Money, money, money, is it funny or is it a drag? Can it buy you love? Are the best things in life actually free? Should we give them to the birds and bees?
Money IS funny, ABBA was right. Well I mean they were being sarcastic I know, funny if you have it and don’t have to worry about it and poor poor everyone else, right? But if we sit back and look at it philosophically money is nothing. It has no inherent value. It’s a symbol. Currency is by nature symbolic.
People kill themselves over money.
People divorce over money.
People go to war over money.
And to jail over money.
People kill actual other people over money.
I am not a money guru. I am not gonna tell you what stocks to invest in, well not seriously anyhow. Kleenex, wine, I hear lumber’s skyrocketing. I’m thinking chocolate bitcoin could be a new thing because everyone likes chocolate money. If you want that kinda help I know a guy, and a gal. But I will help you overhaul your personal relationship with money.
This past year alone I have helped you climb out of a money black hole, renegotiate a career path without giving up money, move into a healthier career culture with better money, stop making life path choices driven by money guilt, give yourself permission to actually spend money on a property that is sacred and healing to your life and family, make healthy choices about which family members to help financially and how much, about how many millions to spend on the family home based on your values and vision. I’ve taught you on how not to lead with your wallet when dating, but also how not to be preyed upon when dating. How not to limit your romantic options to someone who mirrors your financial portfolio, but also how not to have your beloved feel emasculated, or insecure or like they have to prove their worth constantly because you happen to have a lot of money, more triple A drive, or are a money savant. We have discussed whether to have prenups, how to talk about them, how much to give the new husband or wife and last but not least, how to approach money as a couple and a family so that it strengthens your relationships and doesn’t divide or create conflict.
What did all of these decisions have in common? Well none of them were about profit margins and diversification of your portfolio. They were all emotionally driven decisions. Together we asked how to use money to serve emotional health and well being. How to heal lack, value oneself, override fear and have money serve love and health.
Rather than guessing or closing our eyes or feeling shit or confused or crossing our fingers we weren’t making a mistake or reacting or judging ourselves and our loved ones or limiting our choices.
Rather than letting money become a maniacal power hungry monster and hiding from it like a scared child.
Like everything else in life and the world we experience money emotionally and we have an emotional relationship with money.
And when we get into a romantic relationship we are integrating two relationships with money into our relationships with each other and that can get even trickier.
Money may make The World go around in an economical sense and in no way am I going to suggest hunger is not a problem, obviously. But I am not here to solve that for us today or to talk about how to improve our political systems and world structures.
I am here to talk about the way we internalize money. All of those money problems that are emotional in nature.
Our money angst, our confusion and our bad decision making and our regret or doubt happens because we give money way to much power. We give it the power to mean things about us and to decide our worth, and to serve judgment and fear and lack. We make it into a Frankenstein, running amok and making the decisions for us.
And when it comes to money, fear is the prevailing painful emotion. If we don’t have it we fear for our security. We fear that something is wrong with us. We doubt ourselves, our choices, whether we need to work harder or smarter. Some of us question the system, object to the limitations of capitalism or some multilayered combination of both.
If we have some we are afraid of losing it, usually we fear that we should have or make more, because kids and retirement and college and investment. We fear choices and priorities. We fear mediocrity.
If we have lots we fear that we aren’t deserving. We fear that we should give more. We fear that we give too much. We fear that we spoil the children. We fear that they are entitled. We fear that others want things from us. We fear that someone will date us for our money. We fear expectations. We fear seeming entitled. We fear not working hard enough.
Which brings me back to money must be funny.
I will let you in on a little secret today. Having a nanny doesn’t make you lazy; having a trust fund doesn’t make you entitled, not having money doesn’t make you a gold digger and having lots doesn’t make you a lecherous creep.
I once worked with a man who had won a lottery and then almost worked himself to death to compensate for not feeling worthy of it. For the love of all things good and beautiful, how is that helping anyone?
Money out there in The World equates to power. But it doesn’t have to run that way in our homes and our lives and our families and our relationships.
We can declare dominion over our money.
We can decide that money is for joy, healing, protection, sharing, celebrating, uniting.
We can ask different questions!!! Instead of hiding from money we can ask how can my money serve my relationship, my family, my goal, which for ALL of us secretly and even if we are really bad at it, is to be HAPPY.
It turns out money can’t make a decision by itself.
Let’s talk about money and dating for a moment. Because I get asked about this one A LOT.
Let’s say you have some.
