Excerpts from The Sound Of Money™ eBook.
An artful way to talk about money
When most people meet with a financial advisor typically the conversation is centered on bank statements, asset allocation, risk, rate of return, insurance contracts, etc. In other words, all the technical components and analytics which go into building a sound financial portfolio.
The financial professional is usually in control of this conversation. They’re laying out charts, facts, and figures (and using too much jargon); they’re rushing to propose solutions (before they’ve even diagnosed the problem); they’re focusing the conversation around dollar values (instead of personal values)–all because that’s what they’ve been trained to do.
Yet these well-meaning, highly educated advisors are struggling to successfully communicate with their clients. Why? I believe the problem is rooted in the language of money itself. In most cases, as the professional talks, the client smiles and politely nods their head, but internally they’re scrambling to understand what the advisor is saying. The language that encloses the financial world is often unstructured, unorganized, and wrapped up in a lot of dense jargon and technical terms that, like a fortified wall, keep the layman out.
The internet is full of tips and advice to fix this gap in communication. You can find the “9 Great Ways to Prep for a Meeting with a Financial Advisor,” or the “7 Questions You Must Ask Your Financial Advisor,” or “How to Get the Most from Your Financial Advisor.”
But my desire is to not only give you some good questions to ask your financial professional (though I will do that), but rather to give you a different framework and a new vocabulary for talking about money, be it with your professional decision partner (a financial advisor, accountant, or attorney) or your personal decision partner (spouse, family, friend). This way you won’t need to rely on my questions, but rather you will create questions that are unique to you and your relationship with money.
The quality of our relationship with money is dependent on the quality of our ability to think and talk about money. What do I mean when I say “our relationship with money?” I mean how we react to it both emotionally and intellectually when the money subject comes up. Do we find that we lose our temper easily when talking about money, or are we happy to engage in a conversation?
Money is the measurement we use to determine what things and people are worth to us. For example, situations which require whether we buy a shirt on sale, how much we tip our waitress, how much a shiny red sports car is worth to us, or the extent of our charitable inclinations are interwoven with the fabric of money.
We may make hundreds of financial decisions each day – some small, some large. It’s been said that the greatest distance is from the heart to the pocket. In everyone’s pocket, questions of survival are considered. Will I run out of money? Will I have enough to pay for shelter or for food? To understand our view on giving, receiving and owning requires that we look at our life as a whole and all its meanings.
These are questions which have haunted us for a long time. Still, we must ask: What has been our training to interact with money? You may say to yourself, “I had no training in school,” or, “My children have had no training in school.” If that’s the case, then how can we improve our relationship with money?
In 2002, Daniel Kahneman was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on the psychology of judgment, decision-making, and behavioral economics. His empirical findings challenge the assumption of human rationality prevailing in modern economic theory.
Stop here. Go back and read the first sentence in the last paragraph. Does it make you feel comfortable that your financial decisions are based on emotion rather than intellect? Wouldn’t you rather have the ability to translate emotional financial needs into sound financial strategies?
Money can ignite the full range of human emotions ranging from fear, to greed, to everything in between. Many of our negative thoughts are money related — such as worrying about the future — “will I run out of money?” and regret over past financial decisions we have made. Healthy communication about money — an internal dialogue with our self, our loved ones or with financial professionals — requires an understanding of the language of money.
The purpose of this eBook is to give you a methodology using music metaphors to help you communicate more effectively with your family, friends and financial professionals who you rely on for money help.
While most have not studied the language of money in school, many have learned the language of music. You may remember from school or the movie The Sound of Music the music scale- Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do. By knowing these words and re-organizing them you can play or sing an infinite variety of melodies. Wouldn’t it be valuable to learn a set of simple words which correspond to the “Sound of Money?”
Improving our relationship with money is an art form, that’s why looking at money through the lens of music can act like a spoon full of sugar to make the medicine go down. Ultimately our relationship with money directly influences our ability to make sound financial decisions.
Music happens when you organize and understand sound. Sound financial decisions happen when you organize and understand your financial life. I invite you to explore an artful way to talk about money.
Stay tuned for Chapter 1. The Do-Re-Mi- of Money