“Some were afflicted by scarcity. Others by abundance…There was more to money than just the math.” Richard Wagner, Financial Planning 3.0: Evolving Our Relationships With Money
As I read Dick Wagner’s book, especially approaching the holidays, I appreciated his comment on the affliction of abundance. At first it may seem like an oxymoron – how could abundance be an affliction? But every week I meet someone with this problem.
When I was young I wanted more money so I could feel free to have choices. Yet as I am older, and have now seen hundreds of personal financial situations other than my own, I know that too many choices can be a huge problem, too.
When is abundance an issue? When you don’t know whether people love you for you, or for your money. When choices and decisions about it make you want to run away, but the last vacation didn’t do the trick. When the cash is piling up and the pressure to invest feels fierce. When your house and storage unit are full, but your soul is unfulfilled.
After a semester in India in college, I learned what an abundant life we take for granted in the developed world. With this foundation, I was ready to receive the idea later on that however I spent, shared, or invested money, it was better to make the decision and know that I did the best I could, rather than wallow in fear-based indecision. I made plenty of mistakes, but it’s part of my own journey. At least I can share those lessons with others.
Whatever your affliction, whether scarcity or abundance, relief comes from more than math. The soul-searching work of improving our relationship with money can be a roller coaster job, but it’s worth the ride.