I was listening to a conversation about money the day that made me think about how personal beliefs on money show up in our private and business dealings.
One woman wanted to know the difference between saving and hoarding. Her question was in the context of the flow of money that comes and goes in our lives. The topic of discussion was about the fear we may have about losing money.
The experts who had set up the conversation to help people with their money issues explained the difference this way: in nature we find squirrels saving their acorns for the winter which is prudent behaviour because it ensures their survival. Hoarding on the other hand can become obsessive because it blocks the flow of money.
It may sound like a simple explanation but often the truth is just that – simple.
In the economic circumstances since 2008 people’s attitude towards money and their behaviour has changed. Fear of loss of money has become more prevalent and in many cases rightly so. Individuals and businesses have shored up their cash and have built up reserves. People are saving to cope with sudden and unexpected cash outflows. Banks, for example, have increased their provisions for bad debts.
Yet the ironic side to all this is that money needs to flow to create more money. Small business owners and start-ups, for instance, need to invest in their new business ideas for products or services. Larger businesses need to release funds for investment projects. The more money that circulates, the better the opportunity for the creation of wealth. Consumer spending increases the flow of money although with cheap credit things can and have got out of hand. In some instances resulting in great loss and the need for debt counselling.
Believes in the purpose of money, the fear of losing it and accumulating it show up in small business operations. An entrepreneur who is tightfisted will be reluctant to invest in expansion. A business owner who believes that money is important for investment may not keep an ever watchful eye on his or her cash flow – and may face consequences that could shut their business.
Some business people believe that sharing their money with the local community instead of hoarding it all will in the long run actually protect their ability to make money. Think of those companies that provide money to develop skills, educate people and house and feed them.
Our attitudes and beliefs about money are not always that evident to us as they are often deep-seated in our psyche but ultimately they show up in our personal and business dealings with important consequences for our lives.