Stacey Lowman believe's that lots of us can feel better and do better with money. She's the founder of Pachira Money and in a new collaboration with Future Debates, together we'll be exploring how the way we spend and save can be aligned to the values we live by and the goals we aspire to achieve. When we are proud of the way we manage our finances, we can have a profound effect on our own lives, our communities and the planet.
To get us started, Pachira interviewed Paul about his own relationship with money. We'll be following this up with some joint Future Debates and a podcast too.
Pachira: How would you describe your relationship with money?
Paul: My relationship with money has evolved as I’ve experienced different life events. When I was younger I was definitely a saver, an attitude instilled into me by my father, and I think it’s this that has meant I’ve never really worried about money. I have been in debt at times, but I’ve always kept it to manageable levels and not lived beyond my means. My military career was both secure and well paid, which undoubtedly helped. In the last few years I’ve relaxed that attitude. Partly because there has been very little financial incentive to save using traditional means e.g. savings accounts, and partly because my life has given me more responsibilities as a house owner and parent, both of which can be expensive! I’ve also started to question what I’ve been saving my money for.
Pachira: I know what you mean. It’s much easier (and more fun) to save when you have specific and personal reasons to do it that really motivate you. How would you like to improve your relationship with money now?
Paul: I still waste money, mainly in small ways. Something as simple as not buying a train ticket in advance when it’s cheaper for example. There’s an old saying that ‘if you look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves’ and that largely still holds. So becoming better at that!
Pachira: Lots of people give themselves a hard time about that sort of spending and there is usually a cheaper way to do something. But, you have to balance the search for a bargain with knowing if the effort is really worth it to you. How about thinking of some positive behaviours or emotions that you’re proud of in relation to your finances?
Paul: I’m proud (if that’s the right word) of not being scared about my financial future. There was a time when I would top up my pension contributions or worry about house prices with an eye on the long term, but I think that the world is changing at such a pace that by the time I would consider myself ‘retired’ the notion of a pension may well not exist. This could be scary but I think it provides us all with great opportunities to explore alternative ways of securing our future. Best financial decision? Saving the whole of my student loan one year! Worst one? Cars. I’ve only ever owned 4 in 20 years of driving and I ended up scrapping two of them (one bought new) because I didn’t look after them that well. I spent a good deal of money on repairs in the hope of retaining some resale value - a waste of time!
Pachira: Ha! I’m not a driver and I guess one of the benefits of that is not having to spend money on cars! They are a huge drain and not the best for the environment either. On that note, What could we all do with money to make the world a better place?
Paul: There are plenty of opportunities to spend money in more ethical and sustainable ways that will directly or indirectly benefit society. Whether saving or spending I believe we have a lot of personal power to decide who gets our cash and although I’ve made some progress I can do more. The institutional divestment movement from unethical and unsustainable industries is gaining traction, and we can adopt the same approach as individual investors and consumers. I hope Pachira Money can help me continue along this path!
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