Yesterday ended The Cat Picture Stays Up For 7 Days Protest. I know, it felt like 8 days, and maybe it actually was, but our timing here at the Blog has always been less-than-stellar. I scored my first 8 track player in 1982, right as cassettes were becoming popular. I heard a rumor that you can heat up food using some microwave machine now. Just sayin’.
Why was there a protest? I’ve detailed part of the conversation, but here’s the rest:
Doug: I’m serious. Dog people hate cats. Don’t you think of those crazy cat ladies every time you see a cat?
Me: Dude, I own a cat. Are you calling me a cat lady?
Doug: I’d call you crazy, but you’d take it as a compliment.
Doug: People need to respect their financial professionals. Dog people won’t respect you if you’ve got cat pictures all over your site.
…and that’s when I decided the silly picture I’d only stuck on the blog page as a placeholder was going to stay up for 7 whole days. In spite. For no real reason. Surely not to offend “dog people”, but maybe to prove to Doug that though they may not respect me, BOTH of my readers will stick by the site, even with a cat picture or two.
But minions, you know I can do better than that. MUCH better.
SO! My friend Emily Hunter, from MillionWaysToSave.com has agreed to write a Goodbye To The Cat Picture tribute piece, discussing the myriad of crazy things cats can teach us about financial planning. This is our FIRST guest post on the AverageJoe Money Blog, so please give a big, warm welcome to Emily! I’d like to dedicate this piece to my good friend, Doug.
******* ******* *******
I recently wrote a post about how to plan your financial life like a kitten, because kittens are fearless, brave, and bold.
…but a case can be made for the opposite: sometimes it’s far better to be the wise old cat. Here’s how:
Move with Deliberation
Have you ever noticed that the old cats wait until the red dot of the laser pointer is nearly upon their paws before they pounce? They calculate the move, waiting for minutes until the time is right for their finely honed claws to sink into the imaginary irritation.
With your financial picture, planning is absolutely essential if you’re going to formulate and maintain a path toward financial freedom. Deliberate on all of the consequences, then move.
When faced with the nearly boundless energy of a kitten, an older cat will do one of two things: tell the kitten that it wants to be left alone, or teach it in the ways of felinity. After all, the older cat has been around for years and is knowledgeable about the ways of the world.
As someone on the path to your own financial freedom, you’ve learned a number of things along the way (and maybe the HARD way). You’ve learned the zen of budgeting. You’ve found some great online tools to use for your purposes. You’ve probably even learned the folly of having a rash spending week. These are things that you learn through experience, and they should be passed to the younger generation.
Play to Strengths
Older cats have done their homework and already determined the best methods of finding goodies. They have learned that their human really enjoys it when they curl up into a ball and expose their belly. They have also learned that some play is good for pushing the agenda now and again. As a smart older feline, learning these ropes was essential at the time, and you’ve practiced them to the point of superiority.
There are some parts of the financial path which you simply knock out of the park. They were lucrative stock trades, coupon clipping forays that saved you a boatload of money, or timely budgeting that helped bring you peace and tranquility within the house. Playing toward those strengths (though still retaining a tiny bit of that feisty kitten-like experimentation) is essential.
After all, if it really works, why do anything else?
Cats decidedly are NOT pack animals, but they do conspire to get the larger score when it suits them. When there are other cats in the house, there is an initial play to establish dominance, but after that phase ends, they still have to live in at least semi-harmony with the new additions. Each feline has its own personality, and there’s always the potential for learning.
Make friends with people who are on the same path as you, whether they’re financial bloggers, fellow mommies or people who like rainstorms. They might be able to teach you some new tricks that will help speed your learning curve. At the least, they will more than likely let you share your journey to make your days more enjoyable.
Lay in the Sun
Older cats have perfected the skill of sunbathing down pat. They manage to capitalize on the largest, longest lasting sunny spot and milk it for all it’s worth. They work as smart as possible to find this ideal position, and then only move when it’s absolutely necessary. No matter the age, a cat is still adorable when stretching in the sun.
You’ve honed your skills to the point where you believe that you can take a brief rest from the never-ending pursuit of financial freedom and financial relevancy. As you become an older cat, you will be able to take breaks and truly enjoy the knowledge and wisdom that you have accrued. There is NO sin in laying in that sunny spot for a day or two and reaping the rewards. Find your dream space and bathe in it. You earned it, baby.
Whether you are a kitten or an older cat, there is always something to learn on your path to financial freedom. While kittens may be simply adorable, they lack the knowledge to contemplate complex strategies beyond where their next pouncy toy might come from. Older cats seem to laze around, but it’s deceptive. Maybe the older cat appears to be sitting too long, watching the world pass him by….but just maybe he’s figured out the secrets of the universe.
That’s my story, now it’s your turn: What type of kitty are you?
Photo credits: (Cooper sitting on my damned keyboard: Me; Cat pouncing: Jennifer Barnard, Wikimedia Commons; Two cats sleeping: Ildar Sagdejev, Wikimedia Commons.)
About our guest author: Emily Hunter is a for-hire writer and the principal blogger at http://www.millionwaystosave.com, an encyclopedic blog of ways to save money on everything from books to water. She lives in the south with one boyfriend, one kitten, and over a thousand ink pens. To contact Emily directly, whether about this guest post or something else, send an email to email@example.com.