This journey to financial semi-independence started with a gradual adjustment of priorities. I suffered a sort of early, mid-life crisis. Over a period of at least one year, I did a lot of soul-searching, reading all sorts of things online and spending time reflecting, in my search for a more-meaningful life. While there are several mental shifts to thank for my new goals and outlook, the new perspective on money was a key factor in changing our trajectory. I often think about how best to educate others to see their true financial options and try to use this blog to provide as much helpful information as possible. So, I was super excited to receive a copy of “It Is Only Money” by Cara MacMillan that I can share with one of my lucky readers.
“It Is Only Money” is a unique read about financial issues. The book follows a classroom conversation of our underlying attitudes and beliefs about money. The discussions take place over a number of different sessions, broken into chapters. It consists mostly of dialogue (almost like reading a play, but much easier to comprehend than Shakespeare). The students are prompted to consider the purpose of money, the morality of acquiring wealth, and the best ways to spend money. There are also lists of questions for each chapter (they are all at the end of the book), to lead your own critical analysis or group discussions of the themes of each lesson.
I liked this book, but it was very much “preaching to the choir.” We have already adopted improved attitudes towards money, based largely on updated priorities for life. For example, there is a brief discussion about spending money on experiences instead of material possessions. I learned about the studies that show longer lasting happiness with such expenditures a long time ago and completely agree with the advice. It was nothing new for me. I did learn some interesting tidbits about religious teachings related to money throughout the world. The author doesn’t push any specific religion, but seeks to open your mind to consider different viewpoints. In my opinion, this book is best suited to someone who needs to honestly reflect on what they are doing with their money. Or, even better, a group setting like a book club. It would have been a great read for me a few years ago, when I was still trying to figure things out.
One thing that this book made me realize, is how very few substantive conversations I’ve had about money with other people. I have never discussed these important questions with friends or coworkers. I have never attended any class that covered these types of discussions. Even with a few select family members, I prompt them to engage in a meaningful chat and they are either dismissive or just allow me to talk without contributing anything. The only people who I honestly discuss money issues with, are my husband, other bloggers, and my readers. It’s pretty depressing to think that we can’t have meaningful conversations about money with people in real life, but I have hope for the future.
Our plans are largely dependent on my continued employment, at a job that probably would not be supportive of our semi-retirement endeavors. So my ability to have these money conversations are somewhat limited in real life. Eventually though, I will be able to share the full story with friends, family, and acquaintances. I suspect that the news of our semi-retirement at the age of 40 will spur some opportunity for discussion.
With that, I welcome you to Creating My Kaleidoscope’s very first giveaway – good luck!!!