Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Ongoing Battle

A few weeks ago, I told my grandmother about some financial concerns I have for the future, to which she replied, "there's never enough money." I knew that was her way of saying I should stop worrying, but I considered it to be a funny statement from someone who lived well during the Great Depression. Surely, there can be enough money, right?

As I thought about it, however, I realized she's quite right: Credit scores can be repaired, savings accounts can grow robust, stocks can be well-invested, student loans and mortgages can be paid off. All of these things are goals one can pretty much reach and feel accomplished with, but staying on top of one's spending never ends. it never feels like the goal of "enough money" is ever reached.

Even when a family is well-off, few people ever get to spend freely on everything they want without considering money. And if they do spend money with abandon, it's likely due to someone else in the family being the one who reins in the spending, or it results in the next generation being unable to spend so frivolously.

Paying attention to the money being spent is as ongoing and important as eating healthy or housework: A lifetime intention accomplished only in small steps, which are repeated again and again each day. It may feel tedious at times to be financially responsible, but it is no different than eating responsibly, working, finding the time to be active, doing the laundry, or keeping the house clean.

The diet may always need more vegetables, the house may nearly always need a deeper cleaning, the laundry bin and the sink may stay empty for only moments. There may always be more work one wants to do, or more activities for which one wants to find time.

The funny thing is that we pretty much accept that these daily tasks will never end, but for some reason we all want to stop thinking about money. We don't want to think about what we spend each day, and we often don't feel accomplished simply because we know we do need to think about it. Despite this common feeling of defeat, it's actually the opposite: Those who make the effort to consider their spending on a daily basis are the ones who have accomplished more.

It may not end, but continuing to be financially responsible should not be considered a bad thing... At least, no more so than brushing one's teeth.

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