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‘Tis the Season of Gratitude

Jessica Lanning

I’m grateful that we have a season to remember to be grateful because otherwise I’m guilty of forgetting to be grateful.  Life gets busy…things go wrong…and I can make all the excuses in the world.  But truly, there’s no reason not be grateful for something every day, even if all we can conjure is gratitude for oxygen.  Some days the trick is how to do this around money.

Being grateful around money and finances

Being that this is a financial planning blog and being that I happen to lean toward the overly practical (in case you hadn’t noticed), here are some ideas about being grateful around finances this season. 

The nature of money and wealth is that most people, no matter their net worth, think they are “middle class.”   I kid you not.  Those with $2 million in the bank and those with $50 in the bank all think they are middle class.  Our human nature somehow always finds someone “above” us with a greater net worth and someone “below” us.    You probably have more to be grateful for than you realize.

A fair number of people are in a “negative space” around money these days—they’ve made less than they wanted this year, they have more debt than they care to carry, they have less in reserves than what makes them comfortable, they’re worried about job security, and the list goes on.  Whatever space you’re living in—positive or negative—find gratitude.  The trick is, no matter how “well” you’re doing or how “poorly,” the trick is to be present—a simple task, but not easy.

The best ideas I’ve gotten are these:

  1. Every time you write a check or pay a bill online, think, “I’m grateful I have the money to pay this bill.”  What happened in the moment before or the moment after is unimportant. In that moment, you had plenty of money to pay the bill.
  2. Remember times in the past when money was tight and think, “I made it through that, I will make it through this.  I’m grateful for that experience to help inform this one.”
  3. Every time you spend “frivolously,” be grateful for whatever you got and be grateful you could pay for it.  In other words, don’t beat yourself up for the frivolous purchase.
  4. Every time you make a decision not to buy something because you “don’t have the money,” instead reframe your thinking to how you are supporting your financial well-being and be grateful for that decision.
  5. Every time money comes your way—a paycheck, a gift, a reimbursement, a coupon you use—say a prayer of gratitude.
  6. Every time you see money in your accounts, be grateful. 

When all else fails, start making lists of things you are grateful for that money truly can’t buy:  family, friends, their health and yours, joy, love, compassion, hope, this moment.  When that fails, there’s always oxygen.