“By 2006, combined personal, corporate and federal debt in the United States had reached 44 trillion dollars – four times the collective national income, or $147,312 for every man, woman and child in the country. By September 2008, the debt of the U.S government had hit $10 trillion; and by November 2011, it was $14.98 trillion.” – Ellen Hodgson.
I am always searching for books that can improve my financial intelligence because money has always been one of the keystone elements of my relationships. When I talk about relationships I mean those with my parents, my child, my partners, my siblings and people that I am connected to in the world of business.
Money has the ability to do magical things, but it can also create pain, anguish and decay. A lack of money when I was younger created resentment and a lack of respect towards my parents. That damaged the potential to have a much more loving relationship. My parent’s relationship is distant because my father has worked abroad for the large majority of his life. He doesn’t do it for the love of the job. He does it because he needs to earn money to pay for the roof that covers the home he never lives in, and provide food for the mouths of his wife and children that he never sees.
As I grew up I became conditioned to act in the same manner as my father. As my role model it was only natural that I would behave in this way. So when I met my first wife I worked hard to earn money just like my Dad. I have memories of my son asking to play with play games, and have fun, and I was always too busy to oblige. I would also spend money that I didn’t have just because I vowed to be different to my parents.
These habits became extremely destructive because they create tension and disappointment in the relationships with those I love. Being burdened with debt is one the most stressful experiences that you will go through in your life. It’s difficult to break away from the worry and concentrate on your relationships. A smile is just fleeting and the lines on your forehead emerge from the once smooth palate.
A fear of money can also result in a raft of poor decisions. Your priorities become jumbled and it can appear that you put your financial security ahead of your relationships. In your reflective moments you know this isn’t true, but how do your loved ones know this? Thinking about the consequence of money, stunts growth, both in yourself and your relationships. It can literally starve the energy needed to allow love to grow.
Fear is a choice. I understand this. I am aware of this. I know that I choose to worry about money and so I can choose to stop worrying. But I am finding the concept a little harder to put into practice. One theory that I have concerns my lack of financial intelligence and over reliance on other people when it comes to the management of my money. If I can become more aware of why the world is in such a state I can then learn to make better decisions regarding my own money. If I retain more control then maybe it will help me to stop worrying?
With that in mind I trawled the Internet for books designed to increase my financial intelligence. My attitude was horrible to begin with. Either the search functionality that provides me with the books that I need is not yet up to par, or there is a very small market for financial books designed to help the working class man, woman or child. There is also a complete lack of books written by British people about the British economy. Almost every book that I find centres on the management of money in the US.
After reading the reviews on Amazon I decided to download The Web of Debt by Ellen Hodgson Brown. Unfortunately, I am regretting that decision. The book is huge and it is written in a style that doesn’t suit my particular reading style. I can imagine it would be a good study aid for an economic student, but I hated school, and one of the reasons was the uninspiring material that we were given to aid in our learning. The Web of Debt just got my mind tangled up in old memories of me trying to decipher pages and pages of text that I just didn’t understand, and was trying to be too cool to ask questions.
It’s a book that takes you back to the beginning of the creation of money and takes you on a journey to modern times. I need my education to be entertaining and this just didn’t reach the high expectations I had for my own experience. The author reveals the state of the US economy and how it managed to create it. Today tangible currency only represents 3% of the total US money supply. The other 97% exists only as data entries on computer screens. The Web of Debt will describe how this was made possible by our banking system.
Like a bad movie I actually stopped reading this book and never got to the finishing line. It was just too deep, intense and complicated for my tastes, whereas Your Money of Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez was a far better fit. It wasn’t designed to give you a history lesson on money, but it did connect with the common man. I guess I made a mistake. I didn’t want a hugely complicated history lesson; instead I wanted the nutshell version followed by some sound advice on how to get to grips with a modern world drowning in debt.
I haven’t given up hope though. I have downloaded The Conspiracy of the Rich by Robert Kiyosaki and will be reviewing that book next week. Having read so much of Kiyosaki’s work I know he has a great method of teaching that connects to me and so I have high hopes.
If your relationships are affected by financial worries, and are looking for a literal aid, then this is not going to be the book for you. However, if economics is a passion and you are studying the subject in college or university then it may be worth a dabble.
Have you read a book on finances that has changed your life? If so please share your experience with the readers.