You might think it's not worth trying to manage your money if you only have small amounts, but in reality, you can’t manage large piles of money until you are able to manage SMALL piles of money. I know some people might think this is self-evident, but this statement reminded me of how getting serious about money management helped me several years ago.
I can remember a time starting out when I wasn’t making very much money, so I just let it all hang out in my checking account. I thought to myself, “There’s nothing here to manage, so why bother? When I start making really good money, THEN I’ll get more organized; I’ll start saving for retirement, setting aside money for an estimated tax fund, have money go regularly to my cash reserve . . . but I don’t need to get serious about money management until I have more money to manage.”
So I didn’t get organized and nothing horrible happened; as my business took off I started making more money. And you know what? I stayed exactly as unorganized with the money as I had always been. Eventually, as I learned more and more as a planner and self-employed business owner; I started to sort out, organize and clarify my own finances, but it took years and many experiences to straighten me out (luckily, most people don’t need to be knocked over the head the way I needed to be).
As a side note, it’s a fallacy to think that because financial advisors deal with people’s finances day in and day out that their OWN financial life is in order. A lot of them have the same attitude I did; they didn’t need to focus on their own finances until they made more money. And the fact that their job is all about money tends to attract people with their own money hang-ups.
My income dipped again when I sold my traditional planning practice. This time, however, I had been properly assimilated into organization and I couldn’t go back. So I still had my tax fund, my cash reserve fund, my retirement savings and small bits of money regularly going into all three. When I finally started to make more money, I still had the practical systems to accommodate it.
The connection I made when I heard the “piles of money” axiom recently was realizing that organizing yourself to manage small piles of money is actually energetically and emotionally preparing you for the larger piles of money. Years ago, I would have taken the statement at face value and understood intellectually, that it was a good idea to be organized. I would have missed the implication that aligns with manifestation principles: that you have to be an energetic match to whatever it is you want to create.
Think about having a baby: you run around for nine months getting every detail PERFECT to receive this little bundle of joy because you know your life will be different and much busier after s/he arrives. You never doubt that s/he is coming and you plan accordingly. You wouldn’t wait until the baby is born and then say, “Wow, I guess I better get the baby stuff organized.” You would never defend your lack of organization by saying, “Hey, it wasn’t here yet so there was no reason to do anything yet.”
Another analogy might be hosting a party . . . you don’t wait for the guest to show up to plan the menu, go shopping and cook the food. You’re supposed to be ready for them when they show up.
The point is, you should look at your financial life with no less anticipation than you would the arrival of something very precious or exciting. Your money should receive a proper welcome, and have a place to live, where it can get settled and make itself comfortable.
If you’re unhappy with the amount of money you’re making, or you think you don’t make enough to “manage” it, get yourself organized. Set up the systems to manage your money NOW, so that you can accommodate a large influx when it happens—and maybe BECAUSE you are ready, it will happen that much sooner.
Mindy Crary (MBA, CFP® practitioner and financial coach at Creative Money) helps you become a lot more educated (never inundated) about not just your money — but the whackjob behind it.