By Robert Stitt
CreditCards.com reports that “13 million Americans have committed financial infidelity, by hiding a bank or credit card account from a partner, spouse, or significant other.” In her book, “The Soul of Money”, author Lynne Twist comments, “Somewhere along the way the power we gave money outstripped its original utilitarian role.” In other words, money has taken a place in our lives that is big and powerful enough to get us to lie, to cheat, to steal, and to deceive. What happened? What causes nearly a third of parents to lie to their children about money, with nearly half of parents admitting they say they can’t afford things when they really can? How did money become the “leading cause of divorce, violence, and [that] has prompted some to break communication with friends and family?”
According to Black Enterprise, Twist feels that several factors have secretly shaped our views about finances and money. We cannot counter them and gain control back if we do not know what they are.
Scarcity. When your focus is on how little money there is, you end up in a never-ending cycle of striving. We have been tricked into believing that we have to acquire more and more money because there is only so much of it and the more we have, the better off we will be. While money may appear scarce, the truth is that it is not what we should be focused on. There are things that are much more scarce than money, and they are far more valuable. For example, time, relationships, and self-worth. When these things are traded away for money, everybody loses.
More. Following the lie of scarcity is the concept of more. “More” is the lie of marketers and advertisers. Twist writes, “There is nothing wrong with having more, but the mindset of this myth never gives us the satisfaction of looking forward.” Inherent in the mindset of “more” is that you can never be content with what you have because it will never be enough.
Deal with it. According to Twist, the greatest myth of all is that this is just the way things are and we have to deal with it. The truth is that we don’t have to buy into this mindset. It really is a “red pill or blue pill” mentality. Take one and you’re locked into a world chasing after money and never having enough, but take the other and your eyes are opened to the lies. You don’t have to have the newest gadgets, the name brand clothes, or eat at certain restaurants to be happy and content.
Yes, money is necessary, but living beyond your means is not. Save, budget, invest, but learn to be content and enjoy yourself and the other people in your life. Don’t let money have the control over you that it does not deserve.