Make room for nuance in money.

I have been having quite a bit of complex conversations about making money, having money, not having money, and the economic systems we coexist in. I asked myself the following questions and I invite you to ask them to yourselves as well:
 
Are you afraid of not having money?
 
Or, are you really afraid of having money?
 
In my work as a financial educator, most people fear the latter. I've been more and more curious as to why that is and have asked a couple of people: clients, friends, colleagues, who have the fear of generating wealth. Below is what they shared.
 
“I don't want to become driven by greed and power. I fear I will be like those people.”
 
“Capitalism is so exploitive, and I don't want to be a part of an exploitive system.”
 
“I would be so overwhelmed if I had so much money. I wouldn't even know what to do with it. I rather just have enough for my basic needs.”
 
“I feel like I don't deserve to have money when there is so much financial suffering and trauma around me.”
 
These are real things that people share with me. I have, and sometimes still do, feel this way as well. This is why I want to make room for nuance when it comes to money and the economic system we live in (i.e. Capitalism).
 
Dr. Tamsin Lee, a health justice consultant and Founder of Influential Point, shared on Instagram:
 
“The binary misconception of capitalism leads us to forget the complexity of existing in capitalist countries - it shames us into believing we need to suffer.”
 
That last part, the shame. So much shame in even having a nuanced discussion about how we can thrive in capitalism, let alone exist. 
 
I've shared in previous money love letters that I do not believe in the binary thinking about how capitalism is the problem of all this suffering. Capitalism, along with other economic systems (and money itself) are inherently neutral. 
 
It is the people behind these systems that are not neutral. 
 
People are afraid to generate wealth because they are afraid to benefit from capitalism. But truthfully, when we…
  • martyr ourselves financially by giving away money we don't have
  • undercharge by pricing our services low
  • work for “free”
  • take on other's financial responsibilities that we are in no place to take on
  • make enough money just for our own basic needs, without considering our neighbor(s)
have you ever thought that maybe, capitalism is actually benefiting from you?
 
What we tend to miss is that martyring, that suffering is precisely a part of the system we all want to resist.
 
Of course, this is all very nuanced which is why I want to make more room for more of that nuance, more of that complexity as to how we can coexist in capitalism. This is not to shame or blame, but more to get curious and reflect. 
 
I do want to transform capitalism, and transform any economic system that is rooted in exploitive practices and shame. I want to see everyone here, especially QTBIPOC, thriving abundantly. 
 
I believe it is possible that we, as a collective, can do that.
 
Because when we cultivate wealth and financial wellbeing for ourselves, it radiates collectively. When we look at money beyond just meeting our “basic needs” we can redistribute the wealth we have, without martyring ourselves in the process, and take care of one another.
 
I want to share Resource Generation's Transformative Investment Principles and invite you to read over each principle. Feel free to reply to this email and share what resonates (or doesn't) with you. Each principle hits home for me and brings me so much joy to see that there are folks out there re-imagining an economic system that is restorative, abundant, and nourishing for all.
 
May you reclaim abundance, for yourself, for your neighbor(s), and for your ancestors.