For a book that in some respects was not even a personal finance book I found The Secret Language of Money by David Krueger with John David Mann a fascinating read. Yes, first off you will find no discussion of tax savings or where to invest, but rather a series of deeper questions: why if the math so easy do I have trouble paying off my debts? If I’ve got all this money, why am I not happy? Why do I buy dumb things when I regret them afterwords?
Effectively the book explores the crossroads of psychology and personal finance and this is what made it an interesting read for me. It provided a window into why we do some incredibly stupid things with our money and also the book explores a key point: spending is emotional. Money is never just money: it’s your hopes, fears, wishes and comforts all wrapped up in a thin bill or coin.
The book actually taught me several new things that I’ve always known, but never known why. For example, I’ve been a big fan of sleep on it before making a big decision. I never really understood why it worked until this book. In a nut shell when you are tired or highly emotional basically your brain starts to by pass the parts of the brain that do logic so you are basically making decisions mostly on emotion and instinct which is fine when a person is deciding to run away or fight, but sucks when you are deciding on selling a stock or not.
The book is structured about the concept of your money story. Your money story is what you tell yourself about money. It may show you why you buy new things, why you don’t’ save more or why you just can’t seem to make a go of your own business. In the end via a series of exercises we are shown what are money story is and better yet, how to change it if you want to.
This is where the book pulled out a fact that blew me away. Apparently your brain can’t tell the difference between you actually doing something and visualizing doing something. In either case it will develop new pathways in your head if you practice enough either in real life or in your head. So you can basically if you visualize succeeding at a goal long enough your brain will literally change to support that goal happening. You can reprogram yourself if you want to. You have no excuse for “I’m not a saver or I can’t do that” you can be or do anything that you want.
Overall I highly suggest reading this book as you are likely going to learn a few items about yourself and hopefully make you a bit more understanding with some of you own money behaviours. After all the math is easy, it’s the why we do things that is hard.
I generally believe that regret is possibly the only nearly useless emotion that we experience. The reality is what happened is done and you can not change that, but people still dwell on it. I was watching a movie last night that seemed to have a theme of regret. So it helped propel my mind down a path that I so rarely visit I figured I would share the results of some of my late night musing.
I don’t actually regret much related to money but there are a few items that come to mind. So here is my list of money related regrets that crossed my mind last night:
- I wish I would taken on a job not for the pay years ago. I’m so enjoying my second job as a Trustee that I wish I would had the idea earlier. I’ve taken jobs where money wasn’t that important, for example, I took a $20,000/year pay cut to move back to Regina. Yet in all those jobs the money was still partly a factor. The Trustee job was the first one where money didn’t matter at all.
- I wish I would have been braver to start my own business. I had ideas over the years but generally fear kept those ideas in check. I think it was lack of any supports to travel down that path earlier in life that kept me back (beyond the fear). I really only learned about a small business once my wife went to open a daycare and now realize it isn’t that hard (not to say it is easy, but it is not impossible either).
- I wish I would have realized earlier that happiness is just as important as money. I think perhaps I wasted a lot of time doing many ‘what if’ analysis on too many things before I realized that in the end the numbers are only part of the answer. It’s ok to do something that isn’t the most logical as long as you know that. Being happy is important even if you have to work a couple of years longer.
So what have you regretted related to your money? If you feel like sharing leave a comment.
Well this blog already deals with one common taboo: money. We discuss a lot about money: spending it, saving it, investing it, how it makes you feel, why we spend it on some things rather than others. So today let’s branch out a bit and double up on the taboo: how much money do you spend on sex in a month?
Now depending on your mind set you might consider that I just ask you if you use a prostitute and how often, which I suppose you could answer, but that really isn’t what I’m getting at. I’m instead wondering how much money do people put towards getting sex since most people would agree that sex helps on the whole being happy in life. Now obviously your costs will vary depending on your relationship status.
- Single. This category likely takes the most money on average to get sex. Dating isn’t cheap. There is the nights out with dinner, perhaps a show or the bar. Depending on how serious you are there can be the little gifts that show you are thoughtful. Not to mention birth control like the pill or condoms. All of that costs money and is related to how much much you spend on sex (either directly or indirectly).
- Serious. I’m including engaged folks and those that move in together (but are under their first year living together) in this category. Your spending on sex now may actually reduce a bit at this point, after all if you share a place you can now share costs which should hopefully offset on your date nights. Not to mention that having sex is just easier since there is less logistics involved in the whole: your place or mine debate. If you go the marriage route let’s face the fact buying a engagement ring is rather like buying a long term bond: you hoping for some long term payout of sex and affection for a large lump sum of cash.
- Early Marriage or Common Law: In your early years of the steady portion of your relationship your costs will dramatically differ depending on if you get married or stay common law. Marriage is an expensive thing to do for trying to secure sex. The wedding itself is expensive, but it is offset by some gifts and the honeymoon is likely the most expensive thing you will spend on sex in your entire life. Then given the divorce rate and the costs associated with not getting sex you have to consider marriage a speculative investment on sex at best. Meanwhile if you go the common law route life can be much easier and less costly on sex. Yet of course our decision to get married or not has nothing to do with logic, but rather emotion so people will keep getting married despite the poor investment it is for a lot of people.
- Longer Term Marriage or Common Law: Now let’s put in those people that have been together for seven years or longer here (where you chance of splitting up drops off). At this point your spending on sex might be almost non existent especially if you have small children. Just the logistics of having sex is hard to do with working around kid’s bedtimes, your libido and the rest of your life can be hard. If you don’t have kids then things could be easier having sex, but likely your direct seduction costs are low compared to when you were single. So on a purely financial front getting to a long term relationship and staying in one can be potentially be a good cost saving strategy on sex. So if your dating a personal finance geek that might be an interesting way to proposing getting more serious: “Honey, let’s reduce our costs on sex and move in together?”
How much do I spend on sex each month? To be honest I don’t have a clue. I’ve never figured it out and I likely won’t in the future. Yet I’m firmly in category four with nine years of marriage. Yet I can say I think I should be spending more on sex than I do now. Dates are an important thing to do (from a sex and relationship point of view) and I’ve been guilty of not doing enough of them lately. So perhaps I do need a new line item on my budget: “date night” or perhaps just “sex.” At least I know I’ll be having an interesting discussion with my wife after this post.
**Just to be absolutely clear this post was written with a strong humour element, so don’t take everything I wrote literally**