For millennia, money has been used primarily for trade and conquest, not for social purposes. Money's social use is valid and valuable. But we also have to examine whether these social uses of money mean using it effectively and productively as it is currently designed and constructed. Could complementary currencies do some jobs better? Are there dangers to money itself if we use it for inappropriate purposes?

Unfortunately, these discussions generally develop into screaming and yelling sessions between people of different political prejudices and also between people with different sorts of skin in the game. I suggest we can no longer afford any of these arguments. As we watch the national debt climb to unprecedented levels and the international monetary system hint at unraveling, these issues take on greater importance. The fights, the pocketbook politics and the political prejudices threaten our republic and our world.

As professionals, we need to know how to create powerful learning conversations and allow people to talk honestly about what is happening. We need to create new partnerships with our clients and inspire them to learn. We also need to allow them to take responsibility for the decisions they make in the uncertain environment we live in. We need to have conversations with other professions and learn to deal with money issues at all levels of the system.

We are the financial advisors in the closest proximity to ordinary people. Accordingly, we are in a unique position to see how money affects them.

Money is important. It is our species' primary relational tool. Accordingly, we must talk about it and help others talk about it. These are conversations that matter.

Let's chat.

Richard B. Wagner, JD, CFP, is the principal of WorthLiving LLC, based in Denver. He is the 2003 recipient of the Financial Planning Association's P. Kemp Fain Jr. Award, which recognizes a member who has made outstanding contributions to the profession.

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