Understanding your Spenditude (the way you think about money)

Understanding your Spenditude, a life-changing attitude to money, will have impacts on both individuals and businesses.

Many a business starts through solving a problem – from Google making searching better or Uber improving ride-share, to the inventor of a widget that helps solve a smaller issue like in this picture (not a small problem if you are the dog). It would be a stretch to suggest that everyone starts their business with problem-solving solutions in mind. But it would also be a stretch to suggest that they are purely focused on money and profit.

If you have not seen Simon Sinek’s TED Talk ‘start with why’ then I would suggest it is worth a look, his insight about successful business alludes to this very point. He suggests that the most successful businesses do not sell “what” they can do for you or even “how” they do it, but their “why”. Sinek explains that people will buy why you do something, before they will buy what.  His point is quite compelling.

My question is similar, but different. If the best organisations solve problems and tell us why, and their focus is never purely on profit, then why do we, as individuals, often aspire to this largely impossible goal of wealth and money? What is it about having lots of money that means we are working towards that? What is the why?

Every study you ever read about older people or those facing serious illness, talks of friends and family, relationships, experiences and community, health – and rarely, if ever, wealth. However, collectively we seem to fail to listen. Why? Is it because we believe that more wealth would iron out all the niggles of our life? Is it because we want more for our children or grandchildren? There are plenty of examples of wealthy people whose children are unhappy and without purpose, or who have wealth and yet make very poor decisions (Michael Jackson, Prince Andrew?).

If you are sitting in economy class you are looking towards those business class seats with envy. But if you are in business are you looking at first class or private jets? In his book ‘The Broken Ladder’, Keith Payne argues that we look up the ladder (not down) and that affluence is in the eye of the beholder. No matter where we sit on the spectrum of wealth, there is always someone to compare ourselves to. For all the joy that money supposedly brings, often we approach wealth from a platform of not having enough or knowing what we are working towards.

Financial advisers, money coaches, banks, mortgage brokers, and all the other financial experts have historically encouraged us to be focused on wealth, greed and having more. Why? Certainly, there is a level of wealth that irons out some of the issues, and having more makes more of those daily pressures go away. Having your own chef means you can eliminate grocery shopping and cooking, a private driver means never struggling to find a park again or wait for a taxi. But is this the goal? To remove the things that bother us in life? What level of wealth would make them all go away? Is this the purpose? The combination of comparing ourselves to others (thanks social media) and the (limited) financial education we receive comes from a place of budgets, numbers and greed rarely makes us start with why. Regardless of whether we are talking to customers, family, or ourselves, perhaps we should consider his ‘golden circle’ with why at the centre. The goal is never money alone.

But where to start? Your spenditude is the first step. Your attitude to money is a key element of finding your why. Bringing awareness helps us make better decisions, and reduces the risk of insanity (through chasing an impossible goal). The most successful habit change programs in the world (think AA etc) start with awareness.

If you have ever wondered why we do what we do around money then I would encourage you to look at chapter 5 of our book, Spenditude. The why is often sitting below the surface and influenced by life experience, focus, family, values and culture (to name a few).

Why should you listen to us? Well, our why is about bringing awareness of your spenditude, to help people focus on their own values and purpose to put their financial future firmly in their own hands. Our logo, with your head, heart and finances all connected aims to represent this. Yes, money can be a driving force, but when we stop and think about our why money is rarely, if ever, our true purpose.

Have you considered that your own attitudes to money may also be impacting on the way you run your business. People that are good with money (we call them Defenders) bring their financial attitudes to their business. Spenders need to pick up those defender habits quickly because all those little things tend to add up quickly.

What’s your Spenditude? What’s your why?

This post was written by Paul Gordon and Janine Robertson of Spenditude.

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