Have you ever wondered about your relationship with money, your money beliefs, or why you made certain decisions regarding money? It is safe to say that our relationship with money began early in life when we first heard statements such as “it’s not good to have a lot of money” or “rich people are not happy”. There are many beliefs about money, but most of them are distorted, and they prevent most people from having a healthy financial life. Here are two common beliefs: 1) “money is the root of all evil”; and 2) “money changes a person”. These statements are so far from the truth!
There is nothing evil about money. It is the “love of money” that drives some individuals to do things that they may not do otherwise to obtain it. Also, money only magnifies what is already within a person. If a person is inherently good-natured, then money simply allows their goodness to rise and perform on a larger scale. The reverse is also true. If a person is evil-natured, then money will give power to their evil behavior. In other words, money is not evil, and it does not change a person. It is simply a tool and one can choose how to use it.
The social norms surrounding money in American culture can be confusing. I believe the reason for the confusion is the lack of formal teaching of financial concepts in our schools and universities. It is quite natural that the first lessons about money begin in the homes through association. Most children develop their relationship with money from watching how their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc., managed and talked about money. I can remember my mother telling me stories about how her parents only bought her one pair of new shoes for school and she had to wear them for the entire school year. I also observed how she spent money for clothing every week and rationalized that she was shopping because she could afford to pay for it at the time. The truth was that she still could not afford it. The moral of the story is that my grandmother forgot to teach my mother the reason WHY she only got one pair of shoes. My grandmother left out that she was saving for a “rainy day”, translated as an “unexpected emergency” today.
It is so important that we are mindful of our language in the home as it gives way to what we think about money as well. Subliminal messages from television, movies, and advertisements, shape our use and misuse of money. I mimicked my mother’s behavior for a period in my life until my grandmother reminded me that I needed to save more than spend, but more importantly, I realized that the burden of debt was the result of me not understanding my decisions with money. Once I understood why I made the decisions that I made, I was able to break the cycle and create a healthier relationship with money.
In my years of teaching financial education classes, I found that we all functioned or acted on what we knew or did not know until we learned to make our own smart money moves. Every decision was based on what was available at the time, but habits and beliefs can be changed once you understand the reasons behind them. Habits are easy to form and harder to break. However, if your goal is to stop a bad habit and to start a healthy one, the key is to make different decisions one day at a time. Change the narrative for you and your family by teaching how “Money Provides Options” or how “Money is a Tool for Good”. A smart money move is to gain control of your financial life and it starts with better understanding yourself and why you make the decisions that you make. Even if you still choose options that are not good for you, at least you will know why.
Are you ready to take the necessary steps to change your money habits and beliefs? Are you interested in learning more on how to manage your money and how to make it work for you? If so, contact me at CAN Financial Services to schedule a complimentary consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org.