#100: Where to start, where to go, what to do about what’s stopping you

15th August, 2022

Welcome to the Idiot Money newsletter.

Every tenth week, we revisit some stuff from the earlier days. These clip shows are grouped here.

Usually this involves extracting a selection of especially striking sentences. However, the newsletters this clip show covers are so damn densely packed, they demand a slightly different format. I suggest skimming the summaries and reading whichever resonate best.

1. Start with soul, not stuff

Through your attention, you create both your self and your world. Paying attention to the right things is a prerequisite to taking the actions that lead to a Good Life. However, money hijacks this attention, so we start not from what stirs our souls, but from proxies built on the bullshit promise that price tags are a shortcut to what we should care about, and care for.

In Idiot Money #51, we looked at why plans never work, the one thing that best differentiates goof financial planning from its salesy evil twin, being moved by what moves you, how living an examined life isn’t about what we examine, but an entirely different way of seeing the world, and the vital role of our language as the building blocks of our worlds.

And in #52 we looked at the importance of doing what only you can do, the two main reasons people visit a financial planner (and how they’re both bullshit), the roots of this bullshit and how you’re definitely prone to believing it too, how you can bribe people to do anything except live in a world where bribes don’t work, and the greatest value a financial planner has to offer… if you can find one able to give it.

2. Wherever you’re going, beware the Arrival Fallacy

In Idiot Money #53, we looked at possibly the commonest mistake people make with money: the Arrival Fallacy. We looked at how everyone recognises its ghastliest expressions, but how the subtler versions screw people up way more… including some headline financial big-hitters.

In #57 we asked: how much does it cost to keep you happy? And then walked through the implications asking this question (and considering the Arrival Fallacy) has for how you make financial decisions, including why most budgeting advice is backwards, and how most notions of ‘financial freedom’ are missing something huge.

3. Aim not for financial freedom, but financial enlightenment

In Idiot Money #54, we looked at how, for such a common dream, the reality of financial freedom is poorly understood and how thinking instead of financial enlightenment can help correct this error. We covered how the brain is a prediction machine, and when it comes to predicting how to live with money, the machine is malfunctioning. And how to remain unenlightened about something is to remain, in an important psychological sense, a child, and how the way to grow up is not to crave certainty and simplicity, to cultivate the courage to challenge shitty self-deceptive beliefs to become comfortable with increasing levels of complexity.

In #58 we looked at how, when challenged, no one even knows what financial freedom means, which is a pretty good indication that no one knows what they’re doing when they say they’re pursuing it, even if they sound all clever when talking about things like ‘the 4% rule’.

And in #59, we looked at the three types of freedom: freedom to, freedom from, and freedom for. If you read no other post from this selection, read this one.

4. What’s stopping you making more of your money?

Financial enlightenment sounds great! It’s eminently achievable with far fewer resources than most people reading this already possess. So what’s getting in the way? Of course it’s a deeply rooted malfunction of your money mindset. Understanding this malfunction means understanding addiction: how the story we’ve all been told of addiction is all wrong, and how, admitting that when it comes to money you too are afflicted by addiction, far from being a death sentence, is the key to your treatment.

In Idiot Money #55, we looked at what addiction really is, and the common financial expressions of it, including the amazing story of Rat Park, and a quite magnificent Bond/Blofeld joke.

And in #56 we looked at how to treat these addictions – these regular patterns of resource allocation that don’t make life better.

Last updated