Do you need to hide it? From superficial women who want a sugar daddy or from narcissistic men who want to use, manipulate and abuse you (I stereotype but you know what they say about stereotypes)? How do you not get played?
Well here is my two cents worth.
Extreme manipulators will target their victims nine ways to Sunday, money may play into it but their true motivation is CONTROL and our conversation about how not to date and or marry one is an important one but not a money one.
Your best defense against players is emotional health. If you have self insight and a few emotional tools in your belt, if you are not walking around with open wounds from childhood or past relationship, you’re not going to be an easy target. You are not going to be attracted to that. You are not going crave someone shiny on your arm to prove your worth, or sell yourself on something that feels empty just to have a warm body at night.
Besides there are actual websites now for money based dating that are a sure thing.
Bottom line when it comes to dating:
If you make money an issue you will create issues with money.
That doesn’t mean you have to show up on your first date in your Tesla or tell him you have a personal chef. But you also don’t want to hide. Be discreet sure, but at the end of the day your money is not your worth and you know it, so lead with that knowledge.
Or you will always be looking over your shoulder, testing when you should be loving and building your relationship, and you will end up attracting exactly what you fear. How can you be open and vulnerable if you are sleeping with the imagined enemy before you ever get into bed?
If you don’t have a bank account that has been kissed by Lakshmi, then you probably have ten problems that could be solved by money, YEP, but you also wouldn’t dream of waking up next to someone you aren’t all dreamy about just so you can finally take a day off.
Or we wouldn’t be hanging here on this fine Monday.
You’d be off searching the sugar parent websites in your spare time and shopping at Hermes.
We hang because, like me, you’re a sucker for LOVE.
It’s a nice thought that love might also come with an answer to a few problems.
But you’d rather die alone and be eaten by your pet hamster than be looked at as LESS THAN or worse a gold digger by someone who claims to love you. You’re smart and hard working and surely if you were gonna dig you’d be at the top of the heap by now, LOL.
So just don’t. Don’t make choices to avoid appearing materialistic. Don’t over give to your partner because you have to make up for just being a regular old person. Don’t overspend on stupidly expensive clothing to fit in. Be unapologetically yourself.
Whether we have a Tall, Grande or Venti bank account, or whether we actually own a competing interest in Starbucks Corporation, none of us want to be with someone who is suing everyone they know, trying to buy people or treating them like dirt, spending the rent on drugs, or new shoes, and so on.
We all want to protect what we have worked really hard for, to be able to take care of our people.
It’s important and your future beloved needs to respect and honour what is important to you, as you do to them.
It’s not that it’s noble to care less about cash. Lack and sacrifice don’t buy us world peace or make us holier.
To make money almighty or rebel against it, either way makes you its bitch.
So be wary of sweeping an EMOTIONAL issue into a financial statement.
Equality in a relationship isn’t defined by monetary contribution, unless you want to define it that way, and why would you? Equality happens when two people show up and give of themselves, are open and invest emotionally, and choose the relationship. If you don’t feel love and acceptance and admiration of your partner you aren’t going to be equals regardless of who foots the bill.
And in the relationship you want to be on the same team. Money should not be an interloper or a mistress. There are all kinds of ways to sort out the practicalities. If someone is better at saving or growing or simply cares more there are ways to build the financial structure to serve the relationship and the needs of everyone in it.
Talk it out with someone. Get an understanding of how you want to feel, rather than assuming that a number on a piece of paper is going to answer it protectively.
Before you go taking money on a date with you revisit your relationship with it.
Clean the fear out of your wallet.
Decide how you want to feel about it and how you want your relationship to feel.
Then you won’t have close your self off, or narrow the playing field. Then you won’t make an enemy of every real or potential partner.
And then you can approach the conversation when the time comes with warmth, and honesty and as a team of equals.
Maybe start with what would make you really really happy. For each of you and together.
Money can’t buy feeling worthy.
It can’t buy you respect.
It can’t buy you deep abiding commitment or affection.
Or laughter or joy.
It can buy you a good therapist, or coach and that’ll get you on the way, just sayin’.
But Love, well that can buy you a fortune if you let it.
— Love Erin
P.S. 2021 I am bringing on the love. I’ll be featured in a podcast all about better loving, from healing your broken heart to intentional dating to creating a relationship that thrives, and I’ll be launching a sister site for all of you relationship and love enthusiasts, with all kinds of insights and offerings. Stay tuned!
P.P.S. One of the kindest things you can do for me is to share my writing. If you enjoyed today’s Monday Musing and know someone else who would please forward it to a friend.