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Date Night With Your Finances

March 30, 2011

Financial Art 2010Date night with your finances? What’s that supposed to mean?

Just what it says. The phrase “Date Night” evokes thoughts of fun, special, coveted. For many, the phrase “Bill Paying” conjures ugh, drudgery, lack. What would it look like if we felt differently about our finances?

Most of us have it backwards. Its no wonder we think of our finances as drudgery. This is how the majority of us “do our money.”

  • We squeeze the chore between the laundry and washing the dog.
  • We collect our bills; we log in to get our bank balance (and hope that everything has cleared the bank); we pay our bills.
  • We look to see how much is left, and hope there is some.
  • Then, when we’re tired, over it, a little grumpy, and the dog still smells, we make the important decisions. This goes to savings, that goes to debt, and this gets set aside for car repairs.
  • But the dog smells, and company is coming for dinner, so I’ll make those decisions next month.

Would you like to do it differently? Would it be all right if life got easier?

That’s a phrase I learned from Maria Nemeth, a pioneer and visionary in the field of our psychological and emotional attitudes about money. She published “The Energy of Money” in 1997, when few were addressing the important issue of how financial decisions are made.

When it came time for “Telling the Truth” and dealing with my own financial problems, one action I took was Date Night with my finances at my favorite café. Me, my portable financial binder, and my dreams. I coveted those luxurious Saturday nights, not squeezed between laundry and dog-washing (okay, I don’t really have a dog.) I used the time to dream, to look at the truth and to plan. Bill paying happened elsewhere. Each consecutive month, I got a little more clarity, planning became a little easier, and my dreams felt more attainable.

Our money and our financial decisions should not be a chore. Bill paying is a chore. Financial decisions impact our future, our dreams, our peace of mind. They intertwine with who we want to be and who we are. We should have a little fun. We should make it a date night!

Last summer I hosted my first Financial Art ~ An Interactive Art Experience. Hundreds walked through our office courtyard, and a couple hundred picked up crayons, a piece of paper, and an egg timer. In three minutes they drew their financial lives or their financial futures. Then they hoisted their drawings, as Tibetan Prayer Flags are hoisted, as a wish to their future. The cool thing about it was there were couples out on a date talking about their money. Happy, excited, hopeful; the antithesis of drudgery. It was a simple bit of collective fun. Interactive community art. A way to do it a little differently. And a great launch to Date Night with Your Finances.

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