February 2010 - Posts - The Dollar Stretcher
Welcome to Dollar Stretcher Community Sign in | Join | Help
in Search

The Dollar Stretcher

The Dollar Stretcher blog will explore people and money.

February 2010 - Posts

  • Money Tapes: Proud to Be Poor

    My money tape? Being poor is something to be proud of. My Dad was a factory worker, my mom stayed home. They both worked very hard to provide everything we needed and more. We have a very prestigious private college locally. I was able to live at home and work full-time while attending college. The students there were of substantial means and treated locals with disdain. This hardened my “proud to be poor” status.
    I am now an adult and my husband works very hard and has been able to provide some things that not everyone else in our circle/community has. I find myself embarrassed to have those things. As my husband points out, we are by no means wealthy. Somehow, I feel disloyal to my family by having more. Help!

    Autumn's response is very understandable. As a young adult she's working hard to afford a private college. The vast majority of the students come from wealthy families. They look down on people like Autumn. She's faced with a choice.
    She can decide that the other students are right. Money is the measure of a person's worth. So the best thing that anyone can do is to accumulate wealth.

    Autumn chose the other path. She rejected their view. In fact, she went the exact opposite way. A person should be proud to be poor.
    But, you'll notice that both views have the same underlying belief. That possessions determine how valuable a person is.
    That pride that started in college still plays out in Autumn's life today. And, it's causing discomfort. So what can she do that will allow her to be comfortable with her current finances?

    The first thing is probably to recognize that money and possessions don't determine a person's worth. We're not better people because we have money. Or because we don't have money. It might help if Autumn can think of people that she values and respects. Some are probably better off financially. And, others are not so well off materially.

    She can also look at the flip side. She probably can name both wealthy and poor people who are mean and not nice.
    Ideally Autumn can see herself as being a valuable human being regardless of her possessions. Recognizing her worth is intrinsic, part of who she is and not what she has.

    Finally, a thought about 'disloyalty'. There's nothing disloyal about accumulating wealth. As long as it isn't used to drive friends and family away. We've all met people who use their wealth to 'lord it over' or impress other people. Generally we don't like them. But, nothing says that we have to become that person. In fact, if we value people for who they are, it's unlikely that we'll use money to manipulate them.

    Do you have an interesting Money Tape playing in your head? You're not alone. We all learn by sharing our experiences. Please send your Money Tape by email and we'll include as many as we can in future issues.

  • My Money Tape

    My tape is that too much money is not good to have. The way i grew up my parents had a lot of money and I was embarrassed. So therefore I've led a life just having as much as I need, and spending the rest. I would like to break away from this tape as I age, because I want to start saving a lot more! Any tips on how to get rid of this money tape?

    Gary's response: I'd suggest that C. think back to their childhood and try to understand why they were embarrassed. What C. finds could help overcome the reluctance to saving.

    For instance, it could be that C's parents were very proud of their wealth. And, weren't afraid to display it. Naturally that might make it hard for C. to make friends with kids from less prosperous families.

    But, thinking about it, does accumulating wealth mean that you have to display it for the world to see? Does anyone need to know how much C. has in the bank or a 401k account? Just because C. can afford fancy clothes or a fancy car doesn't mean C. has to buy them. So, if that was the concern C. probably can put the fear away and begin to save for the future.

    Or maybe C. was embarrassed having things growing up that friends didn't have. Again, that's understandable. Growing up we all want to be like our friends. But is there any reason that the size of C's savings account should force C. to give up current friends (even if they're penniless)? C. appears to be a very down-to-earth person. Accumulating some savings doesn't need to change that. And, in fact, there's no reason that it should.

    Examining the Money Tape could help C. understand the underlying feelings. And, once C. understands them they won't hold the same importance. Chances are they aren't relevant to C's life today. Once C. recognizes that the Tapes won't have any power. My guess is that C. can find a way to avoid any problems and still start saving.

    This post originally appeared in "Financial Independence" - a free daily look at what it takes to take control of your money. To subscribe click here. Do you have an interesting Money Tape playing in your head? You're not alone. We all learn by sharing our experiences. Please send your Money Tape by email and we'll include as many as we can in future issues.

  • The Danger of False Money Tapes

    As we've discussed before, our Money Tapes are thoughts that go through our mind telling us what we believe to be true about money. Typically they've been with us a long, long time. We've accepted them as part of our reality.

    But what happens if one of our Money Tapes is false, or isn't true all of the time? What happens then?

    Often the results are a train wreck that you're not even aware happened.

    Let's consider an example. Suppose that you were raised to believe that your value was determined by what you produced by your hard work. So naturally, you've worked hard all of your life. Often putting in extra hours and even skipping family events so that you could produce more.

    When a special project keeps you from your son's birthday party your Money Tape plays: "You're most valuable to your family when you're working hard." Believing it to be true, you plow into the special project and plan on apologizing to your son when you get home.

    But the Money Tape is only partially true. Working hard is important. But so is being present at your son's birthday party. In fact, it's very likely that the party is more important.

    Since you believe your Money Tape you think you did the right thing. And, you're surprised when your son isn't that interested in your apology. It's only years later that you realize how much he wanted you to be there. In short, a train wreck that you weren't aware of.

    The moral of the story? Listen for and question your Money Tapes. Make sure that they're true for the specific situation you're facing. Otherwise you may think that you're doing great, even though your train is hurtling off the tracks!

    What's your experience with Money Tapes? How have they affected your life. We'd love to hear your story.

The Dollar Stretcher has a new community! Click here to check it out and create your new account.

Share this Post

This Blog



Gary is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who edits The Dollar Stretcher website <www.stretcher.com> and newsletters. You can follow Gary on Twitter.com/gary_foreman
About Us    Privacy Policy    Writers' Guidelines     Sponsorship     Media    Contact Us

Powered by Community Server (Commercial Edition), by Telligent Systems