I have spent a large part of the past two years researching , learning about and making sense of money stories. Every one of us has a money story, or a specific relationship with money. Your money story can either be a good, positive one; or one that boycotts your financial destiny.
A positive money story is one where you have a healthy relationship with money; where you view money simply for what it is – a currency earned as an exchange for your time or value add. In this money story, money is used as an enabler, as a tool to support and facilitate your life plan.
I meet so many clients that feel powerless when it comes to money. And normally, in these cases, they see money as their master and themselves as the servant who is repeatedly flogged by this merciless ruler who continuously impose sanctions on their dreams for their lives. It is here where I want to make a difference! If my words can change the money destiny of just one reader, I would feel that I have made a difference.
The good news is that you are able to change your money destiny. But it’s hard work. Like with any habit, it takes hard work and literally almost a reprogramming of your brain to make new habits stick.
So where do we start?
Let’s start by looking at what a money story is and how this affects your relationship with money?
Your relationship with money reflects the relationship you have with yourself. We don’t only use money for financial purposes – we express ourselves through money; we use money to communicate. Money says anything you want it to: it mirrors your desires, fears, measure of success and idea of happiness. Whatever you use money to say about you, it mirrors your unspoken self.
This internal monologue you have with money tells your story. It is continuously repeated and eventually become your life journey. I encourage clients to think back to their first impactful money memory; to understand where these money stories come from. This is because a lot of our behaviour patterns and belief systems downloaded in the first years of life become automatic. We behave in a certain way, or think about things almost intuitively – an automated, ingrained response. The challenge is understanding whether our behavior around money is based on reality or fiction.
The difficult part about money stories is that they are often subconscious. Neuroscientists estimate that 95% of our behaviours and beliefs are pre-programmed in the subconscious mind, operating on autopilot.
Let’s look at an example of a money story: a common money story is the fear of poverty. You don’t actually have to be poor for poverty to be your story. I often work with wealthy clients who feel poverty stricken from the inside-out. Stories have to do with your perception of reality and not necessarily reality itself. This story can be a destructive and debilitating one to live out and is often about self-worth, or more accurately, the lack of it.
The truth is that stories are powerful; if we believe our own stories, they will come true. If you keep telling yourself that “you’re just getting by” or that you “will never be debt-free” –consciously or not – then that is how the story of your life will go.
Once you understand your money story, you have to own it. Once you take ownership of your story, you can start a new chapter where you can change that story and start making money serve you – instead of the other way around.
My next blog will give you more insight on how money stories are formed and some useful tips on understanding and taking ownership of your money story.