by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© June 2014, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
The next few years may be a time of transition in which old financial structures collapse as better ones are put in their place. Overall, the changes will be wonderful. However, the transition may be difficult for those who are not prepared.
How can a person prepare for these changes to live securely and comfortably?
WHAT IS MONEY?
Money is a storehouse of value and a convenient medium of exchange. Money allows people to compare values and place a relative value on items as diverse as a concert, a race horse, computer software or a doctor visit.
Money is absolutely needed in a complex society. It helps people make choices because time and physical resources are limited. What people will pay for determines what food is grown, what things are manufactured, and what services are offered.
Many things have been used as money from seashells to hemp in early America. Cigarettes served as money at the end of World War II in Germany, when the German money became worthless. Cigarettes were mostly brought in by US servicemen, and served quite well.
Gold and silver coins have been used around the world as money for thousands of years. They work fairly well because they are easily identifiable, durable and hard to fake.
Paper money and checks are more recent inventions, followed by electronic money in the form of credit cards and electronic systems such as Paypal. These are much easier to manipulate by the government, which is what is going on today in many nations.
ATTITUDES THAT BLOCK RECEIVING MONEY
Identifying negative attitudes about money is most helpful. Also helpful is to realize that money follows certain laws, which, if obeyed, contribute to success in this area. If you are having any difficulty in the area of money or finances, check to see if you hold any of the following common negative attitudes about money.
Poor Attitude #1. Money is a bad thing. This is a common attitude today. The opposite attitude is that I respect and appreciate money, and take responsibility for learning about it.
Taking responsibility for money is not the same as attachment to it. Many poor people are very attached to money. Maturing your attitude about money involves letting go of attachment, but taking on the responsibility of a wise steward. If you are not willing to learn about money, respect it, love it, embrace it and understand the best way to invest it, you probably won’t have it for very long.
Poor Attitude #2. I do not deserve financial success. This attitude may be rooted in guilt, or an inability to receive goodness into your life. The opposite attitude is that I deserve and am open to receiving all good things into my life.
Poor Attitude #3. Being spiritual or being a wonderful person and having money do not mix. Implied here is that only selfish and greedy people have money. The Bible is often quoted that “it is harder for a man with money to reach the kingdom of heaven than to pass through the eye of a needle”.
This is not true and is a mistranslation. Some great people in the Bible were wealthy. They include Abraham, founder of the Hebrews, and Joseph of Aramathea, a close friend of Jesus, and a very righteous man.
This attitude may also be due to a false pride, that you are a better person when you have to scrounge for money. It allows you to judge others and feel superior to them.
Its opposite is that money is a gift from God. It is true money can get in the way of spirituality, but so can poverty.
Poor Attitude #4. I am ignorant about money, and people who are selfish and scheming will always take advantage of me, so there is no use trying to have money. Underlying this attitude is the victim mentality and hopelessness.
Just because others have studied money longer than you, is no reason to give up.
Poor Attitude #5. There is not enough money to go around, and I feel sorry for the poor, so I will remain poor to be in sympathy with them. Underlying this thought is a belief in scarcity.
R. Buckminster Fuller proved years ago there is plenty to go around. He showed that wealth consists of the 103 elements and the knowledge of what to do with them. Since the amount of the elements is fixed and the knowledge of how to use them is increasing, wealth is increasing all the time.
Abundance is the true state. The only reasons one does not experience it are their beliefs and the expressions of those beliefs, including our banking system that takes advantage of the people.
Poor Attitude #6. Money is the root of all evil. This is a misquote from the Bible. The actual quote is “the love of money is the root of all evil”. A better translation is probably that the love of the material or physical world, represented by a love of money and what money can buy, is the root of all evil.
Notice any of these negative thoughts without resenting them. Begin to replace them with the opposite thoughts.
THE LAWS OF MONEY
Money has basic rules, just like gardening or any other activity. Learning the rules and following them closely creates much success in this area. Here are some basics:
Income must exceed expenditures. Many people spend beyond their means. There is no shame in living a simple life. In fact, it is essential to leave room in your life for healing, for creative endeavors, and for spiritual development.
The Law of Compound Interest. Money grows much faster if you save and reinvest the interest. Reinvesting the interest is called compounding. For example, earning one percent per month simple interest on $1000 means you receive $10 every month. At that rate, it takes over 40 years to earn $5000.
However, if you allow the earnings to grow instead of spending them, in the first month you receive $10. However, the following month you would receive interest on $1010, or $l0.10. With compound interest, it takes less than half as long to have $5000. This is a very important principle of investing money. It is also the reason why a mortgage or a loan can increase the cost of a house or car several fold.
The Law of Supply and Demand. This basically states that the greater the demand for a good or service, the higher its price will become. The greater the supply, the lower the price will be. For example, air is everywhere so its price is 0. Diamonds are rare so their price is high.
In practical terms, this means that if you can find a ‘niche’ that is a demand that is not being fulfilled by others, you can do very well. Be creative, as it can be anything. This is what entrepreneurs do the best. They find a demand for a product or service and fill it. It is about providing value for people.
Be of True Service and High Integrity. Many people make money as parasites and cheaters. However, earning money usually has to do with providing quality goods or services at fair prices and doing it with consistency and integrity. One must provide real value. Some businesses tell their employees to go the extra mile and give people even more than they have to.
