I can’t help but think about money more these days than I’d like. You know, with the economy crashing and all, it’s not hard to get freaked out. It’s like there is this persistent feed of bad news, on 24/7 — at the gym this morning I had to turn off the little TV on my elliptical because the ONLY news anyone was talking about was the economic apocalypse we’re in.
But to be honest with you, I tend to stress about money often, including when the economy is not burning and crashing and when I am making a very nice monthly paycheck.
The easy answer is that this is related to my being an immigrant and going through some really tough times with my parents, living on welfare, paying for food with foods tamps, getting made fun of at school because I only had a few outfits. Being in a place where you don’t have money for a long time makes it difficult to feel like things are going to be OK, even when you start making good money and live comfortably.
Besides the fact that I tend to often stress about money, I’d say I have a fairly OK relationship with it. We manage our money pretty well (with some mistakes along the way, but nothing disastrous), I am a master budgeter, and I think we strike a fine line between living well and living without excess.
I just read this piece in the NY Times about money disorders and found the list of them quite interesting:
“… overspending, underspending (a k a Depression mentality), serial borrowing, financial infidelity (â€œcheatingâ€ on a spouse by spending and lying about it), workaholism, financial incest (lording money over relatives to control them), financial enabling (throwing large sums at, say, adult children who then are not motivated to support themselves), hoarding, and plenty of guilt and shame around poverty and wealth.”
(Any on this list you identify with?)
According to the article, 75% of Americans say money is the number one cause of stress in their lives. This is sad but makes a lot of sense, especially now, when every place you turn - grocery store, gas station, stock market, bank — the news is bad. Even those who are doing OK are stressed out, trying to figure out the best way to protect their money in these chaotic times.
How would you describe your relationship with money? Is it a significant source of stress in your life?