September 11, 2018

Interacting With Money


Worry-free Money begins with the idea that “life is messy and expensive and never follows the rules” and that everything can feel like a need rather than a want. Challenging questions to ask oneself are raised such as, “What are my lifestyle expectations as I compare myself to others?” and “Who am I working to keep up with financially or socially?”

The writer, Shannon Lee Simmons, also discusses the idea of being aware of the effect of social media on our expectations with high social media use possibly leading to higher credit card debt. Such actions can lead to motivation that comes from ‘I see, therefore I want,’ and may challenge us financially. What are the challenges to be aware of when we compare ourselves to others?

Simmons moves away from any kind of traditional rigid budget as a way to control spending and uses the concept of “Hard Limit” instead that sets up four categories of spending: fixed expenses—money to be paid out each month; meaningful savings—money to increase net worth; short-term savings—meant to keep you out of debt; and spending money—what is left over for everyday spending. This system is a different process from working to keep tabs on how money was spent in the variety of categories of the more traditional budget.

While plans can be made for spending after-tax income, there are also the challenges of social obligations, compensating for feelings of inadequacy, and those famous moments when a purchase looked good at the time it was made but, at the same time, was not a good choice for spending money.

Throughout the book, examples of each concept are presented with facts and charts to explain the different ways positive solutions can be made using Simmons’s Hard Limit concepts. While planning using her four categories, she notes that it is also important to involve all members of the household in such planning. When all family members are included in the discussion, it is possible to plan for the future goals of each person. When life presents options that may not have been considered, it may be easier to make choices that will be more favourable, financially, for everyone.

The final pages have easy-to-use calculators, described in the book with examples that illustrate how to make the numbers work for you. The book is easy reading, is realistic and practical, and contains good examples to consider, regardless of your income.

Worry-free Money: The Guilt-free Approach to Managing Your Money and Your Life.
By Shannon Lee Simmons
Collins, 2017
Paperback, 328 pages
Available as an ebook
Available from public libraries