father and son looking out from an infinity horizon pool together

Have a Philosophy for Your Money — and why you're better off with one

Life should always be about something bigger than money

Life and business intersect and it's near impossible to successfully separate - and keep separate - these two seemingly opposite, and often opposing pursuits.

So where do we begin?

“Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…” Julie Andrews sang Rodgers and Hammerstein’s famous line in The Sound of Music. And that’s good advice.

What does 'Money mean to you?'

This can be a conversation stopper at a BBQ with friends and a surefire way to end a conversation at a business networking event. Old-school ideas about money and privacy overlap to the point that asking about money is considered by some Australians, rude. 

Ask a parent, would you prefer to talk with their teenager about sex or money and we all know the preferred answer – sex.

This same conversation asked by a financial advisor like myself elicits a range of responses from blank looks to all-knowing-smiles of similarity and shared ideas.

Whatever your answer to the question, it's fair to say that money matters today, need to be taken more seriously.

  • Relationships Australia repeatedly reports findings that Money is the #1 Reason for arguments in relationships
  • Many older women repeatedly cite being isolated from money conversations while they were growing up and told, 'such matters would be managed by their future husbands'
  • No conversation today about money is complete without a conversation about cultural expectations, enforced gender and social roles, family expectations, 'inheritance impatience' (an entitlement blight), and growing elder financial abuse.

For a country that says they don't like talking about its money, it seems there is a growing list of reasons why we should challenge this assumption and evolve our thinking so we can become better versions of ourselves.

Sapience is all about beginning helpful money conversations, normalising the questions, and focusing on the practicalities of 'How'.

You could say we are 'money positive' financial advisers and believe life and business is better with more of it and putting it to use to create more freedom and happiness, rather than following an aimless path to being the richest person in the graveyard.

The good news is our evolutionary drive to protect and provide helps us plan and face our uncertain futures

We see money as a resource to be managed and enjoyed. How different individuals see it is often usually tied to the employment structure of their occupations.

A self-employed business person has reason to see their money differently.

For our self-employed small business owners, the question 'what does money mean to you', is often a more complex answer because intermittent cash flow and managing external challenges go hand in hand with the answer. Small business owners usually cite they're having to constantly keep on top of their cash flow, (there are so many books about this pesky phenome) having to constantly chase it, protect it and manage it, and make decisions where it is best put to use – and that's often a very personal value judgment.

Nothing stops a business like stopping its cash flow.

While our 'employed working' cousins see their money stream differently (or perhaps more accurately the predictability of its arrival – even on sick days and holidays) they still have to manage the very real risk of a sickness or injury stopping them from being able to continue to earn their income.

Nothing feels as good as a regular paycheck.

Relationships with Money and Risks

Not having a view about your own money, how you make it, where you keep it, how to protect your ability to continue making it, and decisions about whether to grow it or how to spend it – make you vulnerable.

It's not about the amounts, but the mindset

Giving people either only big-picture advice or practical day-to-day advice seems incomplete without also showing the connection between them.

When talking about managing life and wealth, quick-for-an-argument people will fain offense and want to hijack the conversation blaming all their internal woes on externals of rampant capitalism, work poverty and (insert whatever is the current distraction here).

That's a conversation we'd be happy to participate in – later, but if we're looking at the smaller picture today of what people need to do today to make a more secure tomorrow, perhaps rather than talking about the amounts, we can talk about the processes, the values, and the new habits to learn to put it all to use.

Having a plan for your Money

What gets in the way? Life and lots of other things.

  • The major ones we see include – rushed decisions, a history of secrecy about money matters, cultural expectations overtaking good sense, and inherited unquestioned parental money mindsets that morph into problematic 'moneyisms'. 

We all have needs to manage

The Missing Maslow

You don't have to go far before you find a reference to Abrahams Maslow's 1942 Hierarchy of Human Needs framework expressed as a triangle ranking (and stacking) the priority of human needs. While this can appear to be an essential part of every uni-student Arts degree or entry-level business PowerPoint from the marketing department hoping to impress, the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs framework is a useful way to begin to understand how humans prioritise and rank in the level of importance, and their needs.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is an idea in psychology proposed by American psychologist Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation" in the journal Psychological Review.

It's time to build a plan (and a money philosophy) for you and your Loved Ones

We all need a backup plan in case life (and business) don't work out quite the way we hoped they would.

The good news is our desire to Protect and Provide is evolutionary and hard wired into our natures.

When it comes to creating our backup Plan B for ourselves and our families, most people are not as Darwinian in their thinking as we've been led to believe.

We're empathetic and caring creatures who will gladly sacrifice for the well-being of others, often in anonymity. The truth is we are not only interested in our own survival; we're interested in the survival of others. Especially those who have not been given the opportunities we enjoy.

No matter who we meet, their lifestyle, their business, their politics (or their favorite sports team) everyone I meet wants to take care of their families, remain or get healthy, be generous to others, enjoy their hobbies, and excel at their work.

Where to from here?

Having a plan for your money is not a one-time effort. More than a simple destination, it's more a true north star we try to head towards, making corrections as needed as life and business push us off course.

Like all things of value, expect it to take time but the processes build upon each other and the connections to the bigger financial picture become apparent in the small steps we make to make a plan for our money.

So if you're wanting to create a plan for your money, we believe its starts with understanding how to protect the earning capacity you already have and protect the reason (and motivations) for your money journey, and who you are providing for.

At Sapience, we're all about The How.

Source:
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is an idea in psychology proposed by American psychologist Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation" in the journal Psychological Review.

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