Monday, March 13, 2006

Me, My Money, and My Values


I'm 24 years old, and I live in Chicago. I grew up in a middle-class home in a rural, almost entirely white community on the East Coast. I've been working at the same (professional, not-for-profit) job since I graduated college with a BA in April 2004-- almost two years now. And of course, my name is not actually Penny Nickel, but I think Penny/Penelope is a beautiful name, so it's as good a pseudonym as any!

My Money

As of this April, I'll be making $47,000 a year. I have $17,500 in debt, all from student loans. I have about $10,000 in retirement savings right now: $7000 in a Roth IRA, and $3000 in a 401(k) which has no employer match. (I started contributing 6% to the 401(k) about a year ago.) And I have about $15,000 in cash/savings in my money market account.

My Values

I'm committed to social and economic justice, and I try to do all I can to work towards a better, fairer world. I think that commercialism and consumerism often distract us from what's really important and meaningful in life-- but I also realize that money and financial issues have a huge impact on most people's quality of life (and I wish that wasn't so). I think that we Americans work too much and spend too little time with family and friends and on fulfilling leisure activities-- and I think we need to work together to reshape our society so we can all have a healthier balance. I prefer small, locally-owned businesses to corporations (and cooperatives most of all). I've been a vegetarian for 12 years, and care about animal rights and the environment. I believe in peace and non-violence, international debt relief, and fair trade and genuine international economic development (the kind that helps ordinary people around the world, not just elites and corporations). I think we need to be open and honest about class, income, wealth, and their effects in our lives.

And one of my most strongly held beliefs is that since money, finances, and economics play such a major role in society, they should reflect our values-- on a societal scale, and on an individual level too. So I'm trying my best to live that out in my own life, and now I'm looking forward to sharing and learning with you!


Tiredbuthappy said...

Thanks for taking on the topic of the politics of our financial choices. I struggle with this, especially since my spouse is a socialist and thinks our entire economic system should be done away with. I'm no revolutionary, but I do think about "voting with my dollars". Where I shop, what I invest in, where I bank--this is all having an impact. I'm less conscious than I'd like to be about how big my impact is.

So I'll be following your process with interest.

Anonymous said...

Hey, can you reveal which nonprofit you are at?