So you ask, how can money be a friend? Consider the following; money is an active and integral part of your daily life, so how could you not be in a relationship with it? It really boils down to the kind of relationship you want to have. Now this assumes that you accept the fact that you are in control of your financial circumstances. Perhaps you are still caught up in the “victim” mentality i.e., that you are a product of your environment and not your own attitudes and beliefs about where money fits into your life. Well, we have very little control over our environment; things happen that we can’t prevent. So how do we have the most impact in terms of our financial situation? You’ve got it! We can reframe how we think about money, and what we decide to believe about money; this will in turn, reshape our values, priorities and ultimately result in better financial circumstances.
So let’s take a look for a minute at what qualities one looks for in a “best friend forever.” The first quality that comes to mind is honesty between two friends. Why? The primary reason is that you can’t build trust (an essential part of any friendship) without committing to being truthful with one another. The amount of money you have now, for example, doesn’t lie to you but rather, you may choose to be dishonest with yourself and others when it comes to how you are managing your finances. But it requires you to be willing to face your financial problems, and if need be, seek help with getting back on track. Chestnut Credit Counseling can assist you with this.
Another significant quality of a friendship is respect. Your money will be of great value to you if you respect its’ boundaries. Whatever your income, that is what you have to live on, period. It must dictate what you spend and reflect the priorities that you must have i.e., a place to live, food on the table, an emergency saving account, etc. Too many people lack respect for the income they have and continue to live well above what they can afford. A person who lives within the limits of their income tends to be happier and more relaxed about their finances. Many people complain that they do not have enough money to live on, or that their priorities are more than what they get. Often the problem is that they have too many priorities, and their wants get mixed up with their needs; and some expenses need to be dropped or significantly lowered, and are unnecessary.
Another key quality of a close friendship is support for one another. Being there for someone and vice versa is necessary in order to be considered reliable and dependable. Having an income is providing financial support for you to live on, and a paycheck is reliable and dependable. Instead of being grateful for what and how much you do have, we frequently get resentful and angry, feel victimized, and want more. It is what it is. You chose to work in a certain job so you are responsible for using only what you have an nothing more.
So the morale of the story is that “you need to make friends with your money” so that you can have a positive relationship that meets your basic needs. Whatever money you have left over, you can use for special expenses. Most importantly, do not treat your money as the “enemy.” You will live in a stressful and unhealthy relationship with your money, and that will only create negativity for you. Be kind towards what you have and cherish it, as you would your “best friend forever.”
Kristine Gamm-Smith is a Certified Credit Counselor with Chestnut Credit Counseling Services. She has a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, and over 30 years of experience in the mental health and substance abuse field in addition to her experience as a credit counselor. Chestnut Credit Counseling Services is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
Views expressed are the personal views of the author, and do not represent the views of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, its employees, its members, or its clients.