Important because it’s not important

Published 10:51 pm Thursday, March 29, 2018

By Nathan Rice

I blinked once, and the little fellow with missing teeth was now taller than me and needing to shave. His brother was within an inch of my height, and it wouldn’t be long before he reached his long desired milestone of being taller than me. It was in this moment that it hit me that time had gone by faster than I realized. I sat down and listened to their voices, along with the voices of their cousins, go from boys to men in the same sentence. It just didn’t seem possible that they were no longer little. Time does indeed fly, and there is no going back.

This moment of reflection and nostalgia may not seem like it has anything to do with money and finance, but it does. I realized as I reflected on life and the passing of time that money and finance is important because it’s not important. Let me explain.

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As a financial professional, I’ve seen the effect people’s finances play in their lives. Chances are it will always play an important part in our lives. Money, and money-related issues, can cause great amounts of stress. This is why we should all take the time to learn how to best handle our finances. We’d be foolish to avoid learning how to properly handle our finances, but we should also understand that we aren’t learning finances just to gain knowledge in an area. Properly handling our finances lets us better focus on what really matters in life, and that’s why it is important.

Too often, we place money to one extreme or the other. Sometimes we place all our efforts on getting all that we can, allowing money to be a deciding factor in how we live and what we do. Money and finance becomes dominant, and we end up missing out on what really matters in life, neglecting family, friends and even ourselves.

Other times, we quote the old saying that money can’t buy happiness, and we shun learning about finance. We declare that we don’t worry about such things, so we neglect our finances, never taking the time to learn how best to handle what we have or plan for the future.

Neither of these extremes is wise. Money and finances will always play a part in our lives. It’s up to us to determine what role it plays. It’s certainly not the most important. Rather, it is something that allows us to better focus on what really does matter — and that is why it matters. Don’t ignore it, but don’t let it control you.

My recent reflection on life included a financial aspect. I had purchased the Nintendo they were now playing from money I had saved over time, and I had paid the power bill, which enabled the game to be played. This, however, was the last thing on my mind. What really mattered was that we were together, healthy, and happily trying to rescue a digital princess from her captor. Finances are important because they aren’t important.

Nathan Rice is the relationship manager of the Downtown Suffolk branch of ABNB Federal Credit Union. He is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at nrice@abnb.org.