My Most Intimate Relationship Exposed…My Relationship with Money

May 24, 2012 at 7:55 pm (Letting go, LoVe, simple frugality)

I recently read a book by a woman who lost everything to Bernie Madoff. By everything I mean almost a million dollars. I have lost a sizeable amount of money over the past three years to the stock market and assisting a family member with some hefty legal fees and costs. During this time I thought I had my relationship to money all buttoned up but her book made me realize where I still have some issues.

The financial help I offered family was freely given whether or not it was entirely a good idea. That was something I do not regret. I realize I got that place because I did not help a loved one a few years prior when I actually had more money and could have really helped with education and other expenses. I worked long and hard to be debt free so that when I divorced my husband we would each walk away with some cash, stocks a nice paid for car each and whatever household stuff each wanted. He wanted most of it and I was relieved to downscale.  I was able to afford four years of college including a study abroad at a private university in France all while taking weekend vacations to villages and to cities throughout the six months I lived there. I was able to support our teenage son and send him to college as well although he did not finish…yet. For the first time since I was a teenager at home I felt safe, secure, free and untethered by debt….although I frequently checked my account balances. So maybe I still had a bit of fear that it would run out?…it did. Am I any different now? No, not really. I finished my education for now and am almost debt free again. Having some of my money would make it easier to travel and visit friends on a whim but, currently I have plenty to do right here.

So what I realized is that money has NOTHING to do with freedom or happiness after meeting the basic needs. Everything beyond that is all in our heads. I have wanted to take real sailing lessons for many years and have managed to wrangle up deals, borrow boats, join a club that gives HUGE discounts to members and am getting my certification. I am window shopping for boats right now to see what I can get for what price. Do I want trailer-able or is having it already in the marina more my style even though it costs more monthly? I don’t yet know the answers to these questions but, as I take lessons from different schools and sail on different boats I am getting a better feel for what I will want when the time comes. In the meantime I focus on being a better sailor and paying off my past while living in the present.

The book is Lost and Found by Geneen Roth and I highly recommend reading it if you would like a happier relationship with money and yourself.

During this time I was in a relationship with a very adoring loving man who partially supported me. His generosity was unrivaled by anyone I had ever known.

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1 Comment

  1. Asta Lander said,

    Ellen, it sounds like a good read. We are on the brink of reducing our income so that we can live true to our values. This moment is exciting, and frightening and oddly joyful – certainly counter cultural, and I love it! – Asta x

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