I am happy to report that we are interacting with more and more people on the subject Mindful Finance, which we have chosen to champion.
In these interactions the concept of “putting humanity back into finance” has come to the fore. This phrase has a way of capturing people’s mind with positive intent. It seems to offer a ray of light within a dark sky of widespread distrust in “wall street” and business in general. We are seeing confirmation of our belief that people want to lead a more meaningful and values-aligned financial life.
The main message of Mindful Finance is that paying attention to our personal experiences, as they occur in our financial lives, is valuable. The reason this activity is valuable is because those experiences are full of information. Unexpressed and unacknowledged thoughts, feelings, emotions and other experiences are poison to good financial decision making. This is true at the individual/family planning level and is also true for government and business decision makers.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll consider the individual/family planning level. It has been our observation that people often feel disempowered vis-à-vis their finances. For whatever reason, financial matters are very much externalized, disconnected from the qualities of being alive. There is usually some component in this which is a feeling that the information necessary to make a decision is lacking. The Mindful Finance technique of examining our experience is useful here. When we give ourselves permission to feel, in the context of our financial lives, we discover our intelligence.
An example of this intelligence at work is worrying about money. Another is trying to avoid thinking about financial matters. Yet another is bouncing around the elation/depression spectrum in relation to money. There are infinite examples of the experiences people have in relation to their finances. Why are these experiences and behaviors intelligent? They may even seem to be examples of a lack of intelligence. Mindful Finance sheds light on these phenomena as intelligent because it recognizes that they arise from legitimate causes.
Something is motivating the way we feel or act in relation to personal finances; and that something is important.
Allowing the space for experiences and their causes to be examined, in a non-judgmental way, combats disempowerment. It is extremely disempowering to get the message that your experience is the wrong experience. Unfortunately, this occurs quite often when people try to work with their finances. Ironically, it is often ourselves who send these negative messages. We label our experience as problematic, rather than intelligent and worthy of curiosity. There is a storyline that feeling conflicted; not knowing what to do; or some other aspect of our relationship with finances is wrong. Mindful Finance rejects that storyline and exposes the fact that all these experiences are normal, common, and intelligent messages.
When we connect to our experiences as intelligence, as worthy of note, we become engaged and regain agency in our financial story. Suddenly we have a lot of information with which to make decisions. This is not necessarily to say that all things get figured out. Rather, the pot of gold here, is that obstacles become more workable. Mindful Finance is the antidote to financial disempowerment.
It is our goal at Highlander to help people feel empowered in their financial lives. This will come about if we can work to bring forth the natural, human intelligence that already exists in each person. In this way, “humanity” is put back into finance. In fact, finance takes its rightful spot as an expression of humanity that we can be proud of.
We are always excited to hear your thoughts on the subject matter we work with. Please feel free to reach out to us and share.
Sol is president of Highlander Financial. He has over 20 years of experience in financial markets and managing businesses.