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Change your money story, change your life
on August 24, 2009
Perhaps you have read The Richest Man in Babylon or The Automatic Millionaire. Both of those books teach you how to handle your money. But in my mind they are a lot like many weight loss books that advise you to eat less and exercise more. If you do that you certainly will lose weight.
And if you follow the advice in either of the two books mentioned, you will be able to manage your money. But the problem is more than just knowing what to do with money, it is doing it. Everyone knows what they should do with their money. Spend less than you earn, save for a rainy day. The problem is doing it.
And that is where The Secret Language of Money offers a real service to its readers. It goes beyond the spend less, save more mantra and takes an in-depth look at how our lives are totally wrapped around how we view money.
The first thing the book does is to show how interwoven our money story is with our lives. We use money to represent many different things. And we try to use money to do things that it cannot do. We try to use money to "alter our moods, increase our self-esteem, and control others. We use money to try to soothe emotional pains and to buy the respect of others and ourselves." The more we try to do with money, the less we understand it.
Our money story is so complex that we often refuse to fully examine how we think about money. There are countless people who are afraid to really face their money beliefs. And if you are not aware of your money story, you will be powerless to alter it.
The book is filled with real life examples that Dave shares with us from his professional practice. And there are lessons to be learned from each case study.
There is also an interesting recount of some of history's largest financial scams and speculative bubbles along with advice on how to avoid being scammed or falling into the speculative bubble trap. As a nation we would have been much better off if collectively we had heeded this advice and avoided the sub-prime mortgage meltdown.
The book is also filled with exercises that will allow you to uncover your own personal money story and then to rewrite it in a healthier way.
Unfortunately we are a consumer society and have been lead to believe that money will bring us the happiness we seek. Nothing could be further from the truth. As you will learn reading this book, the more we seek happiness through money, the more disappointed we are likely to be. We have experienced a steady rise in wealth but a corresponding steady decline in our perceived state of happiness.
The solution is to understand the way you feel about money and what money means to you. Then sort out your ideals, needs and wants. Make sure that your wants do not dictate your life.
In my opinion, the most important concept in the book is, "Your new money story begins with determining not what it is that you want to have, but who it is you want to be."
The book is well written and full of interesting stories to drive home the points being made. There are numerous exercises that will shed lots of light on your money story.
Your money story is completely intertwined with your life - make sure it is correct. This book will help you understand your money story and make the necessary changes to lead to a happier more productive life.