Thursday, July 5, 2012

Weird Things That Can Happen With Money

Money is such a weird thing. It reminds me of abstract art. From it's unknown intrinsic value to the joy of finding five dollars on the sidewalk, do we really know what money is or why it really affects us so much? Do we understand how it moves around behind the scenes? Do we really know who is profiting from a deal and who isn't? Can we really control it? Or is it a force beyond our reckoning?

Here are some weird, uncomfortable, and somewhat scary scenarios that have hit my radar lately. I've listed them in order from just plain weird to just plain awful, with #8 being the worst.

#1 The golden ticket.
When you go from being self-employed to employed, banks suddenly love you and will lend you lots of money. That employment letter is like a golden ticket to the weird world of borrowing. But, be careful...sometimes the ticket is written on toilet paper (see weird thing #8).

#2 Why cheques get held. 
I was at the bank yesterday with a large cheque. Because they knew me personally, they didn't put a 5 day hold on it. I didn't actually care either way, but what if I did need the money right away and they didn't know me?

#3 Wondering if your banker is really on your team?  
Who knows. I am never truly sure. Am I just a dollar sign or a am I a person? Am I really being given the best rates possible? Hard to say. It feels very nebulous.

#4 Asking to raise or lower your credit card limit.
This is an awkward, personal conversation in which you have to share the details of why you want to raise or lower your limit. Not fun.

#5 Being told, "It's your own fault that you're not rich."
I went to a seminar recently and was hammered pretty heavily with the message that I must be fundamentally flawed, lazy, financially illiterate and basically stupid if I'm not rich. It was a shame-people-into-buying approach to sales. Not good. I didn't stay for the last day.

#6 People taking money that is not theirs.
I've been hearing about non-profits who lose large chunks of money to the very people who volunteer to run them, and then have to take them to court to get some of it back. This kind of thing destroys morale.

#7 When a stock goes to zero.
I own a stock that has gone from $6 a share plus dividends to 5 cents a share and no dividends. Where did my money really go? What can I do about it, other than try not to make the same mistake again? Do I sell it now? Or just hang on and hope? I feel like such an idiot.

#8 Not getting paid.
I've watched a friend suffer because his employer has been unable to pay the staff for a while. It's like he is being held hostage and multiple areas of his life are being affected by the stress. Imagine being in this situation with three little kids and just one family breadwinner. You wouldn't wish this on your worst enemy.

If you have any weird money things going on in your life, I wish you all the best. And, please remember that your intrinsic value is known and measurable. You matter a whole lot more than money.

Copyright 2012. Laura Thomas. All Rights Reserved.
For reprint permission contact moneyme at telus dot net.


  1. So -if your friend came to you for advise what would you tell him? #8

  2. If he wants to keep working for this employer, I would suggest that he be mentally, emotionally and financially willing and able to do the work under the assumption that he will NEVER be paid for his efforts. If he is not okay with that, he should look for other work.

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