From Financial Integrity
Corinne - The Buck Stops Here
- Urban, Central Plains Canada
- Multi-adult household
I am a Canadian and when it comes to financial integrity, we Canadians are like most other people in the world, we score poorly. I have seen this first hand. My husband and I seized an opportunity 7 years ago to escape our jobs (surveying and retail). We followed a dream of working for ourselves and making a difference for families. It was a crusade and in the beginning it felt a lot like Robin Hood and her merry man. We decided to become financial advisors and help families with money.
So, 7 years later we found our crusade to be more like a warm bath that cooled off quickly. For ourselves, we are grateful for the things we have learned and it is comforting to know that we can have control of our lives. For the families we are crusading for; well, we have learned valuable lessons about human behavior when it comes to money. It is going to take much more than a financial education to help them.
I came to understand this when I was listening to a couple talk about what a tremendous job I had done to help them with their finances. They were able to move out of their nice double wide mobile home and purchase a nicer single family dwelling in a nicer neighborhood, get a nicer second vehicle and accent their home with nicer furniture and accessories. At first I was glad to see they were happy but when I left them that night, my heart sank. It occurred to me that I felt I had made matters worse. The plan of course included saving money and life insurance but I never saw the spending spree coming. They were so excited. So, my naivety took advantage of me. On the flip side, I have some excellent clients who have discipline toward their own financial integrity but I must admit there is a reason people are broke. It is all about choices. So where do we go from here?
Here’s what I know about what our relationship with money should be; it is a philosophy to permeate every part of our lives, not just what our bank statements report. Let me give you an example. When I worked in retail, a friend of mine called me up just before father’s day and wanted me to pick her up a bike as a father’s day present. I knew the money situation was bad so I wasn’t too happy about doing it for her. I asked her how much she wanted to spend and she said “I guess around $500, what’s the difference if we pile on a little more debt”. I bought her the least expensive bike we had. This attitude clings to every aspect of how we live and many people are stricken with it.
My husband and I live lean and happy and have developed effective ways to embrace this philosophy. Here are three.
- Stop caring about what other people think of you. Find fulfillment in living a simple life and mentally move out of the Jones’ neighborhood.
- Money is a tool to help cover our basic needs. There is no longer a defined line between a need and a want. If you become intoxicated with stuff you will be a slave to money.
- De-clutter your living space. How does this help with financial integrity? Well, if you can give away your possessions and not acquire replacements you are starting to change your relationship with money. You will also be able to de-clutter your mind, which leads to clarity of things that really matter.
So, will financial integrity be in your future? I hope this will become a philosophy that we, as a society, will embrace. The buck stops here!