A self-employed consultant looking for help.
He needed money advice, budgeting tips.
He was broke. In debt.
He was, he told me, a failure.
He used that very word,
All because he had no money.
He described himself that way,
Because—he said—he didn’t earn enough.
Looking at his numbers, I—straight off—doubted his assertion.
In the last eight years, not once did he make less than 100 thousand dollars.
Some years he raked in twice that.
Many of you, reading this, will think $100,000 all the money in the world
Others won’t be impressed.
“$100,000,” You’ll say, “Yeesh, is that all?”
It depends on judgement, on position—on perception.
And perception was exactly what influenced this fellow,
And his actions.
No matter what he earned, he always spent more,
A few thousand more.
If he earned $112,000 (as in 2009), he spent $119,000.
If he earned $195,000, he burned $210,000.
Like I said,
Always a few grand more.
Did he do that on purpose? I asked him.
No, he replied, he never noticed.
Which had me wondering
How does a person, without paying attention, manage his expenditures so precisely?
How did he, without noticing, consistently exceed—by an almost constant measure—his income?
I asked him about money.
What it meant to him—what it represented.
He came from, he told me, a poor family—money always an issue.
His parents, he admitted, were financial failures.
Always kowtowing to the money gods.
His words—the money gods.
What about him? I asked,
How did he approach money?
He admitted to being casual about money,
It was obvious, though,
He was more aggressive than that.
He wasn’t casual about money. He was antagonistic.
He had, in fact, a fuck you mentality toward money.
Almost, as if, to prove a point.
What was the point? I asked him.
That he didn’t need money,
That—unlike his parents—he’d never kowtow to the money gods.
He thumbed his nose at it. Ignored it.
He didn’t want it a worry—a topic of everyday frustration (like it had been for his parents).
And he then turned his back on money.
And yet, I said, he thought himself a failure. Why?
Because, he replied, he was broke—didn’t earn enough.
His revenue—I reminded him—was between one and two hundred thousand dollars. Per year.
Was he sure, I asked him, it was his lack of money that branded him a failure?
He shrugged again.
Or, I said.
Was it because he had painted himself—as he had his parents—a failure,
And then set out to prove, each and every year, that it was true?
Don’t you see? I told him,
It’s never about the money.
Ideas? Suggestions? Questions? Please leave a comment.