Written by Karen D. Swim
“As she rounded the second flight of stairs, she caught sight of something on the step. Folded green paper. She paused, leaned over. Twenty dollars. As her fingers brushed the bill, a current of air swirled behind her.
The man looked down at her body, sprawled awkwardly over the steps. A twenty placed at eye level. A human trap.”
The passage above is from the fictional book, “Exit Strategy,” written by Kelley Armstrong (This author apparently writes otherwordly fiction but this particular book is a good old fashioned murder mystery). In this passage a serial killer uses a folded twenty to divert a victim’s attention. This particular victim was on her way to work and had already been reminded of her money problems. As she mentally ran through solutions to help her afford a new dress, the money appeared in her path. Transfixed by the bill, and laughing at her good fortune she never looked above or below her to ensure she was safe in a deserted stairwell. Her focus was on the money alone.
While you may not meet an end as bleak as the one described in this fiction read, it is possible to fall prey to this very real human trap. We are besieged with the promise of easy riches. We live in a day and age where anyone can seemingly be rich or famous. Videos, emails, and advertisements place dollars at eye level in hopes that you will take the hook. If the opportunity for money intersects with your point of need, you may be tempted to grab that dangling carrot, without considering the consequences. And yes, there are consequences, and a real danger if you do not raise your eyes above eye level.
Money plays a big role in all of our lives. It is the trading commodity used to buy the goods and services that we need and want. We must be prudent with how we spend, save and invest this commodity. Our checkbooks are a mirror to our soul as they reveal what is truly important in our lives. Yet, how we make that money is an equally important decision that should not be made based on dollar signs and decimal points alone.
Before you reach for the money, here are three things you should consider:
- What strings are attached to the currency? Let’s face it there’s always a string! You may not see them all at once but they are there. A large salary may have a string attached to lots of travel and time away from your family. A business opportunity may be attached to giving up sole control. You cannot avoid the strings but you can choose which ones you will allow in your life.
- Who’s holding the cash (and strings)? I have known many people who reached for the money only to discover later that they were in business with a boss, investor or partner who neither shared their vision nor values. The promise of financial relief quickly gave way to misery. It is easy to make a financial decision but harder to walk away from one.
- Is the face value the real value? I learned this lesson early in my corporate career. I added up the hours I was working and discovered that my six figure salary was not so attractive after all. With the hours I was working, my hourly salary was equivalent to flipping burgers. As an entrepreneur you may take a client job that seems valuable only to realize it would have been more profitable to walk away.
It’s nice to believe that money comes easy but in reality it rarely happens that way. Even lottery winners have had to make trade-offs for their windfall. Most unprepared for the “easy” riches end up broke again. I am definitely not anti-money but believe that when you allow money alone to motivate your decisions you may end up with a pocketful of regret.
Have you ever made a decision based on money that you later regretted? How do you maintain balance when making decisions that involve money? Add your two cents (or twenty dollars) right there in the comments. Your money is good here.
Dollar bill stair image ©Alexander Dolgin | Dreamstime.com
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