From Gloria Steinem to Billy Graham, many have offered, “We can tell our values by looking at our checkbook”. Of course, checkbooks have slowly been replaced with debit cards and online bill paying, but you get the idea. Your bank statement, what you earn, how much of that you save, and what you spend your money on says a lot about what you value and where your heart is.
But just like your physical health is important, so too is your financial health. Your knowledge and perception of money, and your thoughts and feelings about it when you perceive you have enough, and not enough, speak volumes about you.
What’s your current financial health? Do you spend more than you earn? Do you pinch pennies to save for emergencies or out of fear? Do you use money as a vice or a tool?
Look back at your last three bank statements. What percentage of your income went to your savings and/or retirement accounts? How much of it was spent on mortgage/rent, utilities, gas, groceries, household & personal items? And what did you do with what was left?
Like many things in our lives, our thoughts about money and the way we handle our money is the result of what we learned in childhood. It mimics or it reflects; you repeat what your parents did or you do the complete opposite. If your parents were thrifty or good with money and you always had what you needed, your financial life may mirror that. Or, if they never splurged or used their income to do anything fun, you may have the spend it now, you can’t take it with you mentality.
Why do you make the financial decisions you do? What do your money habits say about you?
Part of cleaning up your life is shedding a light on the dark areas of your life, the skeletons you’ve kept locked in the closet and the secrets that are making you sick, and dealing with them. Few things are as heavy a burden to carry than debt, but understand that debt is a symptom of a bigger or deeper problem in your life. And before you’re quick to assume that you don’t have a problem because you aren’t in debt, having enough money does not financial health make. What do you do with that which you’ve earned? How charitable are you? What investments into yourself or others do you make and why?
Here are three truths about money:
- Money alone is not the root of all evil (the love of it is).
- Money is powerless on its own; it is a tool.
- Money is fluid; it simply changes hands.
So, for the month of July I challenge you to take inventory. Track what you earn and question why you earn that amount. Should you be earning more? If so, why aren’t you? Are you overpaid? (Few will admit it, but are you actually stealing from people?) What do you spend your disposable income on? Have you developed money practices that actually work for your life and reflect your values, or do you simply do what your parents did or refused to do?
If your money could talk, what would it say about you?
The CLEAN LIFE movement.
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