As the title implies, I like to personify money concepts in my head to entertain my financial avatar. (I’m not good with titles.) Here are the cast of characters in my soap opera.
Mimi – Mimi is my Financial Avatar. This is who I picture whenever I write “my financial avatar.” She’s savvy. She doesn’t like to micromanage, but she does demand entertainment every once in a while. She likes to read. She’s a worm.
John Cash – John Cash or “Cash” is Mimi’s butler the same way that Alfred is Bruce Wayne’s butler. He’s helpful, loyal, honest and just wants what’s best for Mimi. In Mimi’s science-fiction imagination, he’s actually a robot from outer space. Cash does most of the work in this financial soap opera, which lets Mimi concentrate on other things in life.
Mimi is right to be suspicious of her butler’s origins. He is indeed a robot from outer space with amazing superpowers, but he only uses those powers for good. He always gets her a happy place to lay her head at night and enough food to eat consistently. Whenever she wants a fun and new experience, he’s organizing it. He gives her time. He uses his influence to make her life easier.
Civilization – Civilization is the character I invented to ease my convulsions from looking at the taxes lines of my paychecks. He’s the gatekeeper and Cash liaisons with him frequently. Cash pays him first, without thinking and mostly happily.
Mimi likes to play cards and Civilization does his best to keep the card-counters away, to make the game as fair as possible. Civilization buys Mimi an advanced state of human society full of culture, science, industry and government. He pays for the bike lanes and the police. Through public school, he pays to train her future employees. He pays for the justice system. He pays for the safety net. Oh and the parks and the library. Mimi likes him.
Most of the time anyway. He can be a jerk and she suspects he occasionally spends her money on his cuff links.
Mrs. Cash – Mrs. Cash is John Cash’s twin sister. She’s also a robot from outer space, but she uses her powers for evil. While John likes to serve, Mrs. Cash likes to demand.
When she latches onto people, she taunts them, belittles them and sews stress and discontent. She gloats in your ear that you have no control, that you’re living paycheck to paycheck, that you don’t have enough, and that whatever you do have is so much worse than what other people have. She reminds you that you’re one slip away from disaster and urges you to make yourself feel better with any easy pleasure you can find RIGHT NOW because SHE is the boss.
Mimi ignores Mrs. Cash when she sees her at the gym now, but she did occasionally duel with her before paying down her student loans.
Compound Interest Charlie – Compound Interest Charlie is another robot, but he’s from Cleveland, Ohio and not outer space. Mimi used to think he was evil when she was paying down her student loans, but when she got to know and understand him, she realized he was just doing his robot job. He finds a name on the negative list, takes their money and gives it to someone on the positive list. The names mean nothing to him. He has no emotion. He’s a robot.
Helpful Visuals that aren’t characters
“Stuff” – Stuff is the shiny new stuff you purchase or acquire and can move from place to place. We all purchase stuff. I purchase stuff. I’m not ashamed. The trick is to be thoughtful about your stuff.
“Junk” – Junk is the stuff that you no longer want and throw away or donate or leave in a remote corner of your home that you’re no longer able to access because you’re a hoarder. All stuff turns into junk eventually and as far as the environment is concerned, the only difference between stuff and junk is the packaging and the location.
No Visuals, just definitions
Real Property – Real Property is the legal term for property in the land-and-house-owning sense. I wrote an entire article on it before I realized I never defined that term, but still capitalized the words. Bad lawyer!
Personal Property – Personal Property is the legal term for Stuff. See above.