In the coming days, a commoner, Kate Middleton, and the bonny Prince William will unite in marriage. But what does that have to do with my dream of personal finance mastery? Well you may ask.
Here it is. I need a break from looking inside my own head. The two most public figures in the world, at least for the time being, seem like a good diversion. And I’ll bet they have money issues too.
As it happens, I’m reading an excellent historical novel called Elizabeth I, by Margaret George. It takes place during the late 1500s and early 1600s. And you know what’s fascinating? Queen Elizabeth had money troubles. She had Spain to fend off on a regular basis – ships to build, armies to mount, negotiations with other countries in an effort to secure some allies. Expensive.
Then, she had Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh wanting to gallivant all over the planet looking for the City of Gold, finding instead places to plant the early seeds of British Colonialism, which cost more money.
She had appearances to keep up. Crushed pearls in her face powder, for example, so she would look a-glow. Red wigs as a continuous reminder of her father, Henry VIII, whom people still feared. The royal jewels that had been passed down since the time of Arthur that represented the history of her family’s wealth and power.
On top of all that, she was the Virgin Queen and had no direct heir to assume the throne, so she was always having to look over her shoulder to see what pretender was sneaking up behind her.
Interesting way to live.
I suspect that Prince William and Princess Kate won’t have Elizabeth’s kinds of money troubles. But here are some they might just have:
- The Lottery Winner syndrome.
You know how people who win $148 million in the 5-state powerball lottery find that they cannot cope with the amount of money they suddenly have, so then they spend it or give it away or have a very noisy breakdown in public? Well, here we have Kate Middleton, a commoner, whose family appears to be comfortable but not even on the same planet as the Windsors, money-wise. I wonder if the royal retainers have given her any lessons or preparation on how to think about money, or not think about it, as a princess? Does she have a budget? A money mentor? A line of credit that she can’t exceed? What will she be accountable for, as one of the suddenly wealthiest women in the world?
- The Be Real syndrome.
Where is that line between not thinking about money at all, and allowing oneself to become totally oblivious? Like that time when George Bush commented on the new-fangled grocery store scanner – he came off as oblivious to something most people take for granted. Subjects like it when their rulers have at least a bit of recognition of the old day-to-day. Just because you don’t have to think about money doesn’t mean it has ceased to dominate the thinking of many other people. So, Mr and Mrs Wales, how do you have a real conversation with a real person whose money worries are real, when your financial life is basically unreal?
- The Wedding Gift syndrome.
What does one give a royal couple as a wedding gift? Toaster ovens? A Weber Kettle? Probably not. More like, lots of ceremonial stuff. Where does all that stuff go once the bows are untied and the wrappings hauled out with the trash? There’s only so much of it that could go on display in a residence, or even in a museum installation some day long hence. Yet I bet it never entered anyone’s mind to add a line to the Royal Wedding Invitation: “No Gifts, Please; Your Presence is Our Gift.” What if this modern couple decided to make a request that instead of being presented with a gold elephant statue with emerald eyes and ruby toenails, they would just rather have a check made out to a favorite cause?
- The “If We Don’t Talk About Money, How Will We Know What Matters” syndrome.
How many times have you heard someone say that money behavior is the outward expression of individual beliefs and values? It’s just a given, common knowledge. It’s one of the ways two people get to know whether they share each other’s values or not. So, if you don’t talk about money because you don’t NEED to talk about money, what do you talk about instead to get at the difficult-to-define and critical-to-discuss stuff?
Just goes to show you. I can’t imagine being a royal, or a commoner about to marry one, or a person with so much money that I never need to think or talk about it.
How about you, Dreamers? Regardless of your actual financial condition, do you find yourself thinking about money fairly often? Or does it only rarely enter your mind? A penny for your thoughts!