I think I had my first lemonade stand was when I was five.  My sister and I set it up at the end of our driveway, near the street to sell to the passing traffic and neighbor kids.  We shared in the work, my sister made the lemonade in the kitchen and I drew the sign. We both hauled the card table and chairs from the house, and negotiated how much we should charge for a glass. We both yelled to the passersby to “Come and Get It”!  At the end of the afternoon, we split our profits.  Simple process for this small business.  No real skills involved to earn a few extra dollars.

Fast forward to my college graduation…  I graduated with a business degree during a recession, not unlike now.  I had dreams of my first real “lemonade stand”  to be a  wonderful corporate job, with a big office, large staff, administrative assistant to address my every need, huge salary to pay for my large metropolitan condominium and expensive foreign sports car.  I would travel the world at a moments notice; dine at fine restaurants every evening.  Except one thing, there were no jobs for recent college graduates with virtually no experience.  I had had jobs, sometimes two or three at a time, however being a lifeguard at the local swimming pool did not qualify me for a corporate executive position.

Of course, my focus on finding a job was to earn money.  We need money to do everything, however I never gave any thought to what I was good at or what I like to do, or where did I REALLY want to end up eventually in my career.  My focus was on money, making more money.  My job choices over the course of the next decade were based on the salary, nothing else.  So what?  I found myself completely unaware of my gifts, passions and the direction I wanted my life to go. I found that every step up the corporate ladder left me feeling empty and meaningless.  I had no direction and no purpose.

Making more money then in turn bought more “stuff” and every time I got more stuff, I was on to thinking about the next thing I would buy.  The longer this went on the more “stuff” I had to maintain, pay for and take care of. Then I was in a trap.  I hated my job, but I did not have the freedom to quit because I had all this stuff to pay for.  

WHAT I WISH SOMEONE WOULD HAVE TOLD ME is to take the time to do some real self-reflection and self-discovery when you are in your 20’s, and create a vision and a mission for your life.  Take the time to define who you are without outside influences.  Take the time to learn where you have pain and healing to do.  Take the time to figure out the kind of woman you want to be, not what everyone else is doing.  Take the time to think about the kind of friends and partners you want with you over the course of your life.  Take the time to find out who you are and have the courage to be her.

What does this have to do with money?  Money is a way we work out our spiritual walk here on earth.  Look on-line at your bank account and see where you spend money.  Is the woman you want to be using her money this way?  Would she save more for the goals she has in mind?  How you earn, save, give and spend your money is how you spend your life, so spend it wisely.

Kristi L. Andersen is the principal of Kristi L. Andersen Financial Partners, LLC.  Registered Representative of and securities offered through Financial Network Investment Corporation, member SIPC.  Advisory services offered through AdvisorNet Financial if applicable.  Financial Network is not affiliated with Kristi L Andersen Financial Partners, LLC or Advisornet Financial.1221 Nicollet Mall, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55403