My desire to get Money: A Love Story finished was partly motivated for my desire to do a book review for you. So here it is!
First thing, I'm going to admit that the first few sections of the book irritated me. Something fierce. I understand that Northrup had to tell her money backstory and outline her relationship with money. I get that. But her story reminded me so much of other books that I gave up on because I was irritated with the author. So Northrup survived through college living in an apartment that her mother owned and supported her lifestyle with passive income. And I immediately went into a mindset that she had no information that was useful to me. What could someone who has always HAD money have in common with a student-loan-indebted, 30-something woman in Kentucky who works a job she doesn't especially like to pay her mortgage?
And I wanted to put the book down. Just like I had Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin and Freefall to Fly by Rebekah Lyons. I'm sure they are both great books, but the "I have this great life and I'm going to point out all of the things I'm missing" schtick just irritates the crap out of me. Because the "great life" part is just pointed out over and over and over. Money, career, family, power, fantastic home, etc. And, although I totally love my life, what does someone living in New York City with all of these bonuses really have to tell me that I can do anything productive with?
Yeah. So that was my issue with Money: A Love Story from the beginning. What could she possibly know about debt and making hard financial choices? That was my initial thought. And, then, her first suggestion for saving money while still feeling abundant was to go out and buy a nice handbag as a reminder? Seemed
a little a lot enabling to me, but I persevered.
I finally decided that I was going to try really hard to separate the personality from the information. It was very VERY difficult at times. I may have texted with Ange for solidarity. I had twitter discussions with Jaemie and Ashley. I don't know if I would recommend this book, honestly. But I do know that I adore some of the information and I will definitely utilize this as I hone my budgeting system in March.
So...what did I glean?
Frugality is not a function of morality. How I handle money, how much debt I have, and how I handle debt is not a reflection on my morality and self-worth. Just like my weight.
Lack of financial awareness is just keeping me small. Until I know exactly what I have and where it is going, I'll keep some level of fear and dread. And that level of dread keeps me small.
I don't have to figure it all out at once. Just like everything I try to teach as I coach, it doesn't require a huge leap to make a difference. I just need to pick my starting point (which I'm showing you later this week), and go from there. Get support, continue to get information, and respond to money in a ways that feel expansive and authentic.
There are ways to earmark money that don't require envelopes. I am opening a new bank account this week. It will be attached to our other accounts. All of our bills + cushion will be kept in our primary checking. Everything else will go to a separate "spending" account, with a different card. This will be an actual, separate location and balance for our discretionary income. Kate calls it her "Money For Me" account, but I think Money for Us just looks weird. I need a new name. Anyway, I like that knowing exactly how much we have there will help me make better choices. And by having a different card (that I will carry with me, but not in my wallet), we will be more intentional.
I can view my living expenses and debt in a different way. I find paying bills highly irritating. This is especially true for student loans and credit card. I just look at that money and think about what I could be doing with it. But Kate presents a different view of this that has changed things for me. She calls these expenses Invoices for Blessings Already Received. So when I think about the mortgage? I have gratitude for having a garage to park in this winter. When I think about my student loans? I have gratitude for a specific college memory (like the time my college boyfriend threw my good-luck beanie baby hippo onto the roof of a classroom building and I pouted until he scaled the building and brought Happy to safety). When I think about the credit card? I take a moment and have gratitude about a specific dinner in Asheville at Curate with AshleyGee. There are things I would change about how I've handled money in the past (of course there is!), but it is what it is. And I love my life.
There are a few specific assignments from the book that I will share with you as I work through them. Again, although I had issue with the author, I really enjoyed the perspective shifts and specific tasks in the book. So I don't know how to recommend the book. But I'm glad I read it.
Next up (on their way from amazon): Overcoming Underearning and Financial Recovery: Developing a Healthy Relationship with Money.
As I look at my goal to be more money-aware, it helps me see opportunities for you to get closer to your big, aching goal. Is it an organized house? Getting healthy? Changing how you present yourself to the world? Radical self-care? I believe the road to change is built with intentional and consistent daily actions. And I can help direct and shape your path. Forty Steps Closer. Skype calls, google chats, facebook group, weekly assignments, a rocking workbook (if you mention registration on social media!) and annoying text messages from me. Registration closes on SUNDAY, so don't miss out! I am so super excited about this program. I think it has potential to rock your life and change your world, if you only embrace it. So let's get started!