Money is important.
That’s right, captain obvious to the rescue. But seriously, money is important. It took me a long time to come to that realization. Some of you may be thinking, “What is this guy talking about?” others of you will get what I’m trying to say.
I remember when I was in high school there were basically three mindsets about money among my friends. At this point I should probably give a little background information to paint a better picture of who we were. My friends and I were the high achievers and we did pretty well in school. We took all of the AP and college prep classes. We did a lot of extracurricular academic activities. We were the good kids. We were the smart kids- kind of. We also had wildly different opinions with regards to money and the future, but basically we all fit into one of these three categories.
- “Money is da-Bomb!” (yes, we actually used to say that)
- “Money’s for sell-outs and tools; follow your heart!”
- “Money, um… I dunno.”
Maybe you fit into one of these categories too.
In high school I happened to fall into the second category. Follow your heart and forget about the money. It seems like the most decent of the three doesn’t it. I certainly thought so and I didn’t hesitate to let everyone else know that it indeed was the noblest way to look at things. As I mentioned here, when I was planning my future career path, I took money out of the equation and chose to do what I felt passionate about: teaching and eventually social services. The problem was I didn’t really have an economic model in place to fit the lifestyle I was hoping to live.
It took me a long time to realize that.
It took me even longer to realize that it is okay to make money.
Again, some of you are thinking, “What in the world?” Others are nodding their heads in agreement. That’s okay, stick with me.
Have you discovered your passion, recognized your talents and found that you want to get involved in a traditionally low income vocation such as teaching, social services, or counseling? Great! You’ve done the hard work of looking inward. Now you get to do the fun stuff and look outward.
At this point you need to realistically decide how much money you want to make. Don’t you dare say “I want to make $30,000 a year because that is what teachers in my area make.” If you start doing that you are not being honest with yourself. I know this because this was me. If you’ve been honest with yourself thus far, trying to figure out your passions and your talents, why lie to yourself in this area? Now you’re thinking, “I’m not doing this for the money!” Again, this was me. I thought that if I made money doing something it would take away from the fact that I was trying to help and serve others.
If you are struggling with this concept I highly recommend studying the principles of Rabbi Daniel Lapin in his book, Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money. Rabbi Lapin states that people often fail to reach their financial goals and potential due to a belief that money is materialistic and an unfortunate necessity. He proposes a change in mindset. He calls money a certificate of appreciation. He proposes that you look at the receiving of money as proof of your excellent service to others and not that you are simply taking their money.
Be creative; look for nontraditional career choices or consider going into business for yourself. Just because you want to work with kids doesn’t mean that being a school teacher is your only option.
At this point in the planning process don’t ignore your financial desires. Ignore money and you won’t have any to worry about!
What are your thoughts on money? Is it something you are considering while trying to decide what field to get into? Is it the main thing? Do you think that prospering financially in your career is a sign that you are serving others extraordinarily well? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject.
Your economic model is one part of a three legged stool. If you don’t spend the time needed to figure it out the other two won’t hold you up.