Frey Freyday – Money

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff..)

Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.- Ayn Rand

Wealth is the ability to fully experience life. –Henry David Thoreau

WORD TO LIVE BY:

 mon·ey – [ˈmənē] – a medium that can be exchanged for goods and services and is used as a measure of their values on the market,including among its forms a commodity such as gold, an officially issued coin or note, or a deposit in a checkingaccount or other readily liquefiable account.

No matter what our career or place in life is, no matter what our life’s mission or purpose is, we need to master money at least on some level. Put simply, we must spend less than we earn, save at least a little for the future and plan for the future. We all know this, right?

Money can do great things in communities, charities, and in lives. It can also be the number one reason why marriages break up. I believe it is simply how we think about and talk about money – and yes, it needs to be discussed more often.

Before anyone does a financial plan, a budget, or whatever, I suggest that it may help to first understand some things and ask some questions….Why is it hard for many of us to save for the future (or invest)? Why does money make us behave in all sorts of weird ways?

From a Ted Talk by LAURIE SANTOS  “…..we’re the smartest thing out there. Why can’t we figure this out? In some sense, where do our mistakes really come from? And having thought about this a little bit, I have seen a couple different possibilities. One possibility is, in some sense, it’s not really our fault. Because we’re a smart species, we can actually create all kinds of environments that are super, super accommodated, sometimes too complicated for us to even actually understand, even though we’ve actually created them.”

So, Ms. Santos, and other scientists, has performed experiments on people and on monkeys. As we all know, sometimes people make bad, irrational decisions about money. Illogical, fearful, selfish, wasteful, impulsive, among other things. Guess what? Monkeys act in a very similar manner. Scientists gave monkeys coins and had them ‘pay’ for grapes. They gave them different scenarios, and like humans, they behaved irrationally in similar circumstances.

The one thing you can learn from scientists’s work, is that whatever strategies we’re using for money, especially those strategies that we share with monkeys, those kinds of strategies can’t be built in for money per se. They’re not for markets or for credit cards. They’re just strategies that we had sitting around in our primate brain that we’re adapting to money. And that might mean that they lead us astray.

Whether you’re looking at the dessert cart and you’re trying to avoid the temptation, or you see something that you want to buy NOW and you also want to save up for something in the FUTURE, you’re going to probably buy it NOW. If you’re seeing your stocks go down or you see losses on an investment or any financial transaction that generates fear or loss, you’re not going to be able to see that in anything but old evolutionary terms.

So what do we do? How do we overcome? Again, like Ms. Santos, the Ted speaker mentioned, “humans are not only smart, we’re really inspirationally smart to the rest of the animals in the biological kingdom. We’re so good at overcoming our biological limitations.”

In other words, we can’t fly to anywhere – but we invented machines that can fly us. Many of us have poor eyesight, yet we invented glasses, contacts and surgery to change our eyesight so that we can see. We, as a species, have invented technologies, machines and strategies to overcome our biology.

The irony is that it might only be in recognizing our limitations that we can really actually overcome them. The hope is that we all will think about our limitations, not necessarily as un-overcome-able, but to recognize them, accept them, and then use the world of design to actually figure them out.

Likewise, we can do so with money. A simple step is to make it automatic. Set up auto withdrawals so that you really don’t ‘see’ the money, it just automatically goes into savings. We can set up a financial plan with emotions in mind so that we can ‘protect our plan’ better. Use technologies, strategies, and rational methods to help you save, spend, and invest.

A few other quick thoughts:

  1. Languages that don’t have a future tense, such as Chinese, the Scandinavians and the Japanese, strongly correlate with higher savings.- this refers to the future using verb helpers like “will” and “shall,” while others don’t have specific verbs to refer to future actions.
  2. Can money buy happiness? In many ways, yes – money can buy happiness — especially when you don’t spend it on yourself. The key is social spending that benefits not just you, but other people.

We have to make it automatic and take out the impulses and emotions. We have to educate ourselves more, we have to change our vocabulary, perspective and long term thinking if we want to save for the future.

Frey Freyday was actually born out of something I created called “Words To Live By” (WTLB). Going forward, I will now not only share the quotes, as you may be used to receiving, but also a related (WTLB). In 1999, when we had our first daughter, I was contemplating how I would raise my new beautiful child, and I was thinking about how I can best educate her and my other children about values, morals, and other key thoughts about life. School offers education. Religion offers some values and morals. Parents offer most of it, sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally.
So I created a (WTLB) book, like a dictionary, which lists things like honesty, love, persistence, etc. with a definition that I created, with my wife’s input. I then turned it into a workbook with one word per page and space below for notes. For years we would discuss with my two daughters and they would draw pictures and make notes in the blank space. I may share some of those images with you. As they got older, they were less inclined to draw and more open to quotes and references from adults, hence where Frey Freyday came from..

 

BONUS

Ted Talk #1- Are We Wired To Be Bad With Money?

http://www.npr.org/2014/04/04/295349615/are-we-wired-to-be-bad-with-money

Ted Talk #2 – Could Your Language Affect Your Ability To Save Money?

http://www.npr.org/2014/04/04/295356139/could-your-language-affect-your-ability-to-save-money

Ted Talk #3 – Can Money Buy You Happiness?

http://www.npr.org/2014/04/04/297888687/can-money-buy-you-happiness

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