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do you let money control you?
Old 07-07-2008, 03:14 PM   #1
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do you let money control you?

i am guilty of giving over some power of self-control to money. money never used to faze me. certainly it didnít rule me. i didnít go after it; it had little influence over my career choice & no influence over my choice of friends. i figured out how to pay my bills and save for a rainy day and life was good enough.

over the years iíve made friends from a television star to a homeless person, from a pulitzer prize winner to a hooker. iíve played on 100-ft yachts and had even more fun on my 14-ft sunfish. iíve been inside estates on tropical islands and inside slum apartments in harlem. whether iíve had more money than i needed in my pocket or just enough to get by made no difference to my mood or capacity to enjoy & explore life, nor did my favorite activities depend much upon it.

granted i lived a somewhat charmed life on other peopleís money growing up. i never had to pay to charter a yacht, i just hopped aboard someone elseís. and when we had a boat (no, not a 100 footer, but 40 footers), we invited others aboard with us. my partner and i even used to pick strangers off the seawall to party with us for the day. very fun.

whether i was being served cocktails cruising down the intracoastal or hanging out on a rock with a cooler of beer by a lake in the woods, money isnít what altered my mood. it was the beer. it was my friends. money wasnít on my mind.

money always came easy enough. first i got allowance for chores, then i started working for it outside of the house. my parents helped when i didnít earn enough earlier on. eventually i learned to make my own way. i never felt unsure about money but neither was i motivated by it. yet now that iím not getting allowance, now that iíve stopped working, now that i have inherited my parentís money, i have never before been so insecure about it.

the money at hand has power it never held before. it determines how careful i am during the day and how well i sleep at night. when i see my net worth go up it makes me happy and when i see it go down it makes me nervous & sad. i disappoint myself that i have given up so much power over even my mood to the dollar. this is very unlike the me who iíve known and i do not like this me.

how easy to think the world will end tomorrow when in a bad mood. how easy to think the world goes on forever when happy. how easy to let our thinking be affected by activities and conditions outside of ourselves and beyond our control. of course we need input to make good decisions. but if i let outside circumstances like losing a little net worth get to me, i might just start to think that the world will end tomorrow, when i know, inside, that it goes on forever.
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Old 07-07-2008, 03:49 PM   #2
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No doesn't control me. Im miserable and mean no matter how much is in my bank account
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Old 07-07-2008, 03:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum View Post
...
over the years iíve made friends from a television star to a homeless person, from a pulitzer prize winner to a hooker....
Same person?
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Old 07-07-2008, 04:07 PM   #4
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You might feel insecure because for the first time in your life you have no Plan B to fall back onto. When you worked and you needed money, there was always the next paycheck. When your parents were alive (I assume they passed since you inherited their money), you knew you could count on them to help you financially if you ever needed it. Now that those safeties are gone, you start to realize that the money in your portfolio is IT. How much of IT you have will determine how you live for the rest of your life. So suddenly it becomes pretty central to your life.
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do you let money control you?
Old 07-07-2008, 04:14 PM   #5
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do you let money control you?

Yes.
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Old 07-07-2008, 04:21 PM   #6
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FIREdreamer, you are so right to bring up the generational changing of the guard. The buck now stops with us, and we are "the grown ups".

Another aspect is having to deal with the shift from doing something to move your financial universe forward (even if that is just getting up in the am to go to your 9-5 job), to doing nothing and leaving things up to powers largely beyond one's control. You have both more responsibility and yet paradoxically less agency.

I don't like it either, lazy (not 'this LG4NB', but 'this me').
BUT I did not look at the market once today and am not going to tomorrow.. la la la la la
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Old 07-07-2008, 04:21 PM   #7
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In the way you are describing... yes....

I get a bad feeling when I loose a couple of years of income when the stock market takes a crash... when I am looking at the numbers...

But it does not change my lifestyle... I am a cheap bastard and will always be one... my fiancee looks at me a bit strange when I am comparing some food or something else to save a few pennies... but had no problem writing a couple of checks for $750 each to a neice and nephew...

So in a way.... money does control me... and in a bad way... but it does not when it comes to other people as you have mentioned... but then again, I have never met many rich people and lived off their money... maybe I would be carefree if that were to happen...
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Old 07-07-2008, 04:22 PM   #8
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No way - I take money, smack it upside the head and show it how pathetic it really is, and then tell it to go to the kitchen and make me a sandwich!
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Old 07-07-2008, 04:47 PM   #9
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When I was a little girl, money didn't mean anything to me. When I was a teenager, I needed hospitalization very badly, but my parents didn't have health insurance nor the funds for me to get proper care. I remember hearing my mom and dad talk about it, and I heard my mom cry. It was then that I had a different outlook on money and what it could do.

During my adult years I have moved several times leaving family members and saying goodbye to dear friends that I had made along the way; for a job that was paying more money.

Now, I'm tracking my assets and second guess myself often wondering if I'm doing the right thing. I have concerns about the future because of money.

So yes, money does control me to an extent...or should I say the lack of?
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Old 07-07-2008, 05:29 PM   #10
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I'd have to say money has a slight control on me . When the market is up I'm much more generous then when it is down .
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Old 07-07-2008, 05:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIREdreamer View Post
You might feel insecure because for the first time in your life you have no Plan B to fall back onto. When you worked and you needed money, there was always the next paycheck. When your parents were alive (I assume they passed since you inherited their money), you knew you could count on them to help you financially if you ever needed it. Now that those safeties are gone, you start to realize that the money in your portfolio is IT. How much of IT you have will determine how you live for the rest of your life. So suddenly it becomes pretty central to your life.
Very well said, and this is exactly the reason that I always recommend being conservative in declaring that one's ready to RE.

lazygood4nothinbum, if you're concerned about money and are capable of working, why not just get a job Wait, that doesn't sound right...
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Old 07-07-2008, 08:10 PM   #12
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"Control" is a really strong word, so no, I don't let money control me. But, it does affect my moods more than I care for.

