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Does Money Circulate Through Your Life In a Meaningful Way?

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Sometimes the questions I use to title my posts are ones that I’m seeking the answers to myself, and this is one of those times. As any good book will get you thinking more about the topic(s) it presents, the one I’m reading now got me thinking about the question above. The book is titled The Soul of Money, by Lynne Twist, and it provides a great perspective on aligning the way you use your money with those things that matter most to you.

We may feel pressured at times (either self-inflicted or by those we know) to contribute to any number of charitable causes. There are moments when we’re flush with cash and are free with our giving, but other times money might be a bit tighter, leading to that feeling of pressure to give. When this situation has presented itself with people I’m coaching, I remind them of the airplane analogy. As the flight attendants say during the pre-flight announcement, “make sure to secure your own oxygen mask before helping others.” Managing our financial situation responsibly (including sometimes saying “no” to requests) means we’re in a better position down the road to make those meaningful contributions when the time is right.

The book likens that topic of cash flow to a river; sometimes it’s raging, and sometimes it’s trickling through a dried-up riverbed. And that is why the word “circulate” is the key. Whether a torrent or a trickle, the key is to keep the river (i.e., money) moving. Just as you shouldn’t give it all away, nor should you hoard it either.

Aside from the river analogy, another key takeaway for me from this book so far is about having a mindset of abundance, not scarcity. Too many people in the world operate with the latter in mind. This mentality leads to income inequality, wars, persecution, and environmental destruction. If we can stockpile enough of whatever it is we’re after, then we’ll be set. Or so the theory goes, until we want more and more of it. The author argues that there is “enough” to go around: enough natural resources, enough money, enough “stuff,” enough whatever, but it has become very unevenly distributed. Now think about your own life. Do you have “enough,” or are you constantly worried that you’ll be left behind in the chase for “more?”

I’ve made mention numerous times in the past about the negative effect social media is having on us. Just this week, USA Today posted this story, which says that 35% of Americans feel pressured to spend more than they can afford because of what they’re seeing on social media. I bet that, if you took a good, hard look (in the mirror and not at your Instagram and Facebook feeds), you just might find that you’re already got “enough” and may not even realize it.

Passing the buck

“The buck stops here” has long been a phrase that implies accountability. President Harry Truman kept a sign with this phrase on it on his desk in the Oval Office as a reminder that the blame game should be avoided. In the context of this post, however, don’t let the buck stop with you. Give your money some soul, some responsibility, some avenues for meaningful impact. Neglecting to do so squashes the benefits that can be amplified when we send it on down the river.

I’m a big believer that money finds its way back to those that have been responsible with, and respectful toward, the money they’ve earned in the past. Handle your money the right way, and there will always be enough of it for you. Dave Ramsey encourages people to live like no one else now, so you can live (and give) like no one else later. Before you know it, you’ll have a river of goodwill built up behind that dam of conscious spending and periodic giving, with all kinds of power to provide a meaningful, lasting impact downstream from you.

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