Kindle Edition - Free from 6/5 - 6/7.
by Kim Curtis
Publisher Financial Literacy Press
Kindle Edition - Free from 6/5 - 6/7.
Does money make you uneasy? Does the fear of losing money keep you awake? Would you like to be smarter about your money?
Money questions plague all of us at one time or another and penetrate every aspect of our lives.
Money Secrets provides a front row seat to what the financial services industry doesn't want you to know about investing, from an insider who believes you deserve the truth.
A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience.
—OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Let’s start with the obvious: money makes people anxious. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how much money you make. Money questions plague all of us at one time or another and penetrate every aspect of our lives. Do I have enough? Will I have enough? What is enough?
I hear these questions every day in my work as a financial advisor—from parents; newly middle-aged couples questioning how they can support their college-age kids and their elderly parents; from newly divorced women afraid they can’t make it on their own; and from retired couples fearful their nest egg is insufficient.
Added to all this very real anxiety is the shame many people feel around money. They’re ashamed because they don’t know how to manage their money, because they’ve been ignoring their financial life for years, and because money—or the lack thereof—makes them feel inadequate.
I’ve been there. I know what fear, shame, loneliness and inadequacy feel like.
• • •
I grew up in a small, rural farming community in upstate New York, the kind of place where everybody knew everyone. One day when I was fourteen, my parents told my two sisters and me they were getting divorced and my mother would gain full custody. Because my mom had dropped out of school to marry, and because she’d never worked, her job prospects were limited.
Desperate, she took a job at our high school cafeteria. It was the only job that allowed her to have the same schedule as her daughters.
Unfortunately, the money she made wasn’t nearly enough to support us, so she applied for—and received—governmentassisted school lunches. To get the free lunch, I had to hand a red paper ticket to the cashier. I was deeply ashamed of that red ticket and all it meant—that my dad was gone. That my mom couldn’t afford lunches and that we were poor.
I did everything I could to make sure no one would see the cashier putting the red ticket into the till. I’d find the line farthest from my friends. I’d wait until a line was empty. I’d hide the ticket underneath my plate.
That red ticket was a measurement, a standard of comparison. It set me apart at school, made me feel less deserving, and was the beginning of my anxiety around the scarcity of money.
Fortunately, the value of education was ingrained in my psyche. I had watched my mother work hard to obtain her General Education Development (GED) certification, put herself through community college and study to become a successful Realtor®.
Following her example, I put myself through college and then law school. While job hunting, I worked in a luggage store owned by my roommate's family. Since I was under-employed and had never learned to manage money (because we never had any), I defaulted on my school loans, condemning myself to a long period of financial debt and bad credit. The debt strangled my sense of self, immersing me in guilt, doubt and feelings of incompetency. I had obtained a good education. But money?
Money was something other people had—but not me.
What I did have, however, was a friend who believed in me and helped me get on track financially by anonymously making a payment on my student loan. One day, when the bill arrived I noticed my balance had gone down, not up. Confused, I asked family and friends if they knew anyone who had made a payment on my behalf, and the generosity of my dear friend, Joyce Briggs, was revealed.
Her gift made me stop and realize the untrue story I had been telling myself—that money was scarce and I didn’t deserve it. Thanks to her gift, I became conscious of my internal money talk and began to take my desire for money and the anxiety that surrounded it more seriously. Slowly, I began to believe in my ability to earn and manage money and, in the process, the fear, anxiety, inaction, blame and guilt I had around money slowly evaporated. I will be forever grateful to Joyce, whom I now consider my guardian angel. Her belief in my abilities provided an awakening that transformed my relationship with money.
It would be a decade before I started working in the financial services industry, but my early experiences with money taught me something I share with clients: you don’t need a master’s degree in finance or an alphabet of professional designations after your name to understand how to have a satisfying, worry-free relationship with your money. You simply need the willingness and courage to confront your fears, desires, and fantasies around money.
This book is your gift. For whatever reason it landed in your hands, trust it, allow for the journey to unfold. Be open, willing, and courageous … it is time.
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Best-selling author Kim Curtis is a nationally recognized wealth management advisor and speaker. She has been profiled in several publication including the Wall Street Journal.