DH is still working, I manage our finances - that is my current job. I feel like I am doing a terrible job and should be fired!
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Old 07-07-2008, 08:44 PM   #13
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"Money is the sixth sense that allows you to enjoy the other five"
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:29 PM   #14
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When the market is up, I am cheerful.

But when the market is down, really I am not that unhappy. I know it will be back up again eventually, and I know that I haven't lost everything. So, I don't dwell on what it is today, but instead dream of what it will become in the future.

The older I get, the more clearly I can perceive the dimension of time. I guess that is one reason I like living in an older home, which has more of a fourth dimension to me than a new home. A spreadsheet has rows, columns, and time.
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:56 PM   #15
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I grew up poor, so the lack of money had meaning to me. Budgeting meant being careful enough to run out of money about the same time you ran out of month.

As I got older and started making a lot of money (relatively speaking) as a professional, I had to learn how to budget, which was hard for me. But you get used to doing the things you need to do to survive.

Once I was able to FIRE, money has become a way of keeping score for myself. I now believe in the world of abundance (i.e., there is more than enough to go around for everyone) rather than the world of scarcity (i.e., "I better get my crumbs before someone else does").

When I see someone now with a lot of toys, I no longer feel jealous of them; instead, I presume they are relatively poor and in debt up to their ears for purposes of conspicuous consumption.
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:56 PM   #16
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Yes, it started a while ago when I started thinking about ER. I set a financial goal and was close to achieving it until the dot bomb crashed. This year started off great and I thought I would soon reach my goal (seven years after the dot com crash) until the last six weeks destoyed it again.

I think I get frustrated every time I came close to my goal and saw it slipped away. The failure to reach my financial goal cuased me to be unhappy. In this sense, yes, money controls my emotion. Thank god that I am still working and the steady pay checks have helped easing the pain a lot.

I was hoping (for the second time) to ER by the end of next year (my employment contract will expire Dec/09, and I will be 56 yrs old) but this Bear market is giving me a second thought. Without the goal of ER, I believe that I won't be as much influenced by money.

FIREdreamer said it best, when all the money that you have in your portfolio is IT, IT does affect your emotion. Every time I thought of ER the feeling of fear always came up - uncomfortable feeling of the realization that my portfolio is IT, I am still working on this issue.

Thanks for revealing how the Bear market affects your emotion during your ER. It is a good lesson for many of us who are inspired to ER. I am learning from your experience.

mP
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Old 07-07-2008, 11:24 PM   #17
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[quote=lazygood4nothinbum;679806]

over the years iíve made friends from a television star to a homeless person, from a pulitzer prize winner to a hooker. /quote]

You are friends with Al Gore?
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Old 07-08-2008, 07:01 AM   #18
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Not controlled by it, but very much aware of how much is available and what it can do for us. Less concern at this point in life about it since all the basics are covered, now looking to enjoy what is there, and getting the most enjoyment from what we have. I never had much interest in a 40 foot boat - too much maintenance! - but we never lived near enough to water to make that a practical consideration.

I just went to work every day and did my job and the money that was left over after the bills were paid was play money. Put some in savings for the inevitable time when something broke but other than that didn't think about it much. Never ran up a credit card debt, the only loans were for a house or a vehicle and lived within my means. But I was in a different position than a lot of people, layoffs/plant closings, business downturns and the like simply did not happen so I never gave those any thought.

Like rogerseciak, I assumed that those with lots of expensive toys either were up to their eyeballs in debt or simply picked a better-paying career. But I liked what I did and had no interest in being an attorney or physician or stock broker or whatever.
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Old 07-08-2008, 08:08 AM   #19
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I think I am more controlled by money now than I was in the past. Before I was married I took pride in providing for myself without any handouts from my parents and getting myself established in a good job. I didn't worry about money because I was young and had my eye on future goals pertaining to my job.

After I got married, at 35 (pretty late) I settled into a comfortable married life. I didn't worry about money even if our cash flow was a little low due to living below our means. I felt secure. I had a good job (for me) and my husband always worked hard and was very responsible toward his family. The last 10 years or so before I retired, and my husband died, I probably was a little more spendy than I had been in my entire life. Not outlandishly so, but, probably more than I should have been. But, I felt secure and no money worries.

Now, after my husband died and I've retired...yes, money has began to control me a little more. I think of money a lot more these days. I don't have the secure feeling that I had before. I have no job (yeah), I have no parents, I have no husband - so there is no back up plan anymore. I am IT.
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Old 07-08-2008, 09:26 AM   #20
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Is being controlled by money necessarily a bad thing? When you are aware that you have limited funds you are more likely to make better financial decision. Or in my case, I had a job that looked great on paper but when it came to seeing the money, there was very little of it. After being frustrated for too long, I decided to go back to school and earn my MBA so that I could make more money in a shorter period of time, than if I were to climb the ladder at my previous job. So in a way money controls me, but this control is allowing me to increase my value as a person, which will increase my income, which will then (hopefully) increase my chances of being able to retire early.
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