Jillian Wagenheim, Founder & Principal, Sertus Consulting
Farrah Azizi, Private Philanthropy Advisor, Give Great Group
In June of 2019, we facilitated the 21/64 Book Club’s conversation about The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life by Lynne Twist. Recently reissued with a new foreword from its original release in 2006, this book continues to be an accessible and engaging read for both individuals of wealth and the advisors that serve them. Participants in the Book Club all shared how they found the book to be topical to the work with their clients, but more than anything nearly all shared how they felt it had applicability in their own self reflection of their relationship with, and to, money.
Twist utilizes a storytelling format that challenges readers to ask great questions; a theme that we have seen this year in the Book Club’s other reads, including Wait, What? by James E. Ryan, and Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas. Wait, What? challenged readers to ask what the author called, ‘life’s essential questions’ – open-ended, thought-provoking inquiries into what an individual may really be looking for. Giridharadas expanded the theme, tasking readers to question the larger philanthropic landscape and the role they play in perpetuating our communities’ most pervasive social ills.
The Soul of Money presents three key messages that centers readers to the mindset of abundance and sufficiency in lieu of one of a mindset of scarcity. Her three truths are: money is like water; what you appreciate appreciates; and collaboration creates prosperity.
Participants shared how struck they were by the concept of money as energy and the metaphorical river she describes, washing through one’s life. “Like water, money is a carrier.” Individuals of wealth, particularly individuals of multigenerational families often struggle to find their identity separate from their wealth and their family. In line with this concept, Twist points out that money is a societal construct and reframing our relationship with it can lead to happier and more fulfilling relationships within our family, with our partners, and with one’s self.
The author posits that one can never experience ‘enough’ and thus the satisfaction with their wealth, if one is always focused on gathering more. This “new culture around money…teaches us how to be stewards of money rather than gatherers of money”. Individuals can take steps to incorporate this mindset shift by investing time in reflection, gratitude, and values-driven conversations. By reengaging with money, one can break the cycle and ensure that they perpetuate positive and healthy money messages to their children.
Lastly, Twist challenges the perspective of a zero-sum dynamic and instead describes a lived experience where working together and leaning on one another actually generates an experience of ‘more’. Advisors can encourage this message by sharing how generosity compounds within families and when put to work where needed. From deepened familial relationships to meaningful partnerships with charities and nonprofits, giving begets giving and gets to the true meaning of wealth which “has its roots in well-being and is meant to connote not only large amounts of money but also a rich and satisfying life.”