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Learn How To Develop A Practical and Spiritual Relationship With Your Money

father, daughter, having fun, daughter on fathers shoulders, happy, family, happiness, life, good times
We are experiencing an “in your face” economical transformation. The shock waves are being felt from Macy’s to your local food co-op. Jobs have been lost, business are dying, many are afraid, others see the truth of what is going and know that these changes, like birth pains, are good. What is this transformation?

Consuming and spending for entertainment will be replaced by a system where our work and money’s job is to support a self directed, intentional, happy balanced life; a life where relationships come first. Our relationship with our self, and our friends our family, will be our priority. We will prioritize people before material things. We will hold and see our connection to life and the broader world as sacred.  For some, this has always been true, but others are waking up to the fact that our relationship to people and the environment come before spending, consuming and our possessions. The ancient Chinese saying “Family, Friends, Fame and Fortune all have a value of “0” and thus no worth unless a “1” is put in front of them. That “1” is health”. This shift is not just about work and money. It is at its core about realizing we have a need for emotional, mental, psychological and spiritual health.

Borrow, Spend and Borrow Just Didn’t Work!

For about 20 years we tried running our economy on paper profits, borrowing and inflated values. Even Americans of common sense and our leaders bought into “the borrow and spend” economic model. Even my teenage kids know the model did not work. Of course, for a while it seemed to work. Our borrow to prosperity mantra in  America is in some way analogous to keeping a friend drunk so they don’t get a hangover, or staying in a bad relationship to avoid the pain of a breakup.

Happy to Thrive! Thank you!

As things shift away from the false borrow and spend economic belief system, what is a good Diva to do? First we need to realize that a giant powerful economy like we have in the U.S. doesn’t turn on a dime. In fact, it really doesn’t even turn, it just chugs along and we participants muddle along with it. It also doesn’t take care of us-we take care of ourselves. Our U.S. constitution and our Declaration of Independence said we have the freedom to pursue our dreams unencumbered by laws or systems. We are called Amer-I-cans, and our cultural roots are realistic and based on common virtues such as honesty, responsibility, and self-reliance.

Profits and Principles

Contrast this with how economics looks at us. It takes humans, turns them into statistics, assumes that rational humans will pursue material goods over good relationships, profits over principles and we will risk our health and our relationships for one more pair of shoes. It does not see us as unique individuals. All over the world people are realizing the economy is about people and our actions. If we had no money or economists, for that matter, we would still have an economy. Everything is connected and we are interconnected and interdependent, so we have an economy just by being human. The economy exists because we humans simply want to be happy and not suffer. Economic activity will go on as long as lovers want to express love and those who fear want to be safe. Simple? Yes! However as mentioned the transformation to the “new” intentional economic reality will not come without some pain.

Expectations Gone Awry

Recent events have helped to illustrate that the idea that more and bigger is not the way to a healthy economy and happy citizens. Many have lost faith in our institutions. Not just the big banks and brokers failed to keep their word and treat consumers of their products with virtue and compassion but our religious, educational, non-profit and government institutions also dropped the ball on common sense, sustainability, loyalty and integrity.  If you place expectations on anyone or anything that they don’t place on themselves, you have doomed yourself for disappointment. While we might like to think we are victims of the downside of this shift, that our institutions “did us wrong”, the truth is, they aren’t responsible for our financial fall out; we are. We asked those big towers full of people to do something they were incapable of or unwilling to do. We need to accept we were part of the past failure and move on. Institutions will change. They will change from the inside, because corporations are not anything but a group of grown up people pursuing common goals. We work for those companies and will in the future think about the consequences of our actions and ask, “Is this good, right and helpful?” and not just, “Will this make a buck?”

Sustainable Jobs and Good relationships

Of course business and non profits need profits or surpluses for sustainability; however, when money comes before people as we have seen over the past year, the results can be devastating. Nearly every American watched as home values plummeted, 401(k)s were lost while unemployment rose and business’s froze up. We watched even some of our happy, optimistic friends become frozen by fear. Going forward we can learn that using common sense in our purchase and relationship decisions is going to allow us to have a happier life with more ease. Striving to be in a sustainable job, that provides us with time for good relationships, and money to support the life we want is a challenge, however it is worth it and actually will be the key to gracefully navigating the future.

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Paul Sutherland has been an author for over 20 years on financial planning and investment management. His new book The Virtue of Wealth, Creating Life Success the Zenvesting Way helps people recognize wealth-related choices that are made each day. Paul is the Chief Investment Officer and President of FIM Group (www.fimg.net). You can learn more about Paul at www.zenvesting.com.

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