Our attitudes and beliefs about money have their roots in value-laden messages that we have picked up along life’s journey.  These money messages are not only clothed in the words of others, but in their behaviors as well.

The authors of Wired for Wealth (Brad Klontz, Rick Kahler, and Ted Klontz) write that all of our financial actions—or inactions—make perfect sense when we understand what “money scripts” drive those behaviors.

“Money scripts are the thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes that we hold about money.  Many of our associations are hidden deeply in the unconscious mind.”

They further explain that as children we internalize many of the money messages we receive from our parents, other significant people in our lives, our life situation, and from society as a whole.  However, “because children take in and process messages about money in individual ways, the money scripts they learn from their situations can vary.”  In other words, two children from the same family can grow up with completely different money scripts and different ways of managing their financial resources.

Therefore, it is important to look for clues in your past that will help you to understand and improve your current financial life.  The following questions will guide you in this reflection process:

  • What is your earliest money memory?
  • In your family, was money an issue, a source of conflict, a reward, or a tool for achieving goals?
  • As a child, what was the most important lesson (positive or negative) you learned about money?
  • What were the spending/saving patterns of your mother? Of your father?
  • When did you first start earning your own spending money? How did that make you feel?
  • In your youth, what was your biggest concern about money?
  • What is your biggest concern about money today?

In summary, to discover the roots of your financial feelings and behaviors, look first to your childhood experiences.  A review of your financial biography will give you tremendous insight into the money scripts that consciously and subconsciously influence your financial life on a day-to-day basis.

Keep in mind that the purpose of these revelations is not to place blame, but rather to help you recognize money scripts that do not support your financial well-being.  Remember, awareness is the first step to positive change!

Reprinted by permission of Money Quotient, NP

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