Money, my tragic love story (with a quiz!)

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So this month is the MONEY MONTH. Do you think it’s telling that I’m running almost two weeks late in starting it?! In self-help land, I believe they call that ‘resistance.’

No doubt I will end up having to go into more sordid details over the next few weeks but suffice it to say, I am bad with money. I suspect it will take me much more than a month to get it sorted.

At the age of 36, I have no pension, no savings, no property. Instead I’m the proud owner of three ginormous overdrafts and one credit card.

Not only do I take absolutely no financial responsibility, I actively seem to throw money away. You could give me £100 and somehow I’d have spent it, lost it, drunk it or given it away within an hour.

I don’t open my bank statements and I live in dread of the tax-man. I actually dream about him – and not in a sexy way.

So how bad is my financial situation?

Well… deep breath… last night I totted up, for the first time, exactly how much I owe on overdrafts and my credit card and it came to…

£12,709

That’s with no mortgage to pay, kids to look after etc. And while I’m in the middle of starting new ventures now, which means the money isn’t piling in, in the past I’ve earned good money. There’s no excuse.  It’s gone on high heels, hangovers and endless, stupid coffees.

It makes me feel sick, embarrassed and quite ashamed.

But there you go.  I’m sure there will be much self-flagellation in future posts, but at least I’m here, now, doing something about it.

In fact, it’s almost poetic that on the eve of Valentine’s Day, I’m about to start on ‘Money, A Love Story’ by Kate Northrup.

Tomorrow, while couples swamp kisses and roses, I will learn to fall in love with my bank statements.

Kate Northrup is one of the new generation of self-help gurus. She’s young, glam and got into a lot of credit card debt in her twenties –  $20,000 which is about £12,000. Snap.

This book is about how she got out of it.

Her basic argument is that our money problems are never about how much money we have, they’re about our attitude to money – and to ourselves.

She says that we all think that if we just had more money then we’d be OK, but you only need to look at all the lottery winners who are penniless within a couple of years, to see that that’s not the case.

She agues that just as crash diets won’t work unless you understand why you overeat, no attempts at saving/budgeting will work unless you understand why you are the way you are with money.

A lot of it, she says, comes down to how we were brought up. If you grew up in house that said ‘money is the root of all evil,’ that’s going to play out your whole life.

But, more importantly, she says that our relationship with money is ‘a microcosm of the relationship with have with ourselves’.

So if  you don’t value yourself, you’re unlikely to earn what you’re worth, if you think no man will love you, you might find yourself buying their affection, if you feel that you’re never good enough, you may hope a wardrobe full of designer clothes will make you feel better. 

She says that only by loving ourselves and appreciating what we already have (even if you’re broke, there’s lots to be grateful for, she says) can things change.

For what it’s worth, I’m not usually big on the whole ‘love yourself and all will be well’ school of self-help (it’s so wishy washy, what does that actually mean? how do you do it?) but what I’ve read so far makes a lot of sense.

So this weekend I am going to finish the book and get stuck into the gazillion exercises in it.  I’ve bought a new notebook to write it all in. Obviously. Heaven forbid I miss a spending opportunity.

Before I go here’s a little quiz about whether your relationship with money is a great love affair or a doomed romance. I think we all know which one mine has been. So far, at least…

THE MONEY LOVE QUIZ

http://www.katenorthrup.com/quiz

CAN YOU BLAME YOUR CREDIT CARD BILLS ON YOUR CHILDHOOD?

Also – here’s four questions Kate asks about the attitude you’ve inherited from your family. 

1)What’s your number one financial frustration? 

2) What did you hear about money as a child? (It doesn’t grow on trees etc) 

3) What’s your first money memory (it doesn’t have to be the earliest, just the first one that comes to your mind)

4) Can you see a connection between this first memory of money and the financial situation you’re in now?

Money, a Love Story: Untangle Your Financial Woes and Create the Life You Really Want

19 thoughts on “Money, my tragic love story (with a quiz!)

