Is how you earn, spend, donate and invest in line with your ethics?
Money has become the fabric of our interaction with each other. It has become how we project ourselves on the world. Paying attention to our relationship with money is an opportunity for personal transformation as much as a chance to improve the well-being of others close and far.
Our cultures have taught us that circumstance is more important then shared experience, which drives our intention, but our actions show that unconsciously the most important is in fact the opposite….shared experience is more important than circumstance. This misalignment in our psyche has skewed our relationship with money. Our opportunity is to reset the boundaries in this relationship so that money works as our teacher and a tool to deepen that which is most important to us.
Making changes to our money energy will reduce anxiety, increase sleep, improve our diet and allow us to have a richer and more meaningful connection with the world.
We may earn money from someone or a company who acts in a way that is not in line with our ethics. This most likely leaves some dis-ease in our subconscious. The question that we must ask ourselves is: how does this dis-ease balance against the fear of not having that job or client, and is there a better option even if it pays slightly less? Quite often we don’t know the answer until we act. There is plenty of evidence showing that working in an environment that is in line with our values excites and energizes us, making us more productive.
Spending money is a massive energy force.
As soon as we buy something, we further along the cycle of consumption and affect the chain of supply and demand. We change our emotions by spending. Think of the elation of a brand new car, clothing or electronics, and think of the pain of buyer’s regret. Spending is a force more powerful than a vote, strong enough to be mistaken for the feeling of love, more numbing than a glass of wine!
Once we become aware of the most subtle ways we spend our money, when we spend it, and what we spend it on, we begin to transform.
Let’s examine the levels of giving as defined by the Torah by putting them in the context of a visit to a coffee shop.
Level one—We order a latte, the barista spins the iPad around for us to sign, and we have to decide on how much tip to give. We give a dollar because we feel we have no choice. Level two—We give a dollar because we want to, but we hand it to the barista so we can see their gratitude. Level three giving—When the barista turns around to make our latte and we put $5.00 in the tip jar without them seeing.
This is not to say that we must tip, it’s to examine how and why we give. Giving is a reflection of our energy and the further up the scale we go, the more energy we create, the more selfless we feel. I once heard someone say that more selfish than doing nothing for someone is helping someone out of a feeling of obligation.
The last part of the question is to address how we invest our money.
The stock market has offered the opportunity for anyone with just a few dollars to become a partner in any company that is publicly traded. Most of us don’t have our own company to invest in, so we can then leave our savings in the hands of other CEOs for growth. If, 30 years ago, we had invested in the S&P 500, our money would have grown about 10 percent annually. Interestingly, the average investor’s money only grew about three percent. The reason is that most sell when the market takes a plunge and then buy on the way back up. This is driven by fear and a lack of confidence that our investment will weather the storm.
If we invest in companies that operate with the same values and principles we believe in, might our fears be soothed? As long as we are sipping lattes and tapping on iPhones, the market will always go up, in spite of periodic dips.
There’s that and then there is the feeling of empowering companies who have the well-being of us, our children and the environment in mind. Let’s invest in profitable companies that are built to last 100 years. Let’s empower companies that are consciously leading us into a bright future.
As Mark Bertolini, the CEO of Aetna says: “Profit is not the goal, profit is the output of mission driven companies, who build quality products for their customers.”
Yvonne Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia says that whenever faced with the choice of profit or doing good, he chooses doing good and in the long run this always ends up being the most profitable decision.
“Conversation is the heart of human life and conversation is the heart of commerce” ~ David Whyte
Lets start the conversation about following the money!
Author: Tim Thomas
Editor: Catherine Monkman