You and Money

You and Money

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE? Three or more team meetings

WHY DO THIS? To explore issues of self-worth or shame

WHAT SUPPORT IS NEEDED? Any hero or experienced team leader

WHO CAN HELP? John Butler

WHAT IS THE TEAM’S ROLE? Willingness to try a different approach to conflict

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?

Money is a topic which most men are very reluctant to talk openly and honestly about. Some men brag about how well they are doing and exaggerate their success, others complain excessively about how bad their job is when really they have it pretty good. Many men do not talk about their income or net worth or about their fears concerning economic insecurity. Many men frankly have no idea how much debt they are carrying or what they need to do to plan for their kid’s college expenses or for their retirement.

A team wide experience looking at You and Money can help alleviate the shame and pain most of us share around our finances and our economic success. This is a three week process, about an hour per meeting- maybe more depending on how many men on the team and how much sharing the men choose to do.

Week One: Earning Power vs Personal Power\ Each man writes on a paper the gross pre tax income he earned in the last year and in the year prior. Then each man shares this information with the team and as they do so, the team members line up in a row from top earner to bottom earner.

Each man then, one at a time, steps out of their position in the line and walks up and down the line looking into each man’s eyes and without saying anything keeps track of his general impressions.

After all men have walked the line, take some time to jot down impressions… here are some interesting points to note and talk about after each man has walked the line and looked into each man’s eyes:

  • Do you see shame in someone’s eyes as you look into their eyes?

  • Do you feel shame in your own body as you look into another’s eyes, and if so, why?

  • Do you have a judgment that you are better than another man and if so, it is because you earn more money?

  • Do have a judgment that a teammate is a better man than you are because he earns more money?

  • Are you surprised by anything that was shared and if so, what was it?

  • Are you angry about how hard you work and how little money in comparison you earn?

  • Are you sad about your economic life?

  • Do you feel glad about how successful you are over the past couple of years?

  • Do you feel sad or afraid about how your career trajectory has changed in the past couple of years?

  • If a teammate owes you money, how did it feel doing this exercise with him?

  • If you owe a teammate money how did it feel doing this exercise with him?

  • What else do you notice about your sharing your own income with your teammates?

  • What else do you notice about your hearing about the income of your teammates?

Week two: Self Worth vs Net Worth\ A man’s economic net worth is the sum of the value of all his assets, minus the liabilities. Prior to the team meeting, each man lists his major assets and his obligations. Take the time to look up the actual account balances and research the actual values. Some assets to consider are Home, car, Retirement Accounts, Investment Accounts, savings and checking account balances, household appliances and furniture. Some debts to consider, home mortgage, credit card balances, student loans, car loan or auto leases, unpaid alimony or child support, borrowing from teammates, friends and family members.

Repeat the same type of line up as the week prior, this time sharing a) the value of the assets, b) total debts and c) net worth.

Take time to jot down anything of interest that you noticed, following the same general type of questions about feelings of shame, joy, sadness, fear and anger… then share with the group.

Week three: Trust\ Simply form a circle where you can look into each man’s eyes via direct line of sight.\ Each man in turn tells a simple straightforward story about one thing that he did re money that is illegal, morally wrong, fraudlent or dishonest. One-two minutes max.

After each man has shared, continue going around again until every man is done sharing his stories… then after a pause, each man reveals to one another if they are keeping more serious secrets on this topic or if they shared the main ones. Also, let the other men know if you have lots of other examples of small infractions or if you are completely revealed.

Have a brief discussion then about

  • What motivated our choices,

  • What we can do, if anything, to make restitution,

  • How we feel inside sharing this,

  • If we have told anyone else or not,

  • What would happen if our girlfriend/wife knew, boss knew, parents knew and so forth.

Then talk about these stories in terms of being trustworthy.

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John Butler

Momentum is a local, not-for-profit men’s community.

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