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Throughout life, I’ve had many a relationship with money. Not so dissimilar to human relationships. With money, I’ve shared ups and downs. Sometimes it has ended in glee, other times in great sorrow.
The wonder years
I remember the blissful feeling that came with spending a dollar on a pack of Upper Deck baseball cards. As I chewed the stale pink bubble gum and flipped through the fresh deck, my heart was content.
Thinking about those days, I’m reminded of that classic scene from The Wonder Years, where Kevin shares his first kiss with Winnie, to the tune of “When a man loves a woman.” My relationship with money was ignorant, simple, and pure, like a first kiss.
Carefree no longer
Soon, I had to learn responsibility. How to be entrusted with money. I cursed the day my parents stopped giving me money without my having earned it with sweat from my brow.
No longer were the days of carefree splendor. I still wanted that bubble gum, but having to work for it redefined my relationship with money. I valued everything a bit differently, with more respect.
Eventually, I stopped buying childish things, like baseball cards. Instead, I fancied a fiery red two-door with a sunroof and other lustrous things.
I logged long hours at work and paid no attention to where my money went. I knew my relationship was deteriorating because, at times, I couldn’t even look at my bank account, afraid of what I might see.
Credit is a harsh mistress
Then there was another, in the picture, something resembling that carefree youth I missed so badly, credit cards. I used them without one thought of how it would affect my relationship with money. They were easy, fun, and made me feel alive again.
Of course, those credit cards left me high and dry, in the end. It took me years to recover from that sting. I wised up, but it was slow going to repair my relationship with money, to rebuild trust.
I became overly protective, reacting to every little indecency. I was ruled by shame. My ego bruised, I felt inadequate. It was hard to save money during that time, each time I tried, I was reminded of my failures.
Learning from hardship
Eventually, I did get my feet back on solid ground and was able to repair my self-esteem. It took a lot of work, a lot of long looks in the mirror.
I think it’s safe to say that my relationship with money has matured. It’s less volatile now than ever. It takes a consistent dose of vigilance, patience, and persistence. But, it feels good, healthy.
Personally, I cannot wait to see how my relationship will grow. What it will become, with enough care. And, just like with any relationship, I suspect hardships along the way.
I believe that every person deserves to have a strong and healthy relationship with money. How do you see your relationship today?
Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to encourage any lifestyle changes without careful consideration and consultation with a qualified professional. This article is for reference purposes only, is generic in nature, is not intended as individual advice and is not financial or legal advice.