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.
To discover the roots of your money attitudes and actions (or inactions!), look first to your childhood experiences. In your home, was there an atmosphere of plenty or scarcity? How did your parents and grandparents treat money? Was money the source of conflict between your parents and/or between generations? Was money a taboo subject or a matter of family discussion and planning? Was money used as a reward? Did the adults in your life demonstrate responsible or irresponsible money management behavior?
Next, reflect on your relationships with your peers. As children approach their preteen and teenage years, the opinions and behaviors of others their own age become more influential than those of their parents. What was the financial status of your closest friends? Did your closest friends have after school or summer jobs? Did they squander their money or did they carefully plan their expenditures? Did they save money or did they spend everything immediately? Did you ever try to “buy” friendship? Did you ever feel rejection from your peers because of your financial status?
As you continue to seek the roots of your money beliefs, think about your significant relationships. Was money considered the male domain? Was money the source of conflict? Was money an open issue? Was money used as a way to control you or to make you feel inferior? Did you use money as a way to gain control in the relationship or to make your partner feel inferior?
A review of your money history will give you tremendous insight into the money messages that consciously and subconsciously influence how you deal with money issues on a day-to-day basis. These revelations are not intended to give you the opportunity to place blame, but rather to help you recognize the obstacles to your financial wellness. Remember, awareness is the first step to change.
Reprinted by permission of Money Quotient, NP
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