You know by now that money is a tool, that it’s not the root of all evil, that it doesn’t grow on trees, that it isn’t actually made of paper, that more of it doesn’t make you happier, but that it can enrich your life experience.
But that’s only where thoughts about money begin. Beyond that there’s your personal thoughts about it, how you use, spend, or save it, what value (beyond the number on it) you give it, and what impact your thoughts about it have on how you manage or mismanage your money.
Just like most things, our thoughts about money are formed early in life and are heavily influenced by our caretakers and the people closest to us. Whether we grow up and handle things just as our parents did or we do the exact opposite, our money behaviors stem from money thoughts.
Hi, my name is Lia and I am a recovering over-giver.
I am quite the literal thinker, and as a tween and teen, when someone who was seen as an authority figure in my life said something, I took it at face value and as absolute truth. One Sunday, (having just reached that age and maturity level where you actually pay attention to the sermon in church, and understand it) I heard my pastor say that if you have money in your bank account but there is someone else in need, that you weren’t being a good Christian. That’s a bit of a paraphrase, and it wasn’t until years later that I understood that it was probably painting a picture and not for literal interpretation, but to my young, eager ears, I heard, “give all your money away or God will be mad at you”.
So, I did. Every time I had money, I spent it on someone else. If I had more than $100 in my young account, I spent it on someone or bought something for someone. I thought that keeping my money was selfish. You name it, I did it, bought it, or paid for it, and all because I thought I was being generous, being a giver, and making God proud. Smh.
But the point is that my thoughts about money were that having it was bad and giving it away or spending it on others was good. Those thoughts dictated my behaviors. It took some reprogramming and changing of ways to undo that. But, I’ve done the work, I’ve self-educated and although I wish I could do things over again, I am glad that I escaped those younger years mostly unscathed. I now live debt-free and give only what my budget allots.
I share all this to encourage you. This will be an ongoing topic here, as I feel financial education, and healthy management of money to be crucial to living a transparent life. So, see if you can dig into that head of yours and backtrack to where your thoughts about money began.