  1. Liv

    So interesting M! My first memory is my Dad telling me ‘if you watch the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves’ and as a result I’m ridiculously neurotic about my accounts….x

    Reply
    1. Marianne Power

      Ah! It makes sense, you’re so on top of your finances. Anne Hastings’ first memory is the tooth fairy, which she equates with ‘yay, money for nothing!’ It’s good, isn’t it? How are you doing in the snow? Mum is flying over to NYC tomorrow, weather permitting.

      Reply
  2. Mary

    I think women our age were sold a pup: we were promised a gilded life of foreign holidays, cocktails and all the manolos we could squeeze into our designer shoppers… but no pointers on the dull but necessary stuff like pensions and savings. Being financially literate was definitely uncool.
    I can’t say I’m much better now but I try to, er, buy into the notion that by putting a little away, I’m paying myself first. And I don’t care how uncool it makes me…*
    (*I’m lying: I care desperately – pls don’t tell the cool kids that I’m saving up for when my car finally goes kaput!)

    Reply
    1. Marianne Power

      Mary, having enough money to fix your car/ get a new one is much cooler than having to take the bus. You’re great. Guess it’s also part of growing up. I’m pretty late to it… but better late than never. How are you? Thank you for reading. xx

      Reply
  3. Vicki

    Marianne, this should be fascinating reading for me this year! Good luck – & in the process I’ll look at my own life & make some improvements! xxx

    Reply
  4. Donna Hartley

    I look forward to the rest of your blog with interest. You are brave to write so honestly and you are going to help a lot of women xxx

    Reply
  5. soozym71

    Just read your article in the DM, and would like to say I really enjoyed it. I was beginning to think that my daughter was doomed and was the only person in the world who had no savings / spent her money on going out and clothes, but your article has put my mind at ease. I’ve shared it with my daughter so she can also look at your advice, as sometimes she feels she is just in a deep pit she can’t get out of. Thank you for sharing.x

    Reply
  6. pixiewillow46

    First time of visiting your blog and I already love your honesty, as one hay house reviewer to another I remember my first money memory as my parents constantly saying things like money doesn’t grow on trees and there’s never enough or it’s hard to come by! We’ll that left my head firmly placed up my backside for the next 30 years lol
    You did a great review here and the book is one of my firm favourites, just shout if you have any questions as it’s a book I actually followed the steps on, with surprising results.
    Much love
    Pixie

    Reply
  7. annwae Thorn

    Hi Marianne, well done on the article, Feel the Fear and do it anyway changed my life but I am a bit sceptical about this money book. Susan Jeffers is a legend but the review on amazon for this money book are rubbish. How do you go about selecting your self help books. I will hold off getting this one until I read about your experience with it

    Reply
  8. TheLovecat

    Just found this blog and will follow with *much* interest how you get on with this book!! Money is definitely a weak point with me, too – the thought of finances makes my stomach roil. Good luck!

    Reply
  9. Zoe R

    Ohhh yes, never enough $$! My first money memory is of my father putting my babysitting money in his savings account because I wasn’t legally old enough for my own, and keeping a record of how much I was saving. The folks did good on this one – started me young, always with summer jobs, job at college, and having to pay for certain things myself even as young as 11-12. However the upshot is that now that I have a little bit extra (not enough mind you!) I feel guilty every time I splurge on a treat. I just bought a ridiculously expensive top because my friend promised me I looked amazing and everyone in the city would fall in love with me in this top. But the price tag still haunts me. And the city has not fallen in love yet! (But it’s about to I’m sure…) xo

    Reply
    1. Marianne Power

      I have fallen in love with you, Zoe! Thanks for reading and for the lovely messages. I still remember you going shopping in Harvey Nicholss with your author friend, do you remember? There’s a happy medium with the spending – somewhere between you and me. xx

      Reply
  10. Zoe R

    Oh, I remember! And the book that author wrote was Confessions of a Shopaholic, which begins with the heroine very nervously opening her bank statement 😛 I still have that Harvey Nichols top but have worn it less than 5 times. Because of course a Paul Smith (I think it was) crop top is something I’ll wear ALL THE TIME!

    Reply

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