As bizarre as it might sound, you are in a relationship with money. Like any relationship, what you value stems from a variety of different things. This could include past experiences, social status, societal impact and upbringing, just to list a few. When you start to think about it, it’s a very complex and intimate topic that is often overlooked because it is so ingrained within us. Let’s break it down.
We are all wired differently as a result of the physical makeup of our brain. Our brain chemistry is directly correlated to how we act the way we do. Our memory also plays a big role in how we interact with all elements of life, and it’s no different when it comes to your finances.
Whether saving comes naturally or takes extra effort to learn, savers like to save. They’re not only better at being intentional with saving their money, they actually enjoy it more too. What’s even more interesting is that savers are uncomfortable spending their money and often experience a general feeling of uneasiness when making a purchase. On the other hand, spenders usually don’t have a whole lot of money in their wallets at all times, they usually are more impulsive when purchasing things or giving their money away. The difference lies in how we perceive money and our relationship to it.
And those are only two very linear examples. Whatever your financial habits look like, it’s your unique dynamic with money, and we’re not here to change that. However, if you want to understand where these habits come from and if there’s a way to rewire your brain to achieve financial success, then consider this a great resource to help you get started. It may very well lead you to some pretty helpful personal insights!
Your beliefs about money affect how you manage money
First things first, if you think back to your earliest memory of money, what does that look like to you? Maybe it was getting an allowance at a store and blowing it all on your first treat. Maybe it was opening a chequing account and feeling the thrill of using your debit card for the first time. Think about the ways in which you interacted with money as a child. Did your parents structure your spending and saving or did they let you have free reign?
Consider looking to your parents in this process too, they could perhaps be the biggest influence on your beliefs about money. Look to your parental figures at the time of your childhood, what was their relationship with money? This isn’t always an easy question to answer because beliefs are not always in our conscious awareness, which can require you to do some deeper digging to understand their lessons. Maybe they spoke openly about finances which lead you to believe money is not a vulnerable topic. Or like many, maybe they preferred to never discuss their financial situation together or at all which could limit you to thinking that money is secretive, shameful or can be disregarded.
Phrases like “It’s hard to make a dollar” or “Money doesn’t grow on trees” would force you to believe that money equates to struggle.
On the flip side, phrases like “Money comes, money goes” or “Money can’t buy happiness” might make you feel more indifferent or even passive about money. How you were taught to interact with your money could have lead you to feel more or less privileged than your classmates. You could have felt better or worse than them. Or maybe you felt worried and responsible.
All of these experiences mixed together have formed your belief systems with money, knowing or unknowingly. They, for the most part, have shaped your relationship with money. It could be the reason and motivator behind why you’re so successful. Or it could be why you choose to work so hard to provide for yourself and your family.
There are no right or wrong beliefs, but as time moves forward, you could find that you’ve outgrown them or they are not of service to you any longer. That’s when it’s time to re-think your relationship with money. So how exactly do you do that?
You can re-shape your relationship with money by re-shaping your beliefs
It’s not impossible to change your belief system and how to unconsciously interact with money, but it will take effort, time and discipline to do so. You’re essentially reconstructing your childhood belief system to fit your adult values. That’s not an easy task for everyone!
Re-shaping your beliefs begins with determination and creativity.
Start by transforming your old beliefs to something more productive and in alignment to your what’s at your core today. Here’s a few examples Psychology Today suggests to transform old beliefs into newer, updated beliefs. Use these as part of your new personal narrative whenever you catch yourself stuck in an old thought.
Belief System 1: Money As A Use
Old belief: I use money to show others that I am successful.
New belief: I use money to create long-term security for my family and me.
Belief System 2: Money As A Symbol
Old belief: Money equals worry.
New belief: I need to have a better understanding of my money so that I can find peace of mind.
If you should take one lesson from this story, it’s that you have exactly what you need to make the changes you’d like to see today for an even better tomorrow.
Start transforming your old childhood beliefs (likely passed down from generation to generation) and rewrite them to support a more personal and purposeful system that serves you.