems trying to understand the things that cause problems is a better approach than hating them. Money should work for you. You shouldn't work for it. If you understand it better, you can work for flow.

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