Updated: April 17, 2021
The buyer counted the money in front of us, and then he was off with his purchased second-hand smartphone.
My friend, who is now P30,000 richer, puts the money in an envelope and inside his messenger bag.
“That was a smooth transaction,” I commented as we walked out of the coffee shop.
“Yes, it was,” my friend softly replied.
“So do you want to eat dinner here at the mall?” I asked.
“If you don’t mind, can we go home already and just get a drive-thru?”
“Sure, no problem. But why are you suddenly so tense?”
“I guess I’m just not comfortable carrying so much money around.”
If you were my friend, would you have felt the same?
I don’t blame my friend for feeling that way. And it’s quite normal to be nervous about carrying an unusual amount of money around.
Money has that emotional effect on people — regardless if you have it or don’t, and interestingly, either case can make a person feel positively or negatively.
Most people will consider winning the lottery a blessing; but I’ve met some who believe that it is a curse, which can ruin your character and personal relationships.
On the other hand, most people will feel stressed and worried if they earn just enough to make ends meet; but again, I’ve met some who are happy and content with living a bohemian or simple lifestyle.
Personally, I’ve learned that money is a neutral entity, that it is simply a tool that we use every day, like a smartphone.
And ultimately, it is really up to us to choose which emotions to tie it with.
What role does money play in your life?
To ask this means discovering how having money, or the lack thereof, makes you feel. Does it make you feel stressed? Tense? Disappointed? Worried?
What are your frequent thoughts about money? How do you see your current financial state? Do you daydream often about being rich? Are you happy, content, or frustrated about your income, and why do you say so?
It helps to write down your answers to these questions because our thoughts tend to loop needlessly when it is emotionally charged.
Unload your thoughts, and take notice of how your mind can slowly become calm and objective.
Money is a neutral entity and we should never allow it to control our thoughts and emotions, negatively nor positively.
An important step in understanding money is to approach it with a relaxed and neutral mindset — it is only through this can you learn how to wield it usefully.
Because like in most things in life, which includes personal finance, we make better decisions when our mind is clear and objective.
Having P30,000 in his bag made my friend nervous and uncomfortable.
He’s worried that his bag (and money) might get snatched while walking, or get stolen during dinner, or we might get held up in the parking lot.
Those scenarios are indeed possible, but a calm and rational mind will not waste time worrying and will instead pay more attention to his surroundings and have a presence of mind.
When you linger too much on not making enough money, you will dread creating a monthly budget.
When you often think that it’s frustrating to learn about investments, your mind will resist acquiring the knowledge.
When you allow money to play an emotional role in your life, you will find it hard to focus on achieving your personal financial goals.