As I help my clients create financial organization in their life, I find that it’s critical to understand the underlying emotional reasons that caused the situation. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about regression therapy or hypnosis; I’m not a financial therapist (although there are some good ones out there). This is information I’ve learned along the way from reading some good books and articles on the subject. Simply pull out your notebook or journal you’ll be using on this journey. Think back to your earliest recollections about money. These questions may help jog your memory:
- How did you learn about money?
- What was your parents’ relationship to money? Did they have similar values about money or did they argue about it?
- Did you receive an allowance? If so, what did you do to earn it?
- Did you feel secure about money growing up?
- Was your financial situation similar or different from your friends? Do you remember feeling privileged, disadvantaged or the same economically?
- What’s your major issue with money today? How does it relate to how you experienced money while growing up?
When working with a financial organization client — let’s call her Amy — she completed this exercise. Growing up her her life was stable. Her parents worked hard but money was never discussed. Her father was generous, giving her money when needed but Amy had to ask for it. On the other end of the spectrum, her mother had a hard upbringing where money was tight. Whenever Amy was given money — even after earning it through chores — her mother would comment on how spoiled and ungrateful she was. Fast forward thirty years later, Amy struggles with her relationship with money. She feels others control the money she receives and often feels guilty about what she earns. Once Amy realized how these mixed messages formed the basis of her relationship to money, she could take steps to improve it. Part of Amy’s homework was to read Overcoming Underearning by Barbara Stanny. She’s now exploring how her beliefs about money affected her profession and earning expectations. Need some help uncovering your own beliefs around money? Then try this money belief quiz from learnvest.com.
So, were there any surprises when completing this exercise? How would you describe your relationship to money? How is it impacting your journey to financial organization?