Therapist: Why don’t you start telling me a bit about why you are here today?
Money: I just don’t get it. I try really hard to live my best life but I keep making people miserable. It's like I know what my job is and I do it, and I try to help people get what they need. But all I seem to do is make them feel inadequate and sad.
Therapist, nodding understandingly: Mmmmmm.
Money: I keep asking myself – is it me? Have I done enough? But what more can I do? It's not like I haven’t moved with the times right? They had a problem with the gold standard and I was like, sure, leave it. Whatever. I have reinvented myself so many times in a million big and small ways, as stocks, as shares, as the Euro (not my finest moment but we live and learn), as futures, even as a freaking derivative! I’ve gone digital and even mobile but nothing I do seems to be enough. I am not sure I should even be in this job anymore. I’m feeling so lost.
Therapist with more reassuring and concerned nodding: Mmmmmmmm. And if you could imagine it differently, what would it look like?
Money is silent for a long time. She inhales and tries to imagine a world where she doesn’t feel quite so lost.
After a long, measured, yoga-trained exhale she speaks: It would be less fraught. People would be in control of me – not me of them. I would be a tool for getting things rather than the object of desire myself. It would be practical and easy and fun. And people would live their lives regardless of how much or how little they had. I know it’s crazy… but I can dream right?
Are we hopeless when it comes to our finances?
I think one of the biggest problems I have with money is that I don’t see it as a tool that I can use, but the other way around. I see myself as weak, and it as strong. I need to train myself in using money as a tool to live my life. If I don't, I will be miserable and Money will continue her weekly visits to her nodding, understanding therapist.
The good news is that I am not alone. Most South Africans are barely making ends meet right now. It's crazy when you think of all the information that's thrown in our faces about debt management, drawing up a budget, saving and investing.
In spite of this, the average South African household is carrying around R60 000 in credit card debt, overdrafts and store card debt, R30 000 in personal loans, R142 000 in Car Loans and R746 000 in home loans. Seriously. What are we doing wrong?
I've hunted down a bunch of services to help me – and maybe even you – to work out my relationship with money:
An online money management service to help people do more with the money they have. You can sign up for a free one-month trial here.
A free, online, personal financial management platform. Shift financial control today. You can create a profile here.
You Need a Budget:
Software that promises to teach you Four Rules to help you stop living paycheck to paycheck, get out of debt, and save more money faster. You can download a free trial of the software here.
Simple Home Budget: Software based money manager for homes, freelancers and small business owners. It manages your finances in simple, fast and effective way. Download a free trial here.
Smart phone app
Expense tracking which allows you to keep in line with your budget when you're on the go. You can find it in your smart phone's app store.
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