Let’s face it. Money matters. Even though many of us believe that it is a means to an end, our relationship with money is deeply rooted in our belief systems, our needs, and our outlook towards the world. In essence, then, money is foundational to our existence and shapes it. Often, beyond our awareness.
It’s a strong statement, yes. But let’s look at a few instances of how our relationship to money impacts us:
- We attach our worth to what we have. Think of a salary negotiation situation. If you’re currently receiving 60,000 INR, how comfortable would you be asking for 90,000 INR in your next job, even if it is a valid ask? For most people this won’t be easy, because we evaluate the hike from the perspective of our current earnings. This is especially true for women. But, says economist Linda Babcock, “Women who negotiate their salary have increased earnings of at least $1 million more during their careers than women who don’t.”
- We undermine the value of our work. Non-profits are guilty of this thought process sometimes. People believe that asking for fair monetary remuneration of social work is unacceptable. As a result, non-profit workers are paid less than their corporate counterparts, though both do valuable work. It is also called the charity mindset, where the work hinges on how much money is raised each year. Even consider passion projects or side hustles like music or woodworking. Because we pursue them in our free time, we inherently share it for little or no cost. But does your latest artwork need any less skill than your day job?
- We either over plan finances or avoid it altogether. If we haven’t been socialized into financial planning from a younger age, be it for savings or investments, we grow up to largely avoid these topics. We may not budget our expenses and feel anxious while paying bills or towards the end of the month. The other end of the spectrum – counting our money all the time, pinching pennies, and undercutting our dreams to ensure we have a basic amount at our disposal. Both these come from the same place – fear of not having enough money. So, what does money represent for you, that you’re fearful of not having it?
Uncomfortable as it may feel sometimes, our relationship to money manifests in defining ways. How could you change this relationship, and make it more abundant or freeing? Come back for our next post.