When Money Gets Personal


Ah, money. Kind of a many-splendored thing. But also pretty complicated.

We’ve talked before in this space about how money can be a lot of different things to people: happiness, failure, success, anxiety, shame, security, potential. But we haven’t yet talked about how money can get personal.

What happens when money gets so personal as to mean caring, generosity, kindness, or even love?

Let’s look at that emotional range when it comes to business. Does that sound contradictory? You’d be surprised.

We’ve been talking recently about Money Confidence, and two weeks ago covered the elements that create it: Human Capital, Investing, Financial Planning, Risk Management, and Goals. Let’s take a look at money emotions and Human Capital.

Human Capital is about you and your potential to earn. To maximize your income, you usually have to ask for more money, whether it is in an initial salary negotiation, or a request for a higher salary later on. Chances are, your employer is not going to enter a negotiation with the highest number they are willing to pay. You have to ask for it.

Let’s go back to the emotions around money. Emotions and feelings can have even more power when we’re not aware of them. Imagine what can happen in a salary negotiation if you feel money means caring, generosity, kindness, or even love.

First, you may feel loyalty to the company, or you may feel that the company has been generous, kind, and loving for hiring you in the first place. So how could you dare ask them for even more money than they have kindly and lovingly offered to pay you in the first place?

Suppose you have been working somewhere for a long time and have made a great contribution. You feel loyalty and some ownership for the growth and progress in your area. It is your baby. So how could you dare ask for more money for doing what feels like a true labor of love?

Here’s the problem. Taking care of yourself and your family — your real babies — is going to require, in most cases, income. Income is set according to a market, meaning, there is a price associated with the value of the work that you do in a larger context. If you add more value, the price gets higher. That is business.

So you can love your work, you can love what you do, you can love what you have accomplished, and you can love where you work. But that’s where the love begins and ends.

When it comes to getting paid for what you are worth, that’s business. That’s income maximization. That’s developing your human capital. That’s being able to take care of your family, meet your life’s goals, fulfill your dreams, and maybe even provide a foundation for the dreams of future generations.

So when it comes to Human Capital and maximizing your income, love your job and what you do. But don’t be afraid to ask to be paid for what you are worth. Love yourself first.

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