I recently attended Social Media Week in LA. One session I went to discussed knowing your brand inside and out as if it were not a thing, but a person. What color does your brand like? What was he/she like as a child? What is their favorite drink?
It got me thinking about my financial life. Currently, if my financial “brand” had an identity, it would be that it’s bi-polar.
This could be my Libra-ness playing a role, or the fact that just about everything in life seems to be a paradox: “You’re never too old to learn” vs. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” For example.
Which is better? Which is right?
Abundance vs. Artificial Economic Environment of Scarcity
I was watching this girl who has a youtube channel one Saturday afternoon. I went down the rabbit hole of her long-winded explanation of things in her life. To me, she is straight out of central casting as a pretty 20-something vegan girl who speaks in The Secret and yoga-ish terms about her life and how she doesn’t really plan for anything. “The Universe” just sort of “takes care of her,” even when she moved to Hawaii with only $60 to her name.
And I’ll be damned if she didn’t encounter a series of events which saved her ass, including somehow finding her way to living in a tree house in Hawaii, for free!
That takes serious balls (or just being 20-something). If I moved to Hawaii you best believe I’d have a year’s worth of money saved (at least), as well as several job interviews lined up, a place to live, contacts, etc.
But is there something to maybe taking more chances? To not hold on so tightly to money as a means of protecting my future? Maybe things will work out if I just trust that they will?
Instead of living with this abundance mindset of spending freely and not having a financial plan, I have adopted the artificial economic environment of scarcity mindset.
It’s how I decided to approach my financial life when I got my full-time job. Instead of suddenly being able to spend a lot on clothes, eating out, and travel (save for the big trip I just took), I would keep my lifestyle very similar to how it was when I was struggling financially. Besides, I was already used to that lifestyle.
This has worked wonders for my net worth, but is it really the right money mindset to have? What if a great opportunity came up that cost money, but I was still stuck in the mode of, “I can’t afford it.” Or what if I wanted a dramatic lifestyle change that could involve taking a leap into unknown job territory, but I’m now too afraid to leave my cushy job.
Side Hustle vs. Simplicity
Saturday I spent 10 hours helping my friend Jared with his corporate team building company, refereeing grass volleyball. It was really fun and Jared is a great “boss,” but it was a long, sun-filled 90-degree day with almost no shade. But on the plus side, I’m $250 richer and have a spectacular farmer’s tan. lol!
This did mean, however, that I had to cram all my exercise, grocery shopping, gardening, cleaning, and blogging into one day.
Since these events don’t come up that often, it’s really not that big of a deal, but I did plan on side hustling more this summer to get to a financial goal I had set for myself for the end of the year.
This kind of goes against my dream of living a more simple, slow-paced life.
I think for me in this area it ebbs and flows, so it’s not too bad to have a little of both at different “seasons” of the year. I kind of just know when to cut back on the hustlin’ to just chill for awhile.
Burning the Boat vs. Having a Plan B
I’m too lazy to look up which battle in history “burning the boats” came from, but in essence, it means when you arrive by boat for battle, you burn them, meaning you can’t run back to the boat in case you are being defeated. You will fight to the death…or victory.
I’ve heard many-an-expert give this kind of advice when you are pursuing something you’re passionate about. You shouldn’t have a Plan B, because you won’t give Plan A all your effort.
Is this the way to go, or is having a plethora of “options” a better idea?
I definitely fall into more of the Plan B category. I like to have backups of backups. This is probably why I continue to side hustle, because if something does happen to my job, I have immediate work available to at least help out a little. Plus a good network of people, skills, etc. But, am I putting my eggs in too many baskets and not focusing all my attention in one area of my life where I could perhaps excel, instead of just doing perhaps an OK job?
Invest in Myself or Help vs. Save
Here is an area where I really struggle the most. Right now my hair is too long (for my liking). Although I have “broken up” with my old stylist, the new one really isn’t cheap either. When my hair gets too long it looks lifeless and stringy, so I keep it shorter to add body. Right now I’ve been wearing it in a ponytail, which isn’t as attractive (I don’t think) to save money not getting my hair cut this month.
But then I go to events like social media week, or a networking event my company has planned this week, and I do want to look my best.
I’m always struggling with not giving a sh*t what someone thinks Vs, “Hey, I want to look as attractive as possible.” Maybe not even for anyone else, but for my own self-confidence.
Overall I do pretty well in that I don’t spend a lot on clothes and get a lot of mileage out of the ones I have. And I almost always do my own pedicures and brow tweezing. But is around $65 every six weeks for a haircut OK to spend? I still grapple with that.
Of course, there are other areas of duality besides beauty, like spending money on blog-related help, signing up for some kind of class, business coaching and/or therapy, or even spend more on drinks or dinner out as a way of maintaining relationships.
Can you relate to any of these paradoxes? Which ones do you struggle with the most?