The speaker’s topic to kick off 2023 was entitled “Pressure Points”, and I listened with great interest.  Indeed, the changes in the financial arena, driven by technology, are coming at us faster and faster.  The struggle to keep up is creating pressure points for all of us.  No longer can I say that things are changing. Rather, things have changed and will continue to change rapidly and indefinitely.  Sadly, I find that many (most) people are unaware of the changes and have no clue how to begin learning. 

The Questions to Ask

How do we develop the resilience needed to navigate rapid change?  How do we create confidence and find security in a new financial universe?  We’ve gone global, so many of the local standards of compliance, customs and safeguards are disappearing.  Our business projects are now calibrated in billions – mere millions are no longer adequate.  We’re into Web 3.0, smart contracts, NFT’s, blockchain, crypto and Metaverse—new and unfamiliar concepts!  Projects are launched and fortunes made (and lost) at the speed of thought.  How do we navigate these financial waters?  

Six Simple Words

In the “Pressure Points” speech I discovered a three-part strategy expressed in six simple words. They are easy to understand, visualize and remember.  These will prepare us to rise up out of the tangle of our own financial pressure. 

Step One:

Give Up.  Many of us cannot move on to embrace new financial options because we are holding tightly to the old.  The solutions of the past are familiar and comfortable.  Although they are no longer serving us well, we find it frightening and frustrating to consider unfamiliar options.  I spoke with a lady who was exasperated by a merchant who refused to accept her cash in payment for services.  I told her about my experience at the Globe Life Stadium in Arlington.  The stadium announced its “no cash” policy over the P.A. system.  As a solution for those who only had cash, reverse ATM machines were positioned throughout the stadium. 

What in the world is a reverse ATM?  We are familiar with regular ATM’s where we insert a debit card, and it dispenses cash.  At the reverse ATM’s we insert cash and it dispenses a Visa gift card for use in a cashless environment!  When I told this story the poor lady blew up, exclaiming that because paper money is legal tender in this country it should be illegal to refuse it as payment. 

She is right of course.  Despite the fact that the US is over $30 trillion in debt, paper money is legal tender.  But the law allows each merchant, vendor or business to decide on the forms of payment it will accept. Many no longer accept paper money.  She was so frustrated. She did not want to give up her old practices and embrace the movement to a cashless money system.  Most of us have some outdated thinking that we need to identify and give up.  Once we give up, we’ll be ready for the second step.

Step Two

’Fess Up.  Maybe “fess” isn’t even a word.  But just as confession is beneficial in resolving conflict in relationships with people, confessing our outdated notions about money is an important step in opening our mind to receive new ideas.  Confessions address fears and frustrations, releasing us to begin making changes.  Here are some examples of helpful confession statements. “I’m afraid to dip my toe in the water and try some of the newer fintech (financial technology) products.  They seem complicated. Where do I begin?  I know my savings cannot sustain me, given the current rate of economic decline.  This makes me angry and frightened, and I don’t know who to trust to help me.”  As we speak aloud any of these statements that resonate with us, we prepare ourselves to take the final step.  Once we ‘fess up, we’re ready.

Step Three

Hook Up.  I always seem to circle back to one bit of advice:  hook up with a good learning community for education and support.  Indeed, this one principle has become the only string on my fiddle. The waters of financial technology are treacherous.  But technology is never going to reverse itself – it will keep moving forward despite our protest. Our options are limited.  We can attempt to change the system, stop the freight train, protest, boycott, etc.  (Good luck with that!)  We can manifest our inner ostrich—sticking our heads in a hole while leaving our rear ends exposed and ready for a good spanking.  Or we can embrace the inevitable advancement of technology, extend a hand of welcome, get acquainted with its ways and make it work for us and our families. 

Connecting in a financial literacy community provides a place where we can embrace change with some degree of comfort.  A community creates a new kind of comfort zone.  It’s not a cozy place where we camp out but rather a portable dome of knowledge we can build, modify and carry with us into every new environment.  Slugging it out alone is the surest and fastest way to financial suicide, so we each must find a way to hook up with a community that will help us build wealth in the real world of right now!

In 2023 my goal is to help bring relief from the pressure created by the impact of new technologies on the financial world.  As we “give up” antiquated ideas and strategies, “fess up” feelings and mindsets that are not useful and “hook up” with like-minded people for support on the journey to financial freedom, we can navigate through these waters successfully and with great confidence.

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