A well-worn one hundred dollar bill and a similarly distressed twenty dollar bill were told that they would be sent to the Federal Reserve to be retired. As they traveled in the armored car towards the Reserve, they struck up a conversation.
The twenty dollar bill reminisced about its travels all over the county. “I’ve had an exciting life,” the twenty proclaimed. “Why I’ve been to the casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, lost myself in unconscious spending sprees in some of the best malls, and practically been thrown away chasing get rich quick schemes.”
“Wow!” said the one hundred dollar bill. “You’ve really had an exciting life!”
“So tell me,” says the twenty, “where have you been throughout your lifetime?”
The one hundred dollar bill replies, “Oh, I’ve been used to buy shiny electronics so my owner could keep up with the Joneses, and I’ve been on many trips to the finance department of credit card companies, and I…
The driver of the armored car interrupts, “We’ve just arrived at the Federal Reserve Bank”, he shouted.
To which the bills replied “What’s a bank?”
OK. I admit that joke won’t win any comedic awards. But will you also admit that it did make you stop and think about what your money would say to you if it could speak?
Would it reveal things you wouldn’t want others to know? Would it show a greater tendency to waste it or would it say it’s been well managed?
If every dollar that we’ve ever spent could tell on us, what would it say? If that thought makes you a little nervous, maybe your money is saying, “We need to talk.”
And if that sounds like a cliché used in relationships, it is. Because whether you know it or not, you do have a relationship with money.
So, what’s the best way to improve your relationship with money if it’s bad?
The answer is the same answer as to how you would improve any relationship—through nurture, respect and commitment. You see, you can’t enjoy a good relationship with money unless you’re willing to do what’s necessary to make it work.
You see, a good relationship is about choice, behavior and intention–not just emotions. We know we’ve invested in relationships the right way when they continue to improve. And, your relationship with money will continue to improve too, as long as you honor it in the same way that you honor the other important relationships in your life.
So how do you do that? Here are 3 ways to improve your relationship with money:
Nurture. In an important relationship you don’t just leave things to chance, you pay attention. You make time for it. You would never roll your eyes and tell your significant other “I don’t have time for you!” Then why would you do that with money? If you want more money in your life, you have to make a conscious choice to prioritize it. If you ignore your money priorities now, trying to get more money will be a priority for you later in life.
Respect. Having no respect for money will prompt you to dig through the 50% off racks, ignoring the fact that you only came in for one specific item. That disrespect will lure you into the section of the store where everything is ‘buy one, get one half off.’ No matter that you’re running low on money from all the other attempted escapes. But know this – If you disrespect money, it will slip through your fingers. Money, like a great relationship with a loved one, deserves respect and your time and concern. Spend time managing it and respecting it, instead of letting it run through your fingers without thinking about it.
Commit. Many people want a great relationship but are unwilling to make the commitment to it required for success. The same could be said about money. Deciding you want financial freedom is one thing, but actually making the commitment to do what is necessary to achieve the goal are two entirely different things. Many people are willing to learn a new trick to becoming wealthy, but very few will put positive money habits into practice long enough to succeed. The reason commitment is required for a successful relationship is the same reason commitment is required to build wealth – Commitment motivates you to do the work, acquire the necessary skills, and overcome any obstacles that lead to success.
If you’re not in a good relationship, you always have a choice: you can either let the situation get worse or you can do something about it. But unlike a bad personal relationship where you can just end the relationship, you can’t end your relationship with money. Your relationship with money is forever, so why not make it a good relationship?
If you haven’t made a choice about how you feel about your financial life, it’s the same as putting-off making a decision about whether or not you should stay in a bad relationship.
You think you’re on the fence because you haven’t decided. But in reality, you have. Not making a choice is still a choice.
Change can be difficult – but having a great relationship with a money results in a life of happiness and freedom; it’s only waiting for you to decide.
Be free. Nothing else is worth it.