If I asked you to describe your relationship with money, what would you say? For me, I’d say money and I have been through a lot together. I’ve felt the sacrifice of being a young stay at home mom, where I learned to squeeze a penny so hard it squeaked; I’ve felt the freedom and fear of being a single working mom, with the satisfaction of being the only one spending the money and the anxiety that there wouldn’t be enough to spend; I’ve faced the joys and challenges of blending a family and our finances, and all the complications both fiscal and emotional that come with it; and have sent a variety of our seven collective children to community college, state schools, and private universities (‘nuff said there). As if money and I hadn’t traveled enough complicated roads, starting a business five years ago added a whole new dimension.
One thing I’ve learned through all of it is that none of us, even those of us in the financial profession, do money perfectly. The important thing is to keep moving forward, making those small changes that yield big results over time. Staring down a huge number to save each month to send your kids to college can be disheartening enough to keep you from doing anything at all; working yourself into exhaustion so you can retire early can put you in an early grave. Neither of those is productive. The key to it all is balance. Don’t give up because you don’t think you can accomplish it and don’t become consumed by your goals. Do what you can, challenge yourself to do better, and give yourself a pat on the back for the progress you’ve made. Keep in mind what you’re working for- and if you don’t know, take some time to figure that out. Are you working to give your children a good life? Remember that your presence as they grow is as important as your presents. My wish for you is that you have the tools you need to make the most of the material wealth you have so you can do the most good for those you love and the causes you care about.