If your business or job is not going well, be sure you are doing your best to give service with integrity, and to provide real value. It is also necessary to be very practical. A service you think is excellent may not be perceived that way by others.
Parasites, by the way, usually exist due to artificial demand or artificial suppression of demand due to licensing laws, tax schemes, or government subsidies for certain kinds of work or services. Without these laws, most people would be much better off than they are today. This is not cynicism, but just the truth.
The Law of Chance. Instead of investing their money, many people play the lottery or visit gambling casinos. Here one comes under the law of chance. This law is no less rigid and mathematically defines the odds of your winning. The odds are very poor!
The large gambling operations in America and elsewhere are generally run by organized crime groups such as the mafia. This is not an accident. They make a lot of money easily this way. Today, in America, the state governments run lotteries. This is not wise, no matter how much money they earn – which is a lot.
TIPS FOR FINANCIAL WELLBEING
1. Simplify Your Life. Most people buy things they do not need and in many ways spend money unwisely. This depletes resources and creates extra stress.
It also wastes a huge amount of most people’s time between shopping, learning about all the latest clothes or electronic gadgets, returning some to the store, and then playing with the all the toys you have bought until you are bored with them.
It is easy to become caught up in a materialistic lifestyle that does not serve one’s highest and greatest good. We are spiritual beings first. ‘Stuff’, beyond the basics, is not required or helpful.
Many people, if they are honest, are using things, services, trips and other expenditures to compensate for their lack of joy or excitement in living.
Notice if you are doing this. Work on identifying ways you waste money. Keeping track of expenses and reviewing the record periodically can be excellent for this.
2. Get out of most debt. Debt, in general, adds stress to one’s life. Interest payments that make the items bought on credit much more costly.
An exception is a home mortgage and perhaps a car or student loan. However, I do not recommend going to college if it will leave you with large debts. It is not worth it, in most cases.
3. Buy some gold, silver or other tangible items of value. Having some liquid cash is also good. These are safety measures in case a financial upheaval occurs and may be good investments as well.
4. Invest in Yourself. Here is what this means:
A. Invest in your health. This does not mean hang around doctors. It means begin a nutritional balancing program. If you cannot afford a complete program, then begin the “free” program today. HEALTH IS WEALTH.
Having and keeping your health means you will be able to hold a job. That is very important. It is not easy to stay healthy in our polluted world. Be careful of holistic doctors.
B. Learn useful skills. They can involve computers, be manual skills, people skills such as management, or others. This will assure you will always have employment, even if it is not your ideal job.
C. Invest in your creativity if you can. This means to notice if you have interest and talent in an area – writing, handling animals, fixing cars, computers, or anything else. Then develop this talent and skill. Also, learn how to bring it to market or share it with others.
This way you will bring forth new ideas, new services and new products that people will benefit from, and you will benefit as well.
5. Be extremely cautious with all investments. Most investments are no good. Investment is an area where low integrity abounds.
The best investment is usually a home to live in. Poor investments include fancy cars, fancy clothes, and most money offers that come through the mail or the internet.
Beware of people offering you high rates of return on investments, stock deals, and everything else.
6. If possible, set up your own business. The general formula for doing this is: Find some kind of work in society that needs to be done, and do it your way.
Be sure it is something you believe it. It can be anything at all that people need. If you are honest and responsible, people will request you and will not just go to the next vendor for their needs.
7. Totally avoid easy credit unless you are very well-disciplined and know you can pay everything off.
8. Use common sense and above all be practical. Making and keeping money is often a very down-to-earth activity. If something you are doing is not working out, make some changes so you respond to people’s needs. Money concerns can be a great discipline in this sense.
9. Use care in donating your money to the needy, to charities or friends. Often giving comes from an ego feeling that you can fix others, or a need to be loved in return. Why some people are poor is very complex. Learning to give money wisely is an entire skill in itself. Also, always include yourself in the circle of your giving.
10. Be careful financially when you enter a personal relationship. It is unfortunate to have to say this, but many people are cheated by their husbands, wives, and even friends.
Here are two approaches to this problem:
Approach #1. The Christian marriage approach. The churches teach that one should get to know the other person very well – for at least a year or two – before marriage and before having sex or getting too involved with anyone. Be sure you share the same values, and that the person has high integrity. Get to know the person’s family, friends, relatives and others before you decide to enter a serious relationship with the person.
Then, when you get married, share everything including bank accounts and all financial resources. They say it tends to help a couple understand that they are now one, and it can help strengthen a marriage.
2. Approach #2. Keep everything separate. This is often the advice of financial planners today. They know that many people will not take the time to get to know their partner well, and that some people are very selfish and mean.
Therefore, they recommend that the man and the woman keep their financial assets completely separate. It gives the woman more stability and safety, and it often works well.
Which of these approaches you choose depends on how you view relationships, and how well you are willing to get to know another before entering a serious relationship. The Christian approach is best, I believe.
1. Fuller, R.B., Ideas and Integrities, Collier Books, 1963. and his other books. Fuller has a superb attitude and proof about the abundant nature of our world.
2. Griffin, G.E. , The Creature From Jekyll Island, American Media, 1998. This book is excellent for understanding our banking and money system. There are also many excellent, practical books about money management in bookstores.
3. There are many good books about money. Beware, however, of many “new age” books that tell you that all you must do is “think rich” and affirm that you have money and you will be fine. You must still always use common sense with money at all times or you will lose what you have and will never accumulate any more.