Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Money Series: It Really Does Matter

Strong opinions to follow...

I was raised to believe that money doesn't matter.  That having less is better than having more.  That the pursuit of money is evil.  That getting a 'good job' and working hard is more important than happiness or fulfilment.

I was taught to believe that you should never want more money than you need to live comfortably.  That wanting to own expensive things or do expensive activities was sinful.  That it is always better to not spend than to spend.  That we should always be content no matter the difficulties of our financial circumstances.

Well you won't find me teaching those ideas to my children.

I think that having lots of money is important.

There, I said it.

I think that the purpose of our Lives here on Earth is to, each of us, reach our full potentials.  It is our Life's Work to express our greatest joy, our greatest creativity, our greatest passions.  Indeed, it is the responsibility of each adult and child to pursue that which is our truest expression of our Selves.  We are required to become all that we are capable of being.  To do so is to give meaning to our Lives.

And you know what?  It's really hard to become all that we are capable of being when we are hungry, sick or working our asses off at a job that we hate just to pay the bills for a meagre existence.

There's a bit of an attitude among 'natural' parents that we are (or should be) all making sacrifices for the benefit of our children:  giving up a second income to stay home with the babies, giving up take-out to buy organic fruits, cancelling cable TV to have more money for natural health services.  There's even a bit of a sanctimonious snobbery about being 'poor' for the benefit of our families, that we are willing to give up income to have time with our children.

Why does it have to be one or the other?

I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting more money.  I'm not talking about devoting your life to making money.  I'm talking about pursuing more wealth for the purpose of creating a fuller, richer life for yourself and your children.  I'm talking about finding your passion and turning it into an income and inspiring others to do the same thing.

I'm not going to be a mother who raises my children and then spends my senior years talking about all the sacrifices I made for them.  I'm no martyr.  I intend to live up to my full potential right now, not at some point in the distant future when my children don't need me anymore.  They need me to be all that I can be right now.  I want to live in abundance and follow my passions and I want to give my children every opportunity to live in abundance and follow their passions.  And you know what?  To do that requires material wealth.

Does any of this resonate with you?  
Are you ready to give up the idea that you "really don't mind" making sacrifices?
I'd love to hear what you think.


  1. First, love the new header! Your kids are so beautiful.
    And yeah, I have often wished we had a lot of disposable income. There really aren't many *things* I want, but opportunities. Being able to travel, in particular. My family is spread across the country and I would love to go back to Europe.
    I guess we gave up my income so I could stay home, but there wasn't much of it and I didn't enjoy my job. Peter was just an excellent excuse to do what I wanted to do anyway!

  2. @ Cat
    Thanks so much for your comment. I was actually worried about offending people by embracing the desire for more money. I agree with you: for me it's not about having THINGS. It's about having more TIME and more OPPORTUNITIES for myself, my partner and my children to pursue our dreams and to bring our truest selves to reality.

  3. It's a good thing I don't really feel the way you do. Because having a lot of money is just not in the cards for us these days! We've got student debt, and we both majored in English (which is like saying "I want to be poor forever").

    I think there's kind of a law of diminishing returns about money. If you're making $20,000 a year, $5,000 more could make all the difference between grinding poverty and a simple but comfortable life. But as you approach the amount you need and want, you stop wanting more so much ... if you have all you need for the lifestyle you want to have, there's no reason to break your back trying to get more.

    Right now, we really, really could use some more money. I could buy some food that is both healthy AND tastes good, I could pay the midwife, we could have phones that actually work ... you know. But I think once we start getting paid for my husband's new job, we'll be very close to our ideal. Enough to buy the necessities and those luxuries we care about -- the occasional breakfast out, trips home for the holidays, supplies for our different hobbies.

    But overall, most of the things I want don't cost money, or not much money. So our goal has really been to have enough money to pay our loans and get by, and we're not really interested in making much more than that. Being frugal has allowed us to cut costs on things that don't matter to us so that we can afford those things we do. I was brought up fairly low-income, and I just can't imagine NOT being frugal -- I enjoy finding good deals! So a high income just isn't a priority for me.

    Of course, if the things you want DO cost money, I can see why you'd definitely make having the money to afford them a priority. It's all a matter of what you're interested in.

  4. @ Sheila
    I love your comment. Thankyou.
    I totally agree with the need to be a good steward of whatever income you have. Many of the things that I want for our 'lifestyle' do not cost much money and regardless of the cost I would still choose to do the things that I love to do for my family such as bake bread and preserve tomato sauce.

    But some of the things that I am passionate about simply require more material wealth. I want a piano and I want an art studio and I want to live beside a small lake. I want more time to write and to spend less time cleaning and cleaning up!

    Do you believe in the Law of Attraction? I do.

    For a long time I believed that LESS was better (i.e. morally superior) to MORE. For example, we had a 4th child, but we owned a 5-passenger car which meant that we could never go anywhere all together as a family (without the enormous hassle of renting a van). I started to fix my mind on the benefits that our family would derive from a bigger vehicle. I focussed on how we could enjoy our family time more by travelling together. But I knew that our income was not going to go up so I didn't think about how we would get the new van. Well, out of nowhere, we received a large gift of money, found a perfect vehicle (being sold by a family who had just had a 5th child) and the day we bought it, a friend invited us to go on a free holiday with her in Quebec.

    So does the Law of Attraction work? It has been working for me. I'm not trying to accumulate material wealth for status or to keep up with what other people seem to have. I simply want to live a better life with my family, fulfilling my potential and giving them all the opportunity to fulfil theirs. I would imagine that that is exactly what you want for your family.

    Much love I send to you and your family.

  5. I definitely agree that having less is not morally superior to having more. But it's a heck of a lot easier to get! ;)

  6. As an artist married to an architect and having both attended one of the most expensive private art schools in America, our debt burden has always out weighed our earning potential.

    (It is a total myth that architects make money...unless you are Frank Gehry or Zaha Hadid, it is long hours for meager pay.)

    At first it was romantic...we were poor but living our dreams. Then we began to have children and realized it wasn't fair to them to "just scrape by".

    Then with the global economic collapse coupled with the years of "just get by" made it an out right horrible existence. Both of us faced years of unemployment. We suffered great loss. We became dependent upon our families and extended community for financial support. It has been a humbling experience.

    We are slowly recovering and getting back on our feet. What we have both realized is that we can not support our family, be productive citizens of our community and reach our full potential with "enough". We need more than enough. I am no longer ashamed to say, "I want to earn a lot of money." In my opinion, all the good that would be done when I earn all that money outweighs the shame/taboo/perceived greed for saying that I want lots of money.

    Thank you for this post!

  7. When I read your blog, I was reminded of the wise man of Proverbs. He prayed in chapter 30 verse 8:"Give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny You and say "Who is the Lord?" And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God's holy Name.
    Having enough and being content is a blessing indeed!!!

  8. YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!!!!!!!! Thank you.