Archive Story One

“What do you mean by a money and spirit connection?” is a common question I’m asked by people. Their tone is often incredulous as they find it hard to believe there could be a direct connection. So many people have gotten caught up in “bottom line” thinking that they have forgotten the psychological or spiritual component in managing money.

I had forgotten it too until I had an experience that forced me to open my eyes to the spiritual implications of going after the big pay check.

In my drive to be a successful broker, I let a partner of a brokerage house persuade me to join his investment department. He promised me lots of money and benefits which I found so alluring I neglected to find out what kind of person he was to work for. Once in the job, I discovered that he was easily threatened, and wanted to control his department with an iron hand.

Though I knew my independent approach upset him, I didn’t know how much until one day when a senior partner asked to see me. In our meeting he said that my boss felt that I was psychologically unbalanced and that I should go to see the firm’s psychologist.

I was angry and upset, but I agreed to do it. My boss was the son of the head of the firm so I didn’t think I had much choice. Fortunately, the psychologist was sensible and approachable. Just before our second meeting, I had received back from my boss a letter I was sending to my clients. He had reviewed the letter and made a lot of irrational corrections on it. I took the letter to the psychologist, and he took one look at it, picked up the phone, called the senior partner, and okayed my mental health.

I went back to work, but quickly transferred out of the department and eventually out of the firm. During that period I did a lot of soul searching as to why I got into that job. I realized that my anxieties about not having enough money had persuaded me to accept the position and had blocked me from giving due consideration to my initial feelings of uneasiness about my future boss.

I began to ask myself what I really wanted from my job. In sorting through all the different criteria, I found that none was as important as my peace of mind. I didn’t want to have a lot of stress no matter how much income came along with it. This was an important revelation because for the first time I realized that I was more concerned about my inside world than the outside world.

From that point on, I began to see money not just as a medium for buying things but also as an energy for helping me find health and harmony in my life. In this guise, managing money took on a new importance, and I was much more motivated to tackle the basic tasks of managing such as balancing checkbooks, paying bills, planning taxes etc which previously I had dreaded doing. I realized that if I did these tasks well, I could not only rid myself of many money anxieties but also get control of my money and redirect it to the things that were really important to me.

Eventually my heart led me to become a personal financial therapist, and in that capacity, I found myself constantly being challenged to help others see the importance of understanding the psychological and spiritual implications of managing their money.

I find most people are intimidated by their finances and avoid dealing with them as much as possible. When they finally attempt to solve their money problems, they look for answers that satisfy their fears instead of their hearts. Usually these answers spring out of their need to have or make as much money as possible since they think that is the antidote to their greatest fear – not having enough money.

Yet the irony of this type of thinking is that it often doesn’t cure the fear, but perpetuates it by creating a constant need for more money.

In helping people manage their finances I have them examine their financial facts in the context of their highest innermost feelings. When people do this, they no longer feel bound to their fears, and they are able to balance their need for money with their need for peace of mind. That is the money and spirit connection I want people to make.

Tags: financial therapist | money and spirituality | money and spirit | Fred Brown