Talking about spirituality and money is not a common request I receive when I’m asked to speak. Most likely, this is because it is an intersection not often discussed in the financial services industry, in general, or a topic my corporate and law firm clients wish to delve into.
So, I was both excited and nervous when Karen Hunter (host of the Karen Hunter Show on Sirius XM and the producer of my podcast), invited me to speak on this profound intersection at the retreat she hosts each year, “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise.”
I was nervous because while I do believe there is an “inner dimension” to your and my success with money and frequently have this conversation with friends, clients, and colleagues, facilitating a conversation of this nature for nearly 200 people…well, that was a new experience for me.
I was excited, though, for a couple of reasons:
First, when I started talking about the concept of having a relationship with money three decades ago, it was considered woo-woo. Not something someone with an MBA in finance would champion.
After all, the industry was driven by a predominant focus on the numbers – the tangible and measurable metrics you can easily track and talk about.
So, back then, I was an outlier in the personal finance space.
Fast forward to today.
Now you have big commercial banks, jumping on the bandwagon, and running national advertising campaigns about the value of improving your relationship with money.
This acknowledgment reflects a shift on their part; they are now embracing the fact that the emotional and psychological aspects of money play a crucial role in personal finance.
(And if you’re wondering, yes, when I’m in a petty mood, I’ll make comments like, “It took them long enough.” Or, I’ll give the side-eye when some social media influencer makes it seem as if this realm of money is “new” – when I’ve been advocating for this since the 90s. But, I digress.) 😉
Expand the Narrative; Change the Game
Here’s the other reason I was excited:
Facilitating this conversation represented an opportunity to expand the narrative of what we talk about when we talk about money, wealth, and success.
Pay yourself first; spend less than you earn; have minimal to no debt; and invest.
Ugh…this way of thinking about and approaching money drives me bonkers because it conveys the idea that success with money is just about the numbers.
And in some circles, it can come across as if the pursuit of financial success and the pursuit of wealth can only be achieved at the expense of something meaningful to you.
That “something” may look like any or all of the following:
- Your personal values
- Your health (physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual)
- How you work or want to work
That “something” may leave you feeling like you have to discount your soul, in some way, to get what you want.
And, this can lead to a lot of people (including you, perhaps?) believing that the only way to have more money, more wealth, and more financial success is if part of the process doesn’t feel good.
And you know what doesn’t feel good?
When you are following all the rules, yet you’re still not experiencing the success you want.
Or, those times when your current responsibilities exceed your current resources and you don’t have the capacity to do any more than what you can do – right now.
Or, when you eventually realize that the additional information you gathered didn’t create the magic solution you’d hoped for.
Any of these can result in financial success feeling out of reach and the process of pursuing wealth feeling downright terrible.
Want to Feel Good, Instead?!
The same thing that makes talking about money, in general, challenging, applies to talking about spirituality and money, too: It is deeply personal and multifaceted.
Yet, I feel confident emphasizing here the same thing I did during my talk:
You want wealth that feels good.
To get that though, you have to:
- Be introspective, so you can tap into your personal definition of “spiritual” and identify the ways in which you see that definition playing out in how you think, approach, manage, and feel about your money and choices;
- Use a different equation for financial success – one that goes beyond the numbers and integrates your vision and values;
- Unmask some of your beliefs about money – which ones are cultural and stem from your family upbringing and which ones have you adopted as an adult?
- Be curious about your current relationship with money – what influences it and how does this affect the financial and non-financial choices you make; and
- Take a holistic approach to money, so you can view wealth as a multi-dimensional concept that isn’t just confined to financial assets.
Valuing Your Inner Wealth
You’re reading this (thank you!), so that means my mission of getting people to focus on their relationship with money resonates with you. And I hope you know that doesn’t mean discounting the quantitative aspects of money. Because the numbers do matter, and you need to be honest about what your numbers are, as well as what you want them to be.
From my perspective, honoring the inner dimensions of money doesn’t mean bypassing the numbers. It’s not “either/or,” it’s “both/and.”
Therefore, if you want to make more informed choices, feel less stress and more calm about those choices, and be prepared for when life throws you a monkey wrench, you’d benefit greatly from integrating the inner dimensions of money with the quantifiable (or outer) dimensions.
Plus, leaning into the value of your inner wealth reminds you that personal insight will always be greater than any information you can gather from Google or ChatGPT.
In that vein, I leave with you this three-part question to ponder:
- What were your earliest memories of yourself – meaning when did you first feel insecure about yourself, not enough, or different?
- What was your earliest memory (or lesson) about money, in general, and wealth, more specifically?
- How do these memories play out today?
I asked this question at the retreat because…
And it’s a thread that’s definitely worth exploring because of the insight you’ll gain. As evidenced by the stories people shared that were deeply personal, powerful, and impacted us all.
I hope it’s a question you’ll consider and answer.
I hope you’ll use the insights from your answer to help you achieve your goals and improve something about your financial well-being.
I also hope you’ll share your answer with someone…you never know how it may bless them, too!
And, I hope today’s missive helps you lay the foundation to have more money, more wealth, and more financial success – in ways that leave you feeling good!