You is kind. You is smart. You is not controlling your budget.
Obviously, we aren’t all wired exactly the same way. But allow me to overgeneralize for a moment. Sure, we’re all snowflakes, but when it comes to my own millennial friends I’ve encountered some pretty common themes…
Here’s one: Pure intimidation when it comes to personal finance.
Why is it that we can effortlessly navigate sticky work problems, juggle personal scheduling woes, and push, prod and cajole family holiday logistics in a way that would make a seasoned wedding planner look like a lightweight … but we can’t make our own money behave? I’m not buying it.
You’re sharp. You’re smart. You’re a boss.
So be the boss of your money. Otherwise you’ll be at its mercy.
I’m not saying you have to stick to a strict beans-and-rice diet, and I’m not talking wash-underwear-in-the-sink frugality. But some thoughtful “what do I make vs. where does it go” strategy can go a long way, and can put you back in the driver’s seat.
Because nobody wants to be the one without any control in a relationship, right? That’s no fun.
So what is your relationship with money? Are your feelings about money a blessing or a curse? [Warning: we’re about to talk about feeee-eeeelings]
Ever felt broke? Incompetent? Insecure? Guilty?
Those are all feelings attributed to an unhealthy relationship. And you're not the only one.
What about confident?
(Not Meryl Streep giving an acceptance speech confident — just, like, got-a-grip confident.)
No? OK, let’s taco-bout it. Some of my best friends don’t understand why they constantly feel at-odds with their money, and this is what I wish I could say to them without sounding like a jerk:
Girl. Why are you chasing Adele across the nation when you don’t have time to sign the enrollment papers HR is sticking up your nose?
I think I know why. Because it’s a relationship you’re not willing to invest in. You have feee-eeeels for Adele. You don’t have feee-eeeels for your 401(k).
Here's the other thing I want to tell them: Adele has a boatload of money. And you don’t.
Adele knows she’s in a relationship with money. And you don’t.
But you are! You are in a relationship with money*. Whether you deny it, ignore it or bury your feelings about it.
You and money, baby. Always and forever.
Stay with me here. You get to choose whether or not it’s a healthy relationship.
I can picture the Peace, Love, & Hemp Seed Club members of the world flying at me at once saying that money isn’t everything, and that it will never bring you true happiness.
Of course it won't.
Money doesn’t buy you happiness. It buys you flexiblity.
But that’s not my point — my point is that money will be in your life, and you get to determine your attitude towards it.
“Relating” to cars is optional — you can go your whole life without caring to know what a radiator is**. Football? Optional. You don’t have to know a quarterback from a catcher; you can be like me and just show up for the fried chicken. A relationship with money isn’t optional — it’s there, you’re there, and you have to figure out a way to live together.
Of course, we’ve all made mistakes, and we’ve all had to learn from dysfunctional relationships. But “learn” is the keyword there. So have you? Have you learned from previous mistakes?
Click the arrows on the slideshow to flip through, and let me know if any of these ring a bell.
P.S.If you are viewing this on your smartphone or tablet, you need to hold your it horizontally to toggle your screen for the slideshow. Otherwise, you won't be able to see the captions, which would be a TRAVESTY. I'm trying to figure out this weird kink in Squarespace; do not hold your breath.
You get to decide. How do you want to be able to describe your relationship with money? Let me know which ones I've missed in the comments below!