The CommonWealth Initiative™ is a Chicago-based financial planning and consulting firm specializing in budgeting, money management, and financial coaching. Our services are confidential, forward-thinking and affordable, with the purpose to promote financial “well-being” for the “common-good”.
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In my younger, church-going years, it was common to hear the saying, “for the love of money is the root of all evil.” I would always question why the love of something that is essential to our survival throughout life – money – could be perceived as evil. Didn’t people need money to do just about anything in life? I later realized this condition of thinking could sub-consciously foster an unhealthy perception toward money, if not addressed. Putting this aversion to money in perspective with the state of today’s economy and one begins to understand why we have excessive use of credit and payday loans, high foreclosure rates, high unemployment rates (direct link to increased violence), government cutbacks, and reckless spending. This leads me to the question: What is the root of all evil monetarily speaking? Is it really the love of money? Or could it actually be the fear of money: specifically, the lack of understanding of money management principles and how to effectively use money? While loving money over people or God might breed evil, lack of knowledge in how to manage money properly – whether intentional or not – could be downright “evil” to your own livelihood.

Let’s be honest: most people, at some point or another, have categorized themselves as “bad with money” or “financially irresponsible”, but the truth of the matter is we are never taught how to effectively manage money. Money management is not taught in most public school systems I am aware of, including elementary school, middle or junior high school, high school, or even post-secondary education (excluding studies dealing with business like economics or accounting). More importantly, you did not learn about personal finance if you grew up in a household where finances were not openly discussed or your parents were not taught to manage their money properly. Nor were their parents – your grandparents- taught to possess these essential skills. The inevitable result is we unconsciously pass on an ignorance of how to handle money from generation to generation. What we end up with is our current generation that is busy “Turning up” when we should “Wealth Up”.

The truth of the matter is, financially speaking, you are not fully to blame! Let’s have an Oprah moment and breathe, it’s not your fault! You can’t be blamed for something you weren’t taught (with the exception of instances when money is not in your bank account and you are still swiping your debit card like it’s a “Jesus Paid It All” card. Then, that ain’t ignorance, or lack of knowledge, that’s the DEVIL!), However, we do have to begin to take responsibility for our financial conditions.
The great news is the first step to financial freedom begins with you facing your fears of managing your finances (whatever they may be).

Webster’s definition for FEAR is: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
For some of us the engrained fear we have towards managing our money or even toward buzz words like “budgeting” is similar to the reaction the hyenas gave in the animated movie The Lion King when they were speaking Mufasa’s name with such fear and reverence, ”MUFASA…ohhhhh, say it again, MUFASA… “.
What we must realize is, once you get past the unpleasant emotion and make the decision to take charge of your finances, the next step and one that is of equal importance is GAINING KNOWLEDGE AND INFORMATION. Learn the basics: what is money, how do I budget, how should I manage my finances. You discover that there was no danger and the only fear was that of the unknown. The knowledge and information you learned will develop ideas that turn into plans – plans when executed that create healthy habits of effective money management like setting goals, budgeting, and working with a financial coach. These habits lead to positive lifestyle changes. Count this as some food for thought to get you started on the road to financial freedom. The choice begins with you.

This article is compliments of CWIMoney.com and Brian D. Johnson.
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