Well, it’s official. I’m in love. Now, I’m not usually one to speak so publicly and freely about my heart’s desire, but since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, I figured, “What the heck?”
Before I go any further, though, I have to confess that the love of my life right now is a book. Yep. I am completely infatuated with Kate Northrup’s Money: A Love Story, Untangle your Financial Woes and Create the Life you Really Want. And as you can probably tell from the book’s title, this is no ordinary love. (Cue the Sade.)
Sometimes I think the only thing harder than dating as a single mom is managing my money. So, I was both relieved and excited to discover this book which has really helped me get my head (and my heart) around my finances.
Kate Northrup takes what I think is an unconventional approach to money, one that isn’t overrun with shame, guilt, or “preachiness.” And I think it’s due in part to the fact that she’s not a CPA, financial planner or advisor. She is, however, a very successful entrepreneur who’s had some experience with digging herself out of debt.
Her book focuses on providing guidance for her readers to create financial freedom based on developing a healthy relationship with their money. And like any other relationship, it’s fraught with emotion; and it requires some attention and some work, which this book offers through purposefully placed exercises that help you get to the heart of the matter with your money.
That said, this book may not be for everyone. If you shy away from mantras, acknowledging your feelings, or an upbeat attitude, this ain’t the book for you. But if you’re willing to stretch yourself a little bit and let go of any preconceived notions of what a “money book” should be, I think you’ll really enjoy it. So, below are my personal highlights of the book, and I hope you’re intrigued enough to give “my boo” a read.
Probably the most profound concept of this book is found in its title, and it’s the thing that got me hooked. Northrup believes that everyone has their own story to tell around their relationship with money. And she’s not shy about opening up about her own journey. The power in each of our money love stories, according to Kate, is in telling the truth about our hidden belief systems about money, uncovering the lessons and examples we were taught about money as children, and acknowledging the fears and anxieties that we associate with money and then holding ourselves accountable.
When we own our money story, and even tell it in such a way that we are the heroine, as opposed to the victim, we lay down the first brushstrokes for our new vision of financial freedom and peace.
Money: A Love Story by Kate Northrup
This concept really sets the stage for the rest of the book, and the act of actually writing out your money story is like a healthy little dose of therapy. Two things I (reluctantly) uncovered in my own story: 1) I have a problem with receiving without feeling obligated to the giver, and 2) My religious beliefs have contributed to an unconscious negative perception of people who have a lot of money. Whoa.
Communication is key in any relationship, even with our money. And what Northrup delivers is a new way of thinking and talking about money.
In a larger sense, her philosophy is based on abundance and gratitude, rather than lack and deprivation. For many of us, single and married parents alike, our language around money centers on not having enough, or being stressed out about debt. And this book asks us to reframe our language in terms of gratitude and look for ways to attract and save money that don’t feel like punishment. Northrup has even come up with a pretty cool alternative word for bills. (You’ll have to check out the book to get it.)
And yes, this book does encourage mantras. Full disclosure: Mantras haven’t ever really been my thing, but it was kinda fun coming up with my money mantras. My favorite: “I’m a money-makin’ momma!” I even got Gabby in on the fun by letting her use her artistic talents to make money mantra cards for me. Oh, and I have to add here that another upside of this is setting a good example of healthy money habits for my daughter, in the hopes that she won’t have the same anxieties that I do.
In addition to the theory, Northrup offers up some practical steps to improving your relationship with money. Some are easier to adopt than others, and while each of the exercises builds on and compliments the previous one, there are several pieces of advice that you can just try on for size. Much of it is just plain common sense, but the ways it’s presented is what makes all the difference.
To boot, Northrup lets her entrepreneurial freak flag fly by rounding out her book with suggestions for multiple streams of income, including the pros and cons of each, as well as some great resources for sustaining your money love relationship.
Like any relationship, mine with money is a work in progress. So, I think I’ll curl up with my sweetheart for another read.
Taralyn Caudle is a freelance writer and Huntsville native who returned to her hometown to raise her beautiful and energetic daughter, Gabby. When she’s not nurturing the talents of her budding artist, she can be found on the hunt for good food, good music, or a good deal on a pair of shoes. Practically possessed by politics, purple, and Prince, she loves alliteration (obviously) and has been known to quote music lyrics in everyday conversation, from Hall & Oates to
Kanye West Kendrick Lamar. Her current philosophy on life: a little bit of sarcasm and a whole lot of laughter never hurt anybody.