Do you have anything you’re embarrassed about, but rarely have to face? For me, it’s money.

I’m not terrible with money, but I’m not good with it either. I am payed a perfectly reasonable salary that I should have already turned into great wealth, but I have not. I’ve spent some time thinking about the root of this issue.

There is one other relevant fact, which is likely the key: I have managed many millions of dollars at work and have done so very well.1 I also enjoy reading and learning about finance, economics, etc., so it’s not willful ignorance. I think the problem is that I have no detachment when I manage my own money.

When it’s my own money, it’s also my hopes and dreams. It’s a way to make my wife happy,2 and it’s a way to buy shortcuts. It’s a way to fix problems, and it’s a way to buy happiness.

So, in my first attempt3 to fix myself, I am on a personal spending freeze. I will do the hard work first, before spending money. I will form and demonstrate a new habit4 before spending money to make it easier.5 Starting tomorrow,6 I won’t buy my lovely bride stuff on a whim.

I need to fix this money thing, and it’s time to get started. I know I’ll make some mistakes, but that’s okay. They’ll just be datapoints in my self-improvement experiment. I’m gonna get better.

  1. Insert here, “if I do say so myself” and other assorted false modesty. ↩︎

  2. She’s not materialistic, but I find great joy in buying her anniversary antique rings from estate sales (she’s a classy broad) and stretching our “budget” (the quotes reflect the level of my budgeting abilities) to put her in a house I know she’ll love. ↩︎

  3. Okay, you got me. This isn’t the first attempt. ↩︎

  4. It can take anywhere between 2 and 8 months to truly create a habit. ↩︎

  5. For example, I have enough home gym equipment for the basics (i.e. everything I need), but I’m not going to buy the cool stuff I want (previously thinking it would make me more apt to get after it) until I demonstrate the habit of beginning each day with a workout. ↩︎

  6. I already screwed up today by buying my wife a nice travel mug she’s had her eye on. ↩︎