We’re talking “broke,” “poor” and “choice” here gentle readers. Get your minds out of the gutter now.
Anyhow, I hate the words broke and poor. Unless you’re using the word to describe a lack of funds that is impacting one’s ability to provide food, shelter and safety, I find using those words insulting to people who are truly down on their luck and unable to provide for themselves. Being broke or poor is a serious issue.
I also find that using the word broke or poor to imply a lack of discretionary funds really distances us from the personal responsibility we should all have around our finances.
Because you are not broke. You are not poor. You have made a choice. And there is no reason to hide that.
It’s easy to say “I can’t go [insert thing that costs money here] because I’m broke/poor right now.” But usually what we mean when saying that is “I have allocated all my discretionary funds for this week/month/whatever, and I do not want to change that to [thing that costs money] with you.”
And that is hard.
Because in this world of spend, spend, spend and showing how much you value others by spending money on or with them, it’s easy to feel that by saying “I choose not to spend money on/with you” you are really saying “I do not choose you.”
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Limiting the funds we’re spending on discretionary things, choosing to spend the majority of our income creating personal fiscal solvency is something we’re proud of. We shouldn’t have to hide behind the words “broke” and “poor” as if they are things that just happened to us one day, that we can’t control. We made choices that got us where we are, and we are making choices that will get us where we want to be.
So one of the challenges I’m working through, that I’ll extend to all of you, is to stop hiding behind the words “broke” and “poor” and start being more honest with yourselves and your loved ones. When someone asks you to join them for an event or activity that doesn’t fit into your budget, be honest with them and yourself and say “sorry, that doesn’t fit into my budget right now” – and if you truly want to spend time with them, offer a free/cheap/delayed alternative.
Instead of a restaurant dinner, suggest a dinner party at home. A night in instead of a night out. Or just say it doesn’t fit into the budget this month, but let’s set a date next month when we’ll be able to plan our budget better around it.
Choose responsiblity. Choose to show your loved ones you value them in ways that aren’t tied to money. Choose to wear your choices proudly!
For as long as you actually have enough resources to be able to make those choices, you are rich.