I have always been numbers oriented: as a child, when I was introduced to baseball, I immediately got hooked on following all the statistics. I pored over the numbers with utter fascination. This hitter got THIS many hits and THIS many RBIs and THIS many steals! For me, watching a baseball game of my favorite team, the San Francisco Giants, was as much about seeing how the numbers unfolded (and of course, the ultimate number in professional sports, the “W” number: for Wins) as it was about actually enjoying the game. I can even recall one time when I was especially fascinated with baseball card guides, which listed the dollar value of different baseball cards. I found these numbers to be like magic. I even transcribed, from the book, an entire page of such numbers… enumerating the value of each player’s card. This was when I was probably under 10 years old. Despite the tedium of this, I recognized that I had both the fascination and the patience to pore over these numbers.
Fast forward about a decade and a half to me being an adult making my way in the world. As a professional musician piecing together an income, when I discovered spreadsheets, I quickly started to organize my finances using them. This satisfied my meticulous personality… and it helped me I know there was enough money to pay bills!
At around that time, I was introduced to the bucket system of money management. I was at an event called the Millionaire Mind Intensive, and they recommended that you separate your money in the following fashion (to the best of my recollection):
- 10% Financial Freedom Fund (such as investing)
- 10% Long-Term Savings for Spending (such as vacations, buying a house, etc)
- 10% Education (such as workshops and personal growth)
- 10% Fun (such as having fun 😉 )
- 10% Giving (ie Tithing)
- 50% Necessities (such as rent/mortgage and other bills)
The moment I heard this idea, I was hooked, as I envisioned a sensible and methodical approach to working with my money (and having it work for me).
Thus my money management fetish was born. I managed my money in this way for awhile to the best of my ability. Sadly, overtime my commitment waned, and I basically let go of it for several years.
Then, about 3 1/2 years ago, a read a book by Tony Robbins called “Money: Master the Game” (which I discussed here and here). We had recently succeeded in paying off some debt, and these two things plus the desire to plan for the future fueled my renewed motivation to get back into the money management game. I’m happy to say I haven’t looked back.
I love the satisfaction of putting my money into various purposes. Every dollar gets a job, and I admit, it’s always kind of thrilling to decide what those jobs will be. I think I also feel a sense of empowerment by controlling what I do with my money. It gives me a sense of being in control of my destiny. I also love the idea of having my money go to work for me, of “paying myself first,’ the concept made popular by Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.”
Clearly, there are people who do not love spreadsheets who still do really well with their money. Clearly there are other aspects of financial success. Yet for me, this area of life has been enormously satisfying, and sort of an ongoing passion that is very purposeful and fulfilling to me.
In a way, I’m still that kid poring over baseball statistics, and feeling the thrill and meaning of the numbers as they change (and, at least for some of them, hopefully grow).
I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same.