As a nurse, part of my job is to educate patients on various subjects ranging from medication benefits, uses, and side effects to disease processes and rationales for doctor-ordered treatments. This got me thinking about how I could interweave these lessons with a Personal Finance twist. Here are some analogies I have come up with so far:
In the womb, the developing fetus grows in what is known as the cephalocaudal and proximal-distal fashion, meaning that it develops head-to-toe and from the near-to-far (center-outwards.) Starting at the top, we have the brain, which begins to form around the fifth week of development, along with the spinal cord, heart, and other organs. In the realm of personal finance, we, ourselves, are the brain. We choose what we do, how we educate ourselves, how to spend our time, energy, and money, and we control everything that we do in pursuit of our personally determined goals and desires.
Our heart begins beating around the sixth week of development and in the realm of personal finance, I liken our budgets to the heart. Money from our respective jobs flows into the budget, where it is then pumped out and utilized to destroy our debts and/or feed our investments with vital, oxygen-carrying nutrients.
Debt can be compared to Diabetes. The analogy I use when educating patients on the effects of uncontrolled blood sugar levels is that the sugar molecules circulating through your blood vessels and capillaries can be likened to a golf ball making their way through a garden hose that gets progressively smaller as it reaches our hands, feet, and eyes. These large sugar molecules don’t like to fit, in essence get stuck, and result in decreased blood flow to the extremities, numbness/tingling (neuropathy) of the hands and feet, and diabetic retinopathy of the eyes, which can ultimately lead to blindness. Debt, likewise, when allowed to get out of control, can lead to this progressively downward spiral and have detrimental effects on our health and well-being, financial and otherwise.
Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, is a condition in which the pancreatic enzymes amylase and lipase are elevated, resulting in intense upper abdominal pain for the patient…pain that, from my nursing experience, is generally only relieved with morphine and being NPO, an acronym for nil por os, a Latin term meaning “nothing by mouth.” Eating/drinking results in a process known as peristalsis, which moves food and fluids through our GI system, and causes digestive enzymes, such as amylase and lipase, to be released, stimulating the pancreas and resulting in increased pain. This is comparable to the idea of selling in a down market…it only increases the pain!
To bring up the proverbial rear, market forecasters could be viewed as the bowels of personal finance…they’re generally full of shit and give me a stomach ache. 🙂 Just eat your fiber (pick a solid index fund) and enjoy regular relief in knowing that history has shown a general upward trend in the market. And remember, in the event that doomsdayers are ever actually correct, our money will be toilet paper anyway (pun intended…but don’t actually do that…EVER…money is literally disgusting!) Besides, if they’re ever right in saying that our financial system is collapsing, you’re still better off investing in the market because hoarding cash under your mattress or burying it in the backyard is only going to result in the loss of your purchasing power due to inflation.
Well I certainly hope you’ve enjoyed my cheesy analogies for the day; in the event I come up with more, you’ll be the first to know. Have an awesome day! 😀
– Nurse on Fire