Money Matters

We have seen a huge swell in the need for healing in the past few weeks, and we get it. I see the legitimate confusion and panic about a troubling spike in hate crimes, worry about loved ones or schoolmates being deported, and the deep disappointment in our democratic process many are feeling.

Money has been on my mind this week.  The last time we had a President of the United States without experience in elected office, the military, or as a legislator AND one party with majority control of all three branches of government was in 1928/1929. Within eight months of Hoover being sworn into office, the stock market crashed, and the US entered the Great Depression.

Yikes.

Am I looking at my portfolio and biting my nails? Heck. No. I used Spencer Sherman's workbook, The Cure for Money Madness, a couple years ago, and I was (mostly) cured of my money anxiety and the urge to make financial moves based on scary news and speculation.

After reading Spencer's book, I was able to look at my money without the baggage of shame or the emotional power that money had come to represent for me. I was no longer afraid to take off my blinders and really see what was going on with my money. Since then, I have also watched several wonderful films like Inside Job, Inequality for All, Boom Bust Boom, and The Long Short. And, I still feel pretty sane.

I came by my views on money honestly, the way we all do: growing up around adults who had inherited their own money madness. Is there a way to pass on my newly found money sanity to the kids in my life?

When I was introduced to Ron Lieber at an event, I was really impressed with his practical strategies for helping kids learn to work with money. He likes to use three big categories: give, save, and spend. I asked him about a category for investing. This, for him, is like teaching kids to gamble. 

I never liked to gamble with real money, not even pennies. I'm more of a crockpot investor. So, before I move my money into lower risk investments, I have to ask myself What am I betting on? In one scene from The Big Short this really came home for me. Brad Pitt's character admonishes the young investors who just won big on the real estate crash of 2008 to consider the implications their celebratory tone. They just won a bet against the American Dream.

Here is another thing I learned from Spencer: invest in the future you want to see. Investing in causes and companies I care about is better than a Kickstarter because when I get my money back, I can do good all over again. Our money can be the change. This is also one of my most treasured puns, and that makes me happy. Right now, my bet is that you're smiling.


These books and other timely titles on anxiety for adults and kids are available for purchase on our bookshelf.