Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Spirituality - Money - Can they be mixed?

Picture a very spiritual being. What do you see? Are they in robes, perhaps carrying an empty bowl? Do they live in an ashram? Are they kind and understanding? Are they at peace with themselves and the world around them? Do they exhibit ethical and admirable traits? Do they take the time to care for others?

Now visualize a financially wealthy person. What does he/she look like? Are they surrounded by glitz and glitter? Are the self-absorbed? Do the act superficially? Do they look down at others? Do they have a "what's in it for me" mentality? Are they ethical? Do they take time to look out for others?

I grew up with the belief that money = snotty, mean, self-absorbed. We all had to look out for ourselves, and money was a key to be successful. Heck, it was the definition of success. As long as what you did was legal, money came first. Somewhere this idea got stuck in me. Intellectually, I don't buy it, but deep inside I wonder.

I want to take this time to thank Fred Frailey, the editor of Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine, for helping to dispel this myth.

A few years ago, I received this magazine as a gift from my father. To my surprise I actually liked it! As much as I love having money and fret about my absurdly low salary over the past few years, reading about money has always been a struggle for me. Ironically, I love numbers and minored in math. Yet, educating myself on investing had always been a chore for me. I did it because I had to. Like cleaning the bathtub--just something that needs to be done.

Reading Kiplinger and Mr. Frailey's editorials, I am always impressed by the ethics and high standards they uphold. (Something I did NOT expect from a financial magazine.) There is something pure and honest about the articles and editorials. I've grown to actually enjoy reading it, and appreciate all the tips and advise to help my retirement and current life.

I was particularly impressed just this past week when I emailed Kiplingers regarding their "Green Issue." You see, the October issue focused on how to invest wisely in the current environment. The magazine, and Mr. Frailey, were very careful to keep the politics out of it. This is a money magazine and not a political one. I appreciated how they managed to look at wise investments, especially in companies geared to handle global warming, regardless of one's political standing. The authors specifically spelled out that it didn't matter whether-or-not you believed in global warming. Financially what mattered was what most people thought and how companies would respond to that. New laws, especially in CA were sited, and how this will impact the finances of various companies.

Well, last week I checked out the Kiplinger web site and found a number of angry readers calling the magazine "left wing Democrat B.S." I was confused as they were so careful to keep politics out of the picture. One guy even proudly stated that he tossed the magazine in "to the city landfill. (And no, it did not go in the recycling bin.)"

Aside from the fact that this guy acted like a total jerk--even if you don't believe in global warming, why not recycle? It sure as heck can't hurt!

Anyway, I emailed the magazine just to say how much I had appreciated the articles and insights they offered--while staying neutral politically (which is good for me, since I err on the left and the editor is to the right). I mentioned that I was inspired to invest directly into the stock market for the first time in my life from this very issue.

Barely 24 hours passed and the editor, Fred Frailey, emailed me back. He said that he had received literally 100's of emails regarding this issue (and yet he managed to email me back personally!). He, also, provided some financial advise and wanted to be sure I first got to know the stock market via mutual funds and suggested Vanguard no load funds.

Now I've been with Vanguard for over 20 years, but he didn't know that. What struck me, was that he took the personal time to thank me and make sure I was investing wisely. That's what I call going the extra mile. This man (obviously very interested in money and doing well for himself) showed consideration, caring, understanding, and kindness.

It touched my heart to see someone so involved with the making of money show such thoughtfulness to a stranger. Hummmmm, maybe spirituality and money can mix.

Love Much,


Today is the first day of the rest of your life!


Yogamum said...

I too grew up with the belief that people with money were self-absorbed, selfish, etc. To my surprise I married someone with a talent for making money and I've had to reexamine all of those old beliefs! It's an eyeopener, for sure.

I love what you said about Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine, and how great that Fred Frailey actually emailed you. I'll pick up a copy at the bookstore and check it out -- it sounds great.

GlamSpirit said...

I definitely think they can mix and I'm really happy to hear that you've had such a good experience with Kiplinger. This tells me that people do care about what they do. how neat!
I first learned to re-look at my relationship with money when I read some of the books by Louise Hay. I find that changing my thoughts about it just feels good and I'm not so attached to money. Money comes and money goes and I seem to have exactly what I need. What a concept.
Thanks for this post!

Everyday Yogini said...

How wonderful that Fred Frailey emailed you back personally. I absolutely believe that most people in finance really want the best for people (okay, well, I'm a CPA as well as a Yoga Teacher, so I might be a little biased.)

Our country's system of accountability is one of the best in the world, and designed for the investor to be well informed and protected. And we know Fred is helping!!

Now I'm going to have to pick up a copy!

Total Health Yoga - Kris said...

Thanks for all of your comments. May 2008 be filled with financial and spiritual abundance for all of us :-)