So something funny happened yesterday as I was doing a little work. I was in search of a Flickr photo relating to kids and money for an upcoming Rockstar Finance post, and amidst my scanning I see this pic featured above of these signs promoting “Free Money Day.”
Initially I just kept going and tried not getting sucked into the black hole that is the internet, but eventually I succumbed to curiosity and typed in FreeMoneyDay.org to see what would happen.
And get this. Free Money Day is literally TODAY! September 15th. What are the odds?? I took it as a sign that I should bump my original post I wrote for y’all and instead talk about this random movement I’m 99.99% sure you’ve never heard of before, but are now pretty interested in learning more about :) And how funny is it that it was literally a sign that got me to think it’s a sign? Haha…
Here’s what Free Money Day is in a nutshell:
A social experiment to see what happens when we share money with complete strangers.
And here’s their official synopsis: “Free Money Day is a global invitation for people to explore, in a liberating and fun way, what it might be like if our relationship to money was a little different. On September 15th, worldwide, people will hand out their own money to complete strangers, two coins or notes at a time, asking the recipients to pass one of these coins or notes on to someone else. It’s an opportunity to start fresh conversations about money, sharing, and anything else that might come up.”
I like that last line the best – “It’s an opportunity to start fresh conversations about money.” We all know how hard it is for people to open up and be “real” about their money (we talk about sex more than we do our finances!) so it would be great to see more convos going on about money and how to better manage it and nix debt, etc. I don’t know how many people really open up by randomly handing them money, but hey – better to at least give it a shot than nothing at all, right? I’m halfway tempted to whip out my box of $2.00 bills in the name of financial education too ;)
Here’s another clip from their FAQs page I thought was pretty spot on as well:
“…the pursuit of ever more money as an end in itself (including spending beyond our means) can be a trap that robs us in other areas of our lives, making it more difficult, not easier, for large numbers of us to access the things we need for a high quality of living. We want to question how it is that so many of us end up working too many hours, in too much debt, and how this adversely affects our lives… Always believing that we never have enough, and that we are afraid of running out of it.”
If you can never appreciate the money you have – even if it’s not enough for your perfect situation – you can fall prey to always being in a state of chasing more and never be fully content. It’s probably better than the opposite problem of always being in debt and 1 paycheck away from $hitville, but still – it’s all about balance in our lives. As much as we’d all love to become millionaires at some point :)
I also like that they highlighted that “research consistently suggests that, beyond a certain point, having more money does not increase an individual’s wellbeing.” Very similar to that $75,000 study Princeton made famous the other year on how that’s the ideal salary for happiness too.
I agree with a lot of it more or less (we all have our peak income where the ratio of happiness to money doesn’t scale to the same degree after a certain point) but of course if you’re shooting for goals like financial freedom and early retirement, it definitely helps to front load those earnings earlier to kick start that happiness factor to a whole other level later. Where you don’t even have to think about money at all! Though of course with E.R. a lot of it has to do with your everyday expenses than just your income – so you really have to attack it on both sides…
At any rate, if giving away money to random strangers results in talks like these, I think we all need to get out there today and be Chatty Cathys :) Even just talking to ONE person more purposely could make a pretty big impact.You affect the future finances of one person, and it has the potential to ripple through everyone else in their lives too: their family, their friends, colleagues, girlfriends, boyfriends, pets, etc etc… You never know how powerful small acts of kindness can be.
Reminds me of that starfish story actually:
One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”
The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”
“Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!”
After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said…
“I made a difference for that one.”
Anyways, that’s the gist of Free Money Day which you’re now experiencing today… I may not have a snazzy sign like those two whippersnappers up top, but I’ve got a fun blog to help spread the good word to y’all, so let’s see what interesting discussions now come from this :) Sorry you won’t be getting any free coins or dollars from me today, but hey – it’s not about the money, right?
PS: If you’re wondering why they picked September 15th as “the day,” it was because that was the same day Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy six years ago in 2008 (can you believe it’s already been that long???). It also happens to be International Day of Democracy too, so… Happy International Free Money Democracy Day!
[Photo cred: freemoneyday]