Amy: Money. Money, money, money. I don’t know how I feel about money. It is a necessary evil. I wish I didn’t need it or need to make sure I have enough of it for now and for the future. As a 30 something making her way in the world, I am just beginning to really think about the money I need for my future and whether I have or will have enough money to support a child or my parents in the future. I have begun to really appreciate my parents’ ability to make what money they have made in their lifetime go a long, long way in educating myself and my brother and caring for themselves in retirement.
Jenee: I also come from a family in which both my parents came from nothing and have created something. I know that I need to save for retirement, graduate school, emergency funds, rainy days and what ever else presents itself. Like Amy it worries me because I want to be able to take care of my parents like they have so generously been able to care for me.
Amy: Money is for saving, spending, and sharing. It’s for saving for the future and for a rainy day. But also for spending on things that communicate to yourself that you value yourself. Yoga, massage, acupuncture, a yummy meal, a favorite sweater that makes you smile whenever you wear it, a gift for a child, these are the things that money can be spent on that gives back. Money is also for sharing. I struggle with this and have guilt around the choices I make with sharing. I don’t have that much to share and know that I either have to pick one organization to share with or not really be able to make a meaningful contribution anywhere.
Jenee: Well at this point in my life I have very little money…I do however understand the negative emotions attached with the need for money. Honestly I don’t even think it’s the need for money but the desire for the ability to take care. I like paying for dinner when I go out with my friends, or being able to buy that perfect present, or donating to my church, ASPCA, or NPR. I like having the ability to share it…feeling that you may be making someone else life a little easier. I don’t know maybe it’s just a twisted American way of showing someone that you care.
Donna: I also think absolutely, YES, we should share it. Nothing has ever driven this point home to me more than becoming an active member of the arts community-specifically the theatre community— in which we always seem to be always scrapping around for money for productions. Money does make the world go around so we MUST support groups, events and causes we believe in with both our presence and our financial donations whenever we can. This is a side note about money that I really want to pass on. A woman who used to own one of the cosmetic companies that I worked for many years ago wrote a book, and gave this tip for dating-she said she could read a man’s entire personality by his relationship with his money. She said that she had found that a man that was generous with his money was also generous in other areas of his life and personality—generous with his time, emotions, plans, etc. And, interestingly enough, she found lack of generosity to correlate in an even bigger way! I must admit that I do find generosity very sexy too. It alludes to a bigger world view and consciousness. But I happen to think her credo works for all people, not just men, and certainly not just for dating.
Jenee: As one of my jobs at the moment I work in a bar and its discusting to see how people flaunt their money and the reactions they get from it. Its extremely disheartening to see how materialistically driven our society really is. It’s funny that Donna mentions the generosity of someone. When on a date I try… as coyly as possible…to see how much they tip. I am not ashamed to say that I defiantly make a judgment on not only how they treat individuals in the service industry but also on how much they tip. I make these judgments on how individuals react to homeless as well. I think that treating everyone with the same amount of respect no matter what the job is important.
Donna: My personal view of money is that is provides quicker access and ease of opportunity. You can get access to situations and places and make opportunity for yourself without money –and many have-but it is definitely a harder road and you have to be much savvier. Maybe that’s why the stories of people that are self- made or have come up from nothing are so much more interesting…their lack of money requires them to more creative, ingenious and persistent to gain the access that they seek.
We have to have it; in our society it is required to live and provide for yourself and your family. I have heard of barter systems that work, but for the most part, when you go to the grocery story—they want money in exchange for goods.
If we are fortunate to have enough, yes, we should make attempts at saving it…for the exact situation of economic crisis like we are involved in currently in our country. This easy to declare but much harder to put into practice.
Also easy to say, but harder to put into practice is that yes, we should try to earn equal amounts of it. But this whole subject is a big mystery since what most people are paid is kept a secret and the comparison is difficult. It has been stated that women generally make .77 on the dollar versus men, but I also think women typically tend to underestimate their own value in the workplace. (And maybe to the world? That’s another blog topic!) As a group, we do not negotiate as well as men in the initial offering of a job…which can also really put us at a deficit in terms of career long earnings potential. It’s important to go into these negotiations armed with as much info as possible, which requires some background work, game plan layout and possibly even role playing with a friend the actual dialog that would go down with the potential employer in this negotiation. I actually did this with a friend not too long ago and she was able to successfully negotiate more money for herself because we had come up with the arguments necessary–with all the stats to back it up– to prove she was worth the additional money.
Amy: I am aware that the more I think about money the more anxious and unhappy I become. I have not chosen a career that brings in tons of money. I would not change my career. In terms of making equal amounts of money, one reason I don’t make tons of money is that I’m in a helping profession which is considered a female career. I realize that I would not be happy in a corporate environment and at times I struggle with the idea that I make money for talking with people about their troubles. But, when I think about money . . . I wonder . . . was this the smartest choice of careers? In a practical way, probably not. In terms of my soul, definitely.