June 6, 2020
It was a year ago that I had a pivotal conversation with an acquaintance, in which I was motivated to start this project. Initially, I had intended it to be a book, written for a couple of key people in mind who appreciated our discussions on personal finance. And so, I started writing. However, as time went by, in the spring of 2020 we entered a new phase in humanity’s collective experience: the COVID-19 pandemic and the renewed focus on the need for racial and economic justice.
The scope of this present work took on a new direction as I considered my role as a budding scholar, my responsibilities as a fellow human, and the needs of the day. Thus, what was intended as a self-help, non-fiction, personal and collective finance book – with it’s own timeline for drafting, editing, and publishing – seemed not quite right. It was a matter of rhetorically and practically asking myself not what it is that I want to do, but to assess what’s needed and to meet that within the scope of what I can provide.
The result is instead a living project. Originally inspired by an open letter regarding economic life (which I encourage you to read here), I explore certain concepts related to mutuality, co-operation, collaboration, and the like, in the context of improving our daily financial and economic lives. It seems fitting then that the construction of the book, now project, should embody these principles. Thus, while it will still hold the structure and form of a book, I am opening it to collaborative contribution and critique. The material, as it is drafted and becomes “minimally viable”, will be released online and you will note that a significant portion is already available. (Please sign up – click “Follow” below – to be notified of new chapter releases.) At that point, I will step into a facilitative role – encouraging readers to interact with the material in a way that is constructive, poking and prodding to make it better for all of us. Edits, revisions, and illustrative examples will be incorporated into the body of the text.
Back when I was preparing tax returns for the VITA program, we would always have two sets of eyes to review the work before it was submitted. Catching errors and assisting fellow volunteers with their ‘blind spots’ was a matter of providing good service. As a writer, a white man, a father and husband, as one raised and living with a certain degree of privilege, I’ve done enough internal work myself to know that, while I can teach personal and collective financial well-being with confidence, joy, passion, and fascination, I’ve still got plenty of blind spots. It’s a case of “the more you know, the more you know you don’t know”. Becoming aware and then seeking to positively transform the world around us is part of the life journey. I invite you to accompany me on it.
Much warmth and appreciation,
This book is a work in progress and we’ll all benefit from your input and collaboration. In the “Leave a Reply” below, please post examples, comments, questions, and needed edits. By posting, you grant permission for inclusion of any content to become part of the book, now or in the future, in whatever form it may take. I’ll give attributions to the extent possible. I know sharing about our financial lives can be sensitive, so if you want to share anonymously, please use the contact form instead and I’ll honor your request.