When I was a child, a close family member won a significant amount of money from playing the lottery. I’m taking about enough money for this person to quit their job and never work a day in their life.
A few years later, this person was back at a minimum wage job. We never spoke of the lottery winnings again.
Why am I sharing this story? It’s proof that financial freedom isn’t just about having lots of money in the bank. It comes from manifesting what you know to be true about money.
Think about it. If you were a careless person, how does that manifest in your spending habits? If you hate to spend money and have friends that do, what would your social network look like?
Money has the potential to give us everything that we want, but it’s not a mind reader. It can only look out for your best interest if you allow it to.
Take a look at my family member. This person’s dream was to construct a Japanese Zen garden, complete with a koi pond. You’d think with the lottery winnings, that would have at least been built.
We Love to Be Told We’re Right
I don’t care how open minded you are, we love it when people agree with us.
Consciously or subconsciously, we find evidence to confirm what we know to be true. Let’s say you get a weird feeling about someone you met, or you think he’s not a good person. You hear about how he likes to go out to the bar daily and rack up a huge tab. At the same time, someone else tells a story about how he had donated 1 million dollars to a local charity.
Even though you hear both stories, you’re most likely going to remember the bar tab story, or in your mind you think, “Sure, he donated money, but he is an alcoholic!”
What Does This Have to Do With Money?
A lot more than you think.
All the experiences you had in your past defines what you believe to be true about money. And those feelings, it affects every facet of your financial situation, everywhere from your salary, to how you invest, and even the things you choose to buy.
Whatever you believe to be true about money, you’ll only look at the ways to prove what you believe to be true.
For me, I used to think that you had to lie your way to be a millionaire. So I would reject job offers that paid what I thought was a lot of money. I hated negotiating for more money because I subconsciously thought that the closer I was to being a millionaire, the more corrupt I would be.
So if you believe money is evil or icky, then those beliefs will manifest in your spending habits. So it’s essential for you to be conscious of what your overarching money story is.
An overarching money story is the things you tell yourself about money. So all your decisions (what I call chapters in your money story) are all based on it.
Think about if someone told you the same thing again and again. You’d find ways to create that reality in your life. For me, I used to hate millionaires, so every chapter in my money story reflected that.
That’s pretty much it. But this simple story we tell ourselves might not have a happy ending. In fact, the story you have might not even be yours. It could be something passed down to you, or you experienced during your childhood that you’ve internalized.
If you want to have a happy ending to your money story, it means you need to write a new one.
But to do so, you need to first understand what your current money story is.
Creating Your Money Story
This isn’t the time to judge yourself about what you believe to be true about money. Also, it’s not the time to beat yourself on your past financial decisions.
Simply think if your current situation is as a result of decisions you’ve made in the past. That’s it.
To figure out what your money story is, answer as many of these questions to get started:
- Did you experience a unique financial experience? Think about any stories or sudden wealth or loss.
- Were there any memories you had from your childhood where your parents talked about money?
- What were some happy or unhappy memories surrounding money?
- What were some beliefs your family had about money?
- What would you define as your family’s social status growing up? How did you feel about it?
- What do you believe or feel about earning money
- What did you notice about your parents when handling their money?
- What are some money topics you don’t like to talk about?
- Do you feel having money in your life gave you certain opportunities? Why or why not?
- What does money mean to you? Make a list of words you would use to describe money and then beside each one, write down the reason you chose that word.
- If you track your spending, take a look at those records. Do you notice any patterns between what you spend on and when you spend money?
- If you see something you want to buy, what do you tell yourself?
- What do you do when you have a big purchase to make?
Not going to lie to you, but it’s going to be hard. There may be things you don’t want to think about. But they’re absolutely necessary to help you.
I know. I’ve been there. When I experienced a devastating heartbreak, all I wanted to do was hide under the covers. It wasn’t until I realized I was in debt that I needed to change my situation. It took a while, but I learned to recognize my past money story, and change to what it currently is today. Trust me, it’s still a work in progress.
Being a badass with your money is as easy as asking yourself what you want.
Download our values-based spending guide and figure out how to revolutionize your financial decisions ASAP.
(psst...we also send you occasional emails on how else to live beyond the dollar. You in?)
- Uncoupling Your Finances with Nicole Antoinette - April 15, 2020
- Having “The Talk” With Your Parents With Cameron Huddleston - September 25, 2019
- Handling Work Conflicts Using Emotional Intelligence with Razwana Wahid - March 13, 2019