Rewriting your money story.

Your financial situation has been influenced by a number of factors.  One of the most influential contributors is your psychological relationship – what the mind believes, feels and as a result behaves around money.

What does ‘money story’ mean?

Your money story is how you think, feel and behave with money.  It’s your unique pattern of behaviour and the narrative you tell yourself.  These can be positive and they can be challenging.  Money stories are passed down from our families, society, communities and key influential individuals that played a major part in our upbringing.

When is your money story learnt?

According to sociologist Dr Morris Massey, we go through three main developmental stages.

The imprint period – (0-7 years) This is where we are like a sponge, taking in everything around us – what we see, hear and are taught.

The modelling period (8-14 years) This is where we start to find people we admire and who are of interest to us.  Anyone else relate to posters on the wall during this period in our own lives?!

Socialisation period (15-21 years) This is where we start to establish our own group of people we want to hang with.

What’s important here, is that from 0-7 we are absorbing all the information we can from around us.  This means we are witnessing, observing and taking in everything that is taught to us and this is filtered into our subconscious,  the part of our mind that makes decisions without actively needing to think about them.  Every day we make decisions that are driven by our subconscious e.g. cleaning our teeth, riding a bike, driving your car.  How often to do you ask yourself, ‘did I actually clean my teeth today?’ or ‘how did I get here?’, especially when driving, because  everything is undertaken on autopilot.

Our money story is the autopilot of how we spend, save and invest our money.  Its why millionaires can go broke and why highly intelligent individuals can live humble lives because their money story holds them back.

 How can you begin to re-write your money story?

First of all we need to bring curiosity to our beliefs and behaviours.  We need to bring the subconscious behaviours into our conscious awareness.

To help you along the way, ask yourself the following questions:

Question 1: What did you learn about money growing up? E.g. Was the narrative ‘money’s hard to get?’  Was there scarcity around money?  Was money freely spent or held onto?

Questions 2: What did you learn about money from your father  (list 3-5 things)

Questions 3: What did learn about money from your mother (list 3-5 things)

Question 4: Was your parent’s behaviour around money similar or did they conflict?

Question 5: How were the finances managed in your family?

Question 6: What emotions come up when you think about money? E.g. when your bank account is low? Do you feel anxious or comfortable? When you make a big purchase how do you feel? Guilty, Excited, Fearful (In a study performed by Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, he identified that 90% of financial decisions were based on emotion and only 10% on logic).

Question 7: Did a family member or someone close experience a significant financial event when you were growing up?  This might have  been an Illness resulting in loss of income, loss of business or home, having to cease study to care for family, financial windfall, significant debts?  Do you recall how this was managed?  What emotions come up for you when you think of this time?

Re-writing your money story

Emotions of guilt, shame, sadness, grief and fear are all common when exploring your money story.  I want you to acknowledge where you’re at today and know that this isn’t your money story, it’s a story borrowed from family members that were acting with best intentions based on their own understanding of money.  It’s now time to step into taking responsibility for your money story.

What came up for you as you went through this exercise?

What beliefs and behaviours are no longer serving you? e.g. scarcity mindset, holding on, not spending, not giving, not spending money on yourself?  How are these costing you?

Whose responsibility do you believe money should be now ? Yours? Your partner’s? Joint responsibility?

Now you’ve brought awareness to your current situation and can see how money has influenced your behaviours as an adult, let’s re-write the new story.

Question 1: Who do you need to become to have a healthier relationship with money? Are there new patterns and behaviours you can start living?  E.g. Taking more interest and responsibility for your finances, having regular weekly money dates.

Question 2: What do you need to do?  Perhaps, increase financial education, being more compassionate with spending money on yourself.

Question 3: What do you need to have?  Structure around money can help bring you financial freedom by you giving money a purpose vs money controlling you.

Question 4: How do you want to feel about money? This ties into the language you use around money. Including more positive language can start to rewire the unconscious part of our brain e.g. I am worthy of money. It’s safe to spend money on myself.  You may like to consider journaling or starting a daily gratitude practice.

Why is this important to understand? Your money beliefs inform your Money Story and this is how you think, feel and behave around money. Bringing curiosity to what you’ve learnt and how this is playing out with your finances is a key part of rewriting your money story and the relationship you have with money.

If you feel someone could benefit from this post please feel free to share.

If you’d like to explore your relationship with money and rewrite your money story please book in a FREE chat to learn more about how your money story is playing out for you now. 



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