What I believe about money

I believe:

…that money was designed to work for human beings, rather than the other way around.

And I mean that in terms of the actual historical context of money’s origins, not in the capitalist, our-money-should-earn-money, passive-income sense. My own relationships with money and work are constantly evolving. There’s always more to learn, and I love experimenting with new ways to bring the various aspects of my economic life into better alignment with my ethics and values. Since 2003 I’ve also had the honor of professionally supporting people as they navigate their own relationships with money, values, work, and often, social entrepreneurship. May the practice of sharing through this website contribute to more curiosity, awareness, and openness, for myself and others.

…that making conscious decisions about WHY and HOW we use money is more important than HOW MUCH we earn, or spend, or accumulate.

Of course these things can be related. I try not to judge anyone (myself included) for where we started or the choices we make. I also try to remember that we’re all working with different conditions, and that those conditions are changing all the time. Meanwhile, it’s hard enough to understand our own conditions, much less anyone else’s! Which is another way of saying: just because something worked for me or anyone else, doesn’t mean it will necessarily be a good fit for you, and it might not even make sense for me or that other person two weeks / months / years from now.

…that capitalism, colonialism, globalization, white supremacy, the patriarchy, gender-and hetero-normativity, ableism, and lots of other interrelated systems and attitudes are problematic.

Some people have a lot more opportunity to earn or spend or accumulate or give compared to others, whether or not we choose to… often as a result of things beyond our control, such as the color of our skin, or our gender, or what type of financial situation we were born into. I’m doing my best to learn more about how these forces shape just about everything in my experience. Sometimes these factors work against me. And in many other ways I benefit from them. None of this is my fault, AND I’m trying to figure out how I can feed these problematic systems as little as possible… while doing everything I can do cultivate and encourage the type of world that I DO want to live in. It’s a humbling work in progress.

…that most people feel some combination of alone / confused / shameful when it comes to money

Here’s a scene from my own money history: I had just arrived in my new dorm at the beginning of university in Canada. Everyone on my floor was organized into a circle so we could share where we came from. Calgary, Russia, Vancouver, Toronto, Pakistan, Montreal, Bermuda, India, Halifax… When I said, “Marin County, California,” the guy from Russia (who would later beat the rest of us at chess while literally blindfolded) blurted out, “Oh! Marin! The wealthiest county in America!” I felt I might die of shame. Not only because now I was permanently branded as The Rich Girl, but also because it had never even occurred to me that this might be true.

…that talking more openly about how money does or doesn’t work in our lives will help us support each other as we figure it all out

My parents came from wildly different class backgrounds, and I absorbed a confusing mix of messages about money growing up. It was made very clear, however, that talking about our family’s wealth was bad. While I trust that there were good intentions behind this message (see below), I now understand that not talking about money is one of the things that keeps our lives AND the bigger systems stuck. I think I’m doing a much better job now of living according to my own values rather than anyone else’s. Part of that is choosing to fight back against the taboo of talking about money, and talking about it whenever I can. And I respect people’s choices to keep their experiences private, too.

…that we’re all doing the best we can with whatever knowledge, energy, and resources we have.

That includes me, you, and everyone around us. May what I share here remind you that there are so many ways to approach Right Livelihood.

What do YOU believe about money, work, or making a living?

If you are are willing to share, please let me know 🙂

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