Black Enterprise Executive Editor-At-Large Alfred Edmond Jr. is an award-winning business and financial journalist, media executive, entrepreneurship expert, personal growth/relationship education coach, and co-founder of Grown Zone, a multimedia initiative focused on personal growth and healthy decision-making. This blog is dedicated to his thoughts about money, entrepreneurship, leadership and mentorship. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @AlfredEdmondJr.
Are you using money, or abusing it?
Money abuse is both common and socially accepted, but that makes it no less destructive to your quality of life, including your finances.
Money is not a toy to be played with and discarded. It’s a tool which, used effectively, can help to enhance your life and help you to reach your goals. If you use it for anything else, you won’t have it for long. Here are common forms of money abuse you need to avoid.
KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES
Your friend or neighbor has the latest designer shoes or smartphone, so you have to have it, too–whether you can afford it or not. This tendency can be exacerbated by engaging social media, where it is easier than ever to see the latest shiny new things that seemingly everyone but you has, including tons of approval in the form of likes, favorites, and emoticons.
Statistics show that you’re likely racing each other to the poor house. Unfortunately, too many of us spend money we don’t have, to buy things we can’t afford, to impress people we don’t know and may not even like. That could be a text-book definition of money abuse. Stay in your lane and live according to what you can afford, not by what others have.
SO-CALLED RETAIL THERAPY
On an emotional high? You go shopping. Feeling down? You go shopping. Somebody made you angry at work? You go shopping. Feeling guilty about going deeper into debt? You go shopping. You are shopping to self-medicate, and if it’s not an addiction (a common byproduct of money abuse), it soon will be. Stop, and get help.
TRYING TO BUY FRIENDSHIP, RESPECT OR AFFECTION
People who don’t feel good about themselves will often spend money to gain the acceptance and approval of others. They are often easily manipulated into spending by their children, romantic interests, and so-called friends. If this is your preferred method of money abuse, you always fall for, If you really care, you’ll spend (give, loan) the money.
If you are using money for anything other than things you’ve budgeted for and can truly afford without taking on debt or missing payments, you are probably engaging in money abuse. Check yourself before you wreck your finances.