Dear Friend,

I never knew I had a money story. This was not until I became a money coach. Though I had always wondered why I struggled with sticking to my financial plans, even with the best of intentions. I mean, I had a relatively good job and was earning reasonably well for a university graduate,  but I didn’t know where my money was going and I was pretty much living hand to mouth. I would often start each month with the intention to do better, to save more, to have my money carry me throughout the month. But somehow, I would find myself still caught up in the same cycle of hand to mouth. With lots of restaurant dates inbetween, trips I couldn’t really afford, nights out with my girls, store credit cards. The complete opposite of my intentions.

My money story turned out to be the missing piece of the puzzle that helped me to understand why money was so elusive to me. As it turns out, we all have a money story and that story it is the key to understanding your relationship to money. That is because our behaviors, patterns, and emotions around money are rooted in our money story. So, to understand our relationship to money we must first understand our story.

What is a money story?

Our money story is made up of our experiences of money from our childhood to the present moment. It includes the beliefs we formed, the stories or narratives we told ourselves, the conclusions, and unconscious vows we made from those experiences. Often these experiences are formed while observing how our parents or guardians interact with money or how money is perceived in our home. They can be happy or traumatic experiences; they can be pleasant or unpleasant. And some of them may have even left us with unresolved issues, like things we haven’t forgiven. So, our money story is a combination of all these experiences that work to shape our view of and interactions with money today.

For example, we’ve often heard people say, “I vowed that my children would never suffer like I did”. We may not make much of it when we hear it but often such a vow is a product of an experience that the person had which had a significant impact on how they view money. And no doubt this “vow” is a constant factor when they make financial decisions.

So not only do these experiences shape our view, but they influence our financial decisions. And as if to add a little spice to everything, the influence is often unconscious, meaning we do not do it intentionally but rather our mind works on autopilot without us actively noticing it. In fact research has found that only 5% of our money behavior is conscious. Which means 95% of the time, we are not actively aware of what we are doing. 95% of the time we are making money decisions on auto pilot! And this explains why you often find that even with the best of intentions, you can’t seem to achieve your desired goals. Like when you say “Starting this month, I am settling all my debt” but a few months down the line you find yourself in even bigger debt. Autopilot. 

So why it is important to know your money story?

The fact that we do money subconsciously a majority of the time pretty much highlights the importance of developing an awareness of our behavior and of its roots.

Our unconscious behaviors and patterns can be likened to blind spots. On the road, a blind spot refers to the area of the road that the driver cannot see clearly. Such blind spots can prevent the driver from making sound judgements on the road because they hinder the driver’s view.

For us humans, blind spots can refer to the parts of ourselves that we are not fully conscious of. The parts of our personality that we haven’t yet come to recognize. The traits and behaviors we are not aware of. Similarly, these can prevent us from making sound judgements in our lives because our view of them, and of the obstacles they present, is hindered. They hinder our view of ourselves and of the world around us. And so in effect they hinder our growth and progress towards achieving our goals.

Here’s another example to illustrate the point. Can you imagine driving with a very dirty windscreen (with a film of bird poop swiped across the screen). How easy would that be? How fast could you get to your destination? Certainly, it would delay your progress towards your destination. It might even stop you dead in your tracks. Trying to do money without building an awareness of how your past money experiences are influencing your present interactions with money is like driving with a dirty windscreen.  You’re not going to get very far and are very unlikely to be successful.

Getting to know our money story is more like driving on an open road with a clean, clear windscreen.  Where we can see clearly the road ahead of us and the obstacles that can hinder our progress, and hence we are able to make sound judgements. We become more self aware and enlightened of our behavior, how it was formed and what influences it. It’s as if someone is cleaning our windscreen, or removing a blind spot. And we start to see ourselves more clearly. To see the behaviors and self defeating beliefs that sabotage our best efforts. Our money story  directs us to the root cause of our money behavior. 

“What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself

– Abraham Maslow” 

We Are Empowered in Self Awareness

Building awareness around how your past money experiences are presently influencing your financial decisions empowers you to get out of your own way, to change what is limiting you and working against you, and to make progress towards your goals. They say knowledge is power right? In this case, your knowledge of self is your power.

Knowing your money story is not only useful for when you are struggling with managing your finances and barely scraping by it can also be valuable in helping someone who has all the money and success but still feels like it is not enough or feels like something is still missing. Often the answer is connected to their money story.

If you would like to find out how your past money experiences are influencing your financial decision making today, join me for a journey to Uncover Your Money Story.