Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Are your money worries real?

Years ago I worried a lot about money. I was always insecure. Afraid I wouldn’t have enough. In my fear, I sometimes pictured myself in the middle of a deep, dark forest (the kind that swallowed up Little Red Riding Hood) and through the trees I would see the red, glittering wolves eyes…”Ready to eat you my dear, if your bank account falls below a certain level.”
I had another vision too, one I learned is shared by many women: I pictured myself in the future as a homeless old bag lady pushing my shopping cart with my cat (and I don’t even own a cat.)
Occasionally I wondered: where did my fears came from? I grew up in a standard-issue, middle-class family. My mom sometimes hollered, “If you kids don’t turn out the lights, you’ll send us to the poorhouse!” But in reality, I’ve never been poor.
Even as a self-employed writer, I’ve managed to earn “enough.”
Here’s what I’ve learned. Our worries and fears---about money or anything else—start inside our heads. And they may—or may not--be hooked to reality.
So the first of the 92 best ideas to ease money worries is this: Figure out if your worries are real (Losing your home or owing $50,000 on your credit card—a situation that actually existed for a friend of mine--- would be classed as “real.” )
OR do your worries exist primarily in your head, spurred on by the media’s fearful headlines or your own confusion between “wants” vs. actual “needs.”?
Maybe the wolves eyes are only in your imagination.
Now let me ask you—what ideas do you have to ease money worries? My years in creative work taught me that the very best ideas come from BRAINSTORMING….so let’s storm our brains TOGETHER. Here are the questions for today's poll:
QUESTION 1: When your thoughts do turn fearful about money, what “picture” pops into your head?
QUESTION 2: What are your ideas about ways to manage fearful thoughts?


ClaireWalter said...

I grew up in a comfortable middle class family too, supported myself and my son as a single mother for years, and was able to ride the economy up and down for a long time. When my husband was laid off at the end of last year (with a generous severance package that included full salary through June '08), he enjoyed the freedom of collecting a paycheck but having half-a-year off. As that time drew to a close, I started worrying. He grew up with four siblings and hard-working parents who always struggled. He wasn't worries. He has now accepted a new job. I'm relieved. He is sorry that he again has to go work in an office.

Through all this, no picture popped into my head -- just a general unease.

40licious said...

I'm a huge fan of Barbara Stanny, who specializes in women and their relationship to money. The day after I read her book, "Prince Charming Isn't Coming," I booked a union commercial. Maybe it is and maybe it is not related, but the understanding I got from her is that money is a river that gushes and trickles, not an apple box that gets tipped over and emptied.

Now, your poll:
1. My fear of money involves reams of paperwork as I try to liquidate.
2. I manage this thought by going to work, even though no bone in my body wants to.

Barbara Bartocci said...

I'm also a fan --and a friend of--Barbara Stanny. She and I used to have coffee together in Kansas City and we had similar experiences with spouses who misused some of our funds. But our experiences led us ultimately to a new understanding of money as energy for good and also the importance of taking responsibility for how we use the energy.