In 2006 I realised that while I was pretty conversant with the global economy my true financial literacy was very poor. By this I specifically mean that I, like almost everyone else, made a series of unquestioned assumptions about money, exactly what it is, what its functions are, it’s origins and it’s energetic patterns, (Like Yin and Yang currencies) and how this affected me and the world.
I was determined to change this.
Here is how I see financial literacy at the level of truth (Source truth) in the world today. Probably less than .01% of the population actually really ‘gets’ money and our economic system.(And sadly this 0.01% are not the people leading the national economies, the treasuries etc.)
To be clear, because money evokes such complex emotions in all people, we go through maturing stages in our relationship to and understanding of money, just as hopefully we mature towards increasing wisdom as we age.
Since the majority of the developed world is at a stage of success, achievement, accumulation, and status focus, then our view on money is informed by this. How much we have or do not have, how to get more, and what to do with it. There are many if not nearly all ‘economists’ who have a view of the world of money only through this lens. They can speak money jargon with fluency, bamboozling most people in the process, but do they understand money in its essence?
To give you an example, I attended a Queensland State government function this week to discuss ways to reduced an $80 billion debt. Only 3 options were on the table. Raise taxes, cut spending or sell assets. (or a combination of the 3) This demonstrates a world view that is limited to a very linear and scientific understanding of money. This is not a judgement, simply a statement of fact.
People cannot be until they are, as Clare Graves would say. Or as Einstein said, we cannot solve today’s problems with the same level of thinking that created them. (Development of our leaders and economists is critical if we want to create better systems.)
More people are moving towards the inquiry of wanting to level the playing field, to shift our focus of success as being measured by how much wealth we have, to how the whole community thrives. (Interestingly when talking about wealth, the wealthy are measured by their assets and the poor are measured by their income.) This shift increases our level of complexity of thinking, and invites the possibility of complimentary and community based currencies.
My good friend and colleague, David Martin, of M-Cam, is the creator of a new perspective on accounting called integral accounting. The intention of Integral Accounting is to shift the view of how we ‘measure’ value from the single lens of money to one where other equally important value metrics are considered.
Let me give you a practical example. I have always valued my health above almost anything. (I am a very miserable sick person.) During this last few years while I have suffered extreme financial stress, I have recognised that I simply cannot put a value on my outstanding health. Give me health and vitality any day. Priceless. (I know many very wealthy people who have serious disease–and no amount of money can buy them health.)
If we are to progress as humans in Universe, then we need to progress our financial literacy.
Money is one of the 2 great taboo’s. (Sex is the other one) Our society has layered everything to do with money with shame, guilt, fear…to untangle from this and become neutral about our relationship with money is a life’s work.
Financial literacy, like any major subject, is not something to be explored simply with the mind. We have to be willing to dive deep into our emotions, as well as the source code of money and our economic system. This process is developmental and requires commitment.
My journey into my relationship with money started for many reasons. Mostly through pain, fear, scarcity and the simple knowing that I was clueless. I would still say I have a long way to go, yet I know that I am now far far ahead of most people.
Much of my work now involves teaching and applying integral accounting tools, and collaborating with businesses and communities on new ways of tackling some of our pressing problems that always involve money and capital raising, and doing this in a way that honours all parties and all value metrics. It is experimental, it is work at the frontier. We are making up the models. We have to, because the models we have are not working.
If you are interested in a more comprehensive understanding of financial literacy, an understanding that will in the process free you of the fear, shame and guilt around money and your value, then please let me know by leaving a comment or sending an email.
I do hope this short series has been useful for you, please do share it around. The world will be better for it.