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

The following paragraphs include a series of questions designed to jog your money memories. To gain insight into your financial beliefs and behaviors, look first to your childhood experiences.

In your home growing up, was there an atmosphere of plenty or scarcity? How did your parents and grandparents demonstrate their money beliefs? Did the adults in your life demonstrate responsible or irresponsible money management behavior?

In addition, consider the ways that finances influenced family interactions and relationships. Was money a source of conflict between your parents and/or between generations? Was money a taboo subject or a topic for lively and open discussion? Was money used as a neutral tool or for reward and/or punishment?

Next, reflect on your relationships with your peers. As children approach their preteen and teenage years, the opinions and behaviors of those their own age become more influential than those of their parents.

What was the financial status of your closest friends? Did they have after school or summer jobs? Did they save money or did they spend everything immediately? Did you ever try to “buy” friendship? Did you ever feel accepted or rejected by your peers because of your financial status?

As you continue to reflect on the roots of your money beliefs, think about your significant relationships. Was money a source of conflict? Was money a difficult topic to discuss? Was money used as a way to win your favor? Did you use money as a way to assert your independence?

Keep in mind that a review of your money history is only meant to provide insight into the money messages that consciously and unconsciously influence how you feel about your financial life and the choices you make on a day-to-day basis.

These revelations are not intended to place blame, but rather to recognize obstacles to your financial well-being and initiate positive change.

In addition, a review of your money history will increase your appreciation of what and who has been a positive influence on your financial beliefs and behaviors; and, to consider ways you can “pass it on.” Always remember that nothing will be more effective in guiding the younger generation than your own example of a successful and satisfying financial life.

Reprinted by permission of Money Quotient, NP

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