While reading Money: A Love Story by Kate Northrup, I really thought about my relationship to my finances. I did not think my money needed love or attention but she says it is time to take "responsibility for our money, our stories and our lives." Although I have always felt in charge of my working life, I have ignored my IRAs and retirement accounts.
When I was home recently after being away for over a year, I did open all the mail from various banks and institutions and put it in a pile, but did not actually read any of it. A month later, I received a letter that due to non-response, one of my accounts had been moved. I realized it was time to act. I counted up and realized I had eight separate retirement accounts at five different locations. As Northrup would say, I needed a date with my money.
After each job move and sabbatical, I considered consolidating the accounts, but it seemed challenging or was not my priority. However, when I wanted enough money to travel, I was able to create an additional income stream and save in order to get what I wanted. I agree with Northrup that when we say: "'I can't afford that,' it's not about the money. If you really wanted it, you would figure out a way to get it. If it were that VALUABLE to you, you would make it happen." So, I decided having my accounts in one place was important and I spent the better part of three days making calls, filling out forms and getting organized.
I nearly felt that I would need to go back to school and join my friend, Nancy, at her new business management courses in order to manage it all. But every single time I got frustrated, I simply picked up the phone and asked for help. As I worked through all the accounts, it became fun as I realized I had over three times the amount I had originally figured. Northrup says, "If you can't see your value, the world doesn't give value back." The more attention I paid to my money, the more I was discovering! I even found $200 in cash in my own wallet!
I realized I did not need to go back to school, I simply needed to focus. In Forgiveness: 21 Days to Forgive Everyone for Everything by Iyala Vanzant, she says that: "Life follows the energy of our focus and faith." I chose to put my energy into getting organized and suddenly it was simple, fun and I had all the help I needed.
Vanzant continues: "It is always so much easier to blame someone else rather than accepting responsibility for your experiences. Whether it is a breakdown in a relationship or a lack of financial substance or a failure to fulfill a dream or goal, there must be 'someone' to blame."
At first when I tried to get my money organized, I complained that it was too complicated or I did not have time. I blamed the companies for not helping me enough. I realized that I did not need to blame anyone, I just asked for help and did the task one step at a time.
The process is ongoing as there will be more hoops to jump through before all my money arrives at my favorite institution. I am content that my recent date with my money went so well and plan to organize more moments in the future to focus on what is valuable to me.