These forty years now I’ve been speaking in prose without knowing it! Newsletter of The Financial Manifesto
It takes time and courage to transform our financial habits and decisions. Finances are deeply rooted in everything we do. They affect everything we plan, dream and pursue.
You can read a new book on personal finance management every week, you can attend a new financial workshop every weekend, you can download every financial app you encounter, and you can watch videos and participate in webinars regularly. However, unless you make that decision to change your heart and to transform your life on a very deep level, you will never improve your financial performance.
Your lifestyle depends on your financial standing. The challenge we have with modern life is that it has been dominated by brands, marketing and banks. We were persuaded that our lives should be governed by the products we buy and the experiences we gain through buying them.
Lifestyle is a very serious matter. It relates to the way we think and how we perceive the world, other people, and ourselves. It relates to our value systems and our deep beliefs. It relates to the way we speak, communicate and behave. It relates to the way we make decisions, the way we earn money and spend money, and the way we voluntarily give up our rational financial decisions in order to make room for emotional buying impulses, which are often destructive.
Lifestyle determines our identities. We can think and speak and live in a certain way without even knowing that. It’s like the character from a brilliant play by Moliere, “Le Bourgeois gentilhomme,” who did not know he was speaking prose:
MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Oh, really? So when I say: “Nicole, bring me my slippers and fetch my nightcap,” is that prose?
PHILOSOPHY MASTER: Most clearly.
MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Well, what do you know about that! These forty years now I’ve been speaking in prose without knowing it!
This funny dialogue says something very important about our financial decisions as well. We think about money, we earn and we spend it in a way that seems to be objective, yet we don’t even know how to name it or how to understand it. In order for us to take a step back from our lifestyles and see them for what they are, we sometimes need a fresh pair of eyes in the form of a philosophical (or in this case, financial!) guru. This will then help to make desirable changes in our spending habits.
There are a lot of superb financial advisors who have serious problems with their own personal money management. There are a lot of talented accountants who perfectly manage their clients’ finances, but often struggle with their own.
The gap between what we know and what we do is sometimes so difficult to overcome. It’s because the topic of money management is relatively easy to consider and to talk about, but very tricky to tackle.
Lifestyle is like the air we breathe every day. It’s transparent.
Only when something is going wrong, or is very different or unusual from the norm, can we see the bigger picture. If you are not able to recognize the fabric of your reality, you are not able to make the necessary changes to move forward.
Hippocrates, known as the “Father of Medicine” once said:
Men ought to know that from the brain and from the brain only arise our pleasures, joys, laughter, and jests as well as our sorrows, pains, griefs and tears. … It is the same thing which makes us mad or delirious, inspires us with dread and fear, whether by night or by day, brings us sleeplessness, inopportune mistakes, aimless anxieties, absent-mindedness and acts that are contrary to habit.
To help you understand what I mean, I’ve written an article about why and how people are still sinking in debt in such a great and marvellous nation as the UK, one of the world’s richest countries: Why I am not surprised that 70% the British are broke!