Money is a huge part of our lives and yet we are reluctant to talk about it. Perhaps it’s because in the western world, the subject of money is considered taboo—it’s private and not open for discussion. Instead, we see our relationship with money as a reflection on ourselves, and often pretend that we’re more on top of our finances than we are. Therefore, when we actually do need help, we’re reluctant to ask for it, leaving us alone in the dark.
The words ‘money’ and ‘worries’ go together so often they can seem inseparable. For many people, their relationship with money is fraught with anxiety. Fears around money stop people from living their life. Money cuts across a lot of boundaries. There are layers of meaning within our relationship with it. There are those who overspend, those who underspend, those who gamble, those who debt, those who chase after it, those who are satisfied with very little, and those who simply work hard, pay their bills, save, invest and give the remainder away. A major motivation for crime and violence is money; a major source of arguments among married couples is money; a major factor in career choice is money.
Our relationship to our money reflects our relationship to the world. It is simply a metaphor for how safe we feel. Establishing a good relationship with money starts with understanding what type of person you are and whether you fall into any of the following categories:
Do you frequently make purchases that are beyond your means? Do you purchase things to make yourself happy? Is there a connection between shopping and your mood? If so, then you can consider yourself a spender. Spenders have a tendency to accumulate credit card debt because shopping to them is an addiction. Spenders spend money in hopes that material items will bring happiness or provide pain relief.
On the other end of the spectrum are the savers. Savers absolutely fear poverty and constantly worry about not having enough money to live. Savers need to feel in control and are generally uncomfortable with any sort of uncertainty. Ironically, savers fear poverty yet they practically live in it because they spend so little.
Money haters absolutely detest money and what it does to people. They eschew wealth and will often live in deprived and desolate conditions. They will purposely avoid material possessions whenever possible.
Money seekers are the ones who obsess over becoming wealthy. These people put a premium on making a fortune with the belief that it will solve all of their problems. In reality, there are usually other inadequacies in their lives that they are trying to make up for with material wealth.
On a survival level, money can bring us to our knees. This brings most of us into an unnatural attachment to it. We become dependent on it for our security, and this blocks us from truly experiencing life. Many of us can relate to the feeling of being trapped by a situation.
For instance, ‘How often do you…?’
- ‘…feel uncomfortable when the topic of money comes up in conversation?’
- ‘…find you’re faced with unexpected bills and expenditure?’
- ‘…get into debt?’
- ‘…buy something and regret it later?’
What we don’t realise is that we hold the key to unlocking our own prison. Who do you think put us in there in the first place? However, it often requires the insight and wisdom of another who has unlocked their own prison door for us to feel confident that we can unlock our own.
While certified financial planners and accountants zero in on financial issues from budgeting to investing, some people may find even talking to an accountant intimidating. This is when talking to Money Coachers becomes more effective. Money Coaching combines sound psychological and coaching principles with practical financial coaching to help people transform their relationship with money. Money Coaching is an opportunity to identify and transform issues that can limit one from living a fulfilling, purposeful and prosperous life. Money Coaching is a step-by-step process for gaining a deeper understanding of the unconscious beliefs and patterns that create stress, anxiety and fear.
It’s fantastic to hear about how people’s lives change through working on their relationship with money. Improving your relationship with money involves a fundamental change in mindset. Getting along with money isn’t about earning a huge income or making more than your friends. Once you figure out the proper place money resides in your life, you’ll find that your life will become much more pleasant. You’ll place less emphasis on decisions where money is involved. You’ll feel less pressured to take a job or pursue a career in which money is the only factor.
In our Money Coaching sessions we try to transform people’s relationship with money by first being able to talk about money more openly within their family circle. Even with your children, there is no better time to start talking to them about money than now. The level of discussion should be basic in the early years but by the time your children leave home they should be confident budgeters, savers and investors. Money management skills can be more important determinants of financial success than academic progress. Giving your children skills in financial literacy will enhance any investment you make in their education. Parents may need help with money too. The older generation can be reluctant to reveal their financial situation to their children. Perhaps they feel this could result in rivalry among siblings or undue pressure being put on them or it could be that they come from an era when money was not talked about. Ageing parents may need help with making sensible investments, ensuring they have sufficient funds to last through their retirement and making plans for the transition of wealth to the next generation.
In other words, all the tools you need in order to transform your relationship with money are right in front of you, and have been there all along, waiting for you to recognise them. The first step is acknowledging you need help. The second step is following through and finding someone to guide you. Third and final, it’s a matter of putting into practice what you learn and sticking with it. Soon, you’ll be well on your way to having mastery over your finances and your life.