Armed with an education in finance and financial market experience I could write an article loaded with important concepts. An argument or concept backed by data, trends, and figures could appeal to a certain reader demographic. A few fancy charts could provoke thought about a tactical financial change. A call to action about estate planning might aid the unprepared.
But none of this is what has fascinated me in my time investigating and managing our most secretive relationship.
Money is our most secretive relationship, because it is one of the relationships that we hold most intimately, and deal with most differently on an individual basis. Families exist where finances are regular dinner table talk, and families where spouses are not sure how the math adds up on the other side of the bed.
This is the unique niche in which I, as a financial advisor, operate. We create conversations that do not exist outside of our office, because if we are going to build your dreams, we to need to discuss the dollars and cents.
We need you to show us the vulnerability that no one else may get to see.
When considering our relationship with money it is important to identify the two ends of the motivational spectrum, so we can begin to quantify where we as individuals might lie. On the one end of the spectrum we have a Mother Theresa, who donated a life time of charitable work for the greater good and asked nothing in return. Next to the diving-board we have the now infamous Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort – someone who generates their entire concept of self worth based on net worth. We lie somewhere between these two extremes at any given time in our life, and it is an important internal conversation for each of us to have. The dangers are that a Mother Theresa risks ostracizing herself from the conversation entirely, and a Jordan Belfort has no time to begin the conversation because they believe time is money.
Our place on the Theresa-Belfort spectrum is emotional and established by our childhood. We are placed somewhere along the spectrum on the day we receive our first piggybank (or don’t). We shift up and down the spectrum based on experiences, education, stage of life, and beliefs about money.
Our relationship with money is a massive factor in our subconscious decision-making process. It is something we should try to analyze consciously. I am not going to claim there is a right or an wrong place to be on the spectrum, because we all have a relationship with money that built on different foundations. What I ask is that we analyze our own relationship with money. I ask us to measure this relationship the same way we look at other relationship in our lives.
Hopefully you can find time to consider your relationship with money. Reflect if money is the only reason you are getting out of bed in the morning or keeping you in bed past the 3rd snooze on the alarm. If you want help to explore your own internal conversation, maybe it is time to consider relationship counselling: call up your financial advisor.
Clemens Rettich is a co-founder and director of Business for Business Networks. Clemens is a business advisor, author, speaker and trainer. His practice focuses on old-economy businesses and facilitating succession and exit strategies for their owners.