A stranger perusing my library would conclude I’m obsessed with money.

Superficially correct but philosophically untrue. What I am passionate about is learning about money.  What people think about it and why. The reasons some people seem to have an easy relationship around it while others dare not speak its name.

What becomes apparent to the diligent student is that our attitudes to money are formed at a remarkably early age, often based on hand-me-down values inherited from our parents.

The latest addition to my bulging bookshelf is ‘Seven Stages of Money Maturity’, written by George Kinder twenty years ago. Some of the meditation references are a bit New Age for my own taste, but in 63 years I’ve yet to open a book that I couldn’t learn something from. And George has a lot of interesting perspectives on the filthy lucre that we can all benefit from.

One exercise that really got my attention was to truthfully document some of your core beliefs around money and then take a look at the 180 degree opposite viewpoint. Just like a contrarian investor can often beat the mass market, daring to invert your financial beliefs could be the most profitable thing you can do in this age of uncertainty.

Read these examples and then take the trouble to put pen to paper on your own beliefs and their polar opposite:

“A bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush”

  • What you have is worth more than some potential gain you can’t grab hold of
  • But if you stay focused on the present how can you progress in the future?

“A fool and his money are soon parted”

  • If you fall for every new scheme your money won’t last long
  • But you could miss massive opportunities that an open mind would grasp

“All work and no play make Johnny a dull boy”

  • Some of the most rewarding experiences happen outside the workplace
  • But why not make your work as rewarding and fulfilling as art or music?

“Don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched”

  • A prudent approach will protect your nest egg
  • But if you take no risks you rule out all the best investments

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”

  • Diversification has proven to be an effective strategy
  • But the biggest fortunes tend to be made with laser focus

“Money doesn’t grow on trees”

  • Most of us have to work to bring home the bacon
  • But there is plenty to go round in an abundant world

“Money is the root of all evil”

  • Money is often at the root of bad behaviour
  • But it’s greed and ambition that lead to evil, not money itself

“Money isn’t everything”

  • It is only one aspect of a full life
  • But it can nourish or destroy everything else

“Time is money”

  • It’s good to be productive and husband your resources
  • But money used well can buy you time, the scarcest resource of all

There are no right and wrong answers, only truthful ones. As the title of Kinder’s book suggests, there are stages of maturity around money that we need to go through just as we progress through the seasons of life.

Make sure you’re not locked into a value system that was formed in short trousers based on the experiences of a previous generation that lived in a very different world.

Until next time.

Graham

P.S. If you want to meet someone who’s parlayed military success into monetary success you need to be in the room with Floyd Woodrow MBE DCM for our next Boardroom Breakfast on Wednesday 16th October. Click here for details.