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Money. Friday December 20, 2013

Go on – admit it: the very word gets you worried and sends your blood pressure soaring.

And – true confession time – the most recent occasion I became suicidal (hey – 8 years ago and only for half an hour) it was over my overdraft.

Thinking back – it wasn't even a particularly large overdraft – but I had totally lost my sense of proportion and judgement.

We can't run away from responsibility about money. What we can do though is change our judgements about it. There is no shame in poverty. There is no shame in wealth. There are just our opinions about it.

Depression is no respecter of wealth, social position, intelligence or employment status. What it does do, is aim unerringly at vulnerability. It's not a co-incidence that children from the poorest of families in our society suffer the highest rates of depression and mental illness, but the second highest rates are suffered by the children of affluent families where expectations are unrealistically high.

So let's take away our judgements about right and wrong when it comes to money. Let's be responsible, by all means, but whether we own our money or rent it (paying interest), it's still just bits of paper or numbers on a computer screen.

There are things we can afford, and things we can't afford. There are frugalities that are almost pleasures and those that stick like bitter aspirin in the gullet. There are things we choose not to have even though we could afford them if we wanted to. There are many things I can't afford to give my children, but at the risk of sounding trite, I can give them values even if I can't give them valuables.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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PWD Fri, Dec 20th 2013 @ 7:13am

very good post as I was told may years ago you can be rich without money

Julia Fri, Dec 20th 2013 @ 9:38am

"Depression is no respecter of wealth, social position, intelligence or employment status. What it does do, is aim unerringly at vulnerability" I like this true. But how do we stop being vulnerable? It's almost as if we are allowing depression into our lives. But this isn't the point of your blog today so I'll let others comment on the money issues.

Les Fri, Dec 20th 2013 @ 9:53am

To be vulnerable is to be human.

Julia Fri, Dec 20th 2013 @ 10:35am

Yes that's what I think.

Lostinspace Fri, Dec 20th 2013 @ 11:30am

When did money take over in such a big way? I wasn't in the UK then but it seems like the 80's had a lot to do with it. The financial crisis is blamed for all the cuts taking place but there are no bankers in jail so there is a sort of false respect for them and the culture allows it. Where I live money is more important as there is no NHS, no welfare benefits and you wouldn't want your child educated by the state. So, keeping money in its proper place is even harder but I consider it a worthy challenge! The lives of the poor are often depressing in themselves as one clinician I heard pointed out when speaking about prescribing anti-depressants, so what matters is Attitude but society seems geared towards materialism now more than ever.
Personally I find maintaining perspective on money fairly difficult but not impossible, also I have come to consider lack of funds a great leveller and good for my soul, nothing like a good dose of humiliation to keep the ego in line! That last attitude may very well be generational and in my opinion not a bad thing.This is a huge topic so I will sign off and be very interested to see what anyone else has to say.

Julia Fri, Dec 20th 2013 @ 12:17pm

In the UK the gap between the rich and the poor is the widest it's ever been and increasing. This is fundamental to our social problems in this country, the gap between the rich and the poor.It seems that almost everyone wants to have more money in order to choose a lifestyle. I often wonder why a cap of say £200,000 in earnings cannot be enforced. Does anyone really need more money than that? The vast majority of people earn a pittance in comparison. It's unbelievable. The economic measures the government is taking are sticking plasters, well intentioned as they are. Until the fundamental inequality in wealth which pervades our society is dealt with, then we will all be focussed on money. I agree Lostinspace, no banker has been jailed (Fred Goodwin was only stripped of his knighthood) and they continue to get huge massive annual bonuses which would keep hundreds of families out of debt for years. I hear that Bob Diamond who was responsible for the libor scandal is now setting up banks in Nigeria. Why oh why has he been allowed to continue to work in banking??

Tim Fri, Dec 20th 2013 @ 3:46pm

A beautifully written piece, I thought. Succinct and pithy, with plenty of basic home truth we should all take note of. Frugality should be a virtue, not a necessary evil (as many who've not been involved in a war, or privations of water, bread, or heating, appear to consider it). Gandhi understood that. It's quite liberating, to make do with less, often enabling more to be achieved. "The best things my parents gave me were the things I never had", etc.

Tim Fri, Dec 20th 2013 @ 3:50pm

A propos the salary/bonus question, does anyone know if the Mongolian civil service still enforce a pay scale where no-one earns more than twice the lowest-paid? That didn't seem a bad notion, though I do think free markets are a generally good idea: the same way that free-range chickens are husbanded and not just feral (government playing the role of the safeguarding farmer).

Anonymous Sat, Dec 21st 2013 @ 1:27am

Thank you for writing this. It is so timely especially during this season of gift-giving when one can lose sight of what is really important.

Deborahmichelle Sanders Sat, Dec 21st 2013 @ 3:19am

You guys are the greatest! To save: Money!, I moved down from the $9.95 to the $4.95 plan. You didn't bill me until the $9.95 plan's month ha run! Thanks!

Anonymous Mon, Dec 23rd 2013 @ 12:56am

Thank you , thank you. I've been stressing for months about my grown up children's ability to buy a house in the large and very expensive city we live in. We got in before prices went through the ceiling. They are looking at an average of $500K to buy. They are good kids though, with their heads screwed on right, so I tell myself not to worry, and this post helps.

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