What is your relationship with money?


What is your relationship with money? We tend to have ‘emotional relationships’ with many things - with work, with the sports team we support, celebrities, food and with money. As emotional beings, how we feel about things tends to define how we interact with them.

Just like every one of our relationships, we also project meaning onto money effectively ‘loading’ it with feelings around control, independence and security.

It is important to understand your own relationship with money and the meaning you associate with money.  Every decision you make will flow from this meaning and associated emotions.

 How you get, spend and manage money is largely due to two factors: the nurturing you received during childhood about money and values, and the way you organise this information in your mind.

So, pause for a minute and ask yourself this; when you think of money, what is the very first word that pops into your head? Whatever that word is, it is the primary meaning money has for you.

Money relationships are complicated: this is why so many women struggle with them.

A simple way to assess this complex issue would be to identify which one of the following terms best describes how you feel about your financial circumstances. Are there words that characterize how you feel about money? Hopeless, pessimistic, or indifferent versus optimistic, or even confident.

For a very long time I  had a lot of negative emotions around money. Most of those emotions pointed to fear - the fear of not having enough money. This is the reason why despite my firm grasp of financial literacy, my decisions around money didn't always translate into concrete smarter money moves. I battled to control my money in a way that it served me. I wasn't an extravagant spender, but I wasn't “responsible,” either.

It's only later in life when I started taking ownership of my relationship with money that I started exploring my emotions and behaviour. I realised that if I didn’t change this, I will end up in the same bad financial situation.

Your relationship with your money provides the foundation for your money habits.

For many of us, money and behaviour are linked, and often with negative consequences. The way you spend or otherwise invest your money is probably a close reflection of your values.

Therefore, it’s important your relationship with money is healthy;  because like it or not, if you have a dysfunctional relationship with money, it will impact not just your financial well-being, but your whole life.

Self-worth 
Our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours can come together to create a cycle of either good or bad habits. Take for instance women who believe in “retail therapy.” This belief is held by many women who use shopping as a way to cope with stress. After spending money you don't have and realizing you feel no better, you may criticize yourself. You tell yourself, “I will begin saving tomorrow,” but tomorrow never comes. Your behaviour (shopping) has not bought happiness and you have not improved your self-worth. 

On the flip side, hoarding (behaviour) your money is also detrimental. If you hoard money and material things and are so frugal that you don't enjoy life and the experiences it has to offer, it's unhealthy. 

It’s only by knowing and understanding your thoughts and feelings about money (anxious, helpless, stressed, confident) and what money represents to you (failure, generosity, success, deprivation, control,independence, power,  etc.), that you will be in a position to develop a healthier relationship with it for the future.

Part of that process is understanding that money doesn’t make financial decisions for you. It's not in control of your life. You (i.e., your thoughts, feelings and beliefs about your money and yourself) make financial choices.

Your financial health depends on how you feel and think about yourself.  If you don’t feel you deserve a healthy financial life, you are definitely not going to devote the time and effort to create it.  That’s why a strong sense of self-awareness, self-confidence, self-acceptance, and self-esteem are essential to a healthy relationship with your money.

Improving your relationship with money involves a fundamental change in mindset. Right believing produces right living. If you keep allowing money to define you, you are constructing a fragile glass house.

The good news is that you can change your relationship with money.  If you feel you consistently make bad financial decisions, go back and see what meaning you were attaching to that decision.  Change the meaning and you can change the decision and the path that you are on.

What is your relationship with money?

0 comments