Mo' Money Mo' Problems

Illustration for article titled Mo Money Mo Problems

Despite the fact that my mom does wealth management and my brother is a bond trader, I am one of those people who does not "get" money. I know the economy is in the crapper and I can pay my bills on time and I know a bargain when I see one, but money is really a mystery to me. There was a time in my life where I was so broke I was afraid to leave the house because I'd work up an appetite and have to buy something to eat. There was time when I would eat a slice of eat pizza every day to "save money" on lunch and then, on the weekend, drown my sorrows in 4 or 5 $8 margaritas, wake up depressed and charge $200 Chanel sunglasses to cover my bloodshot eyes and cheer myself up. But reading the The NY Times story called "How To Treat A Money Disorder" made me realize there are all kinds of issues with cash: Overspending, underspending, serial borrowing, financial infidelity, workaholism, financial incest, financial enabling and hoarding. Money is not just money. It's pride, shame, guilt, stress, freedom and oppression.Country music star Wynonna Judd earned tons of money from her career but squandered much of it; she ended up in a kind of money rehab. According to the Times, "The fields of psychology and financial planning have been slow to link money and emotion." Which makes absolutely no sense! Is there anything else that gets people so worked up? Money arguments are one of the leading causes of divorce. And psychologist Jonathan Rich tells the Times: "Right now with the economy, there is so much money stress, more arguing and more tension over money." The Times says an online survey by the American Psychological Association in June found that 75% of the more than 2,500 adults said money was the No. 1 source of stress in their lives. (Also interesting: The three people in need of financial therapy in this article are all women.) It seems to me like one of the biggest problems with money is that it's so uncomfortable to talk about. People don't tell their friends how much they make, how much their parents have, what they spend and what they save. Sarah Kershaw writes in Times: "Money is still a great cultural taboo that is rarely discussed openly in this country." Why are we so afraid to discuss something we literally cannot live without? And are women more likely to have issues with money? How to Treat a ‘Money Disorder’ [NY Times]


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Hortense Smith

Money management should be a required course in high school. God knows I'd use it more than I use trigonometry.