Unfinished Money Business: If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes

If you struggle with money problems you're not alone. Don't just blame yourself, your spouse or your parents though, do something proactive. Because if you don't, you'll find yourself in the same place in a year or 5 or 10. If you're having the same issues with money you've been having for years it's time to look within. What do I mean by that? "Inner work" consists of taking the time to be introspective, ask yourself questions and listen for the answers. The old saying, "All the answers lie inside you," means that in order to access your inner wisdom you'll need  to give yourself time to explore. There is no right or wrong way to do so. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Unfinished money business are the patterns, habits and convictions that get in the way of our financial health and well-being. We all want to have financial peace of mind, but we don't necessarily know how to get there. As a therapist and Certified Money Coach who struggled with money for years with my own money issues I love sharing what's helped me to develop a healthier relationship with money.

"The Apple Tree Exercise"  (From Mind Over Matter by Brad & Ted Klontz). Bring to mind an image of your mother or most important mother figure. On a piece of paper list 3 or more adjectives that describe your mother's behaviors around money: generous, impulsive, stingy, for example. Then list 3 or more things you can remember hearing her say about money and how it worked: "Nothing's too good for you," It's only money," etc. Write any beliefs she had about money. As you think about her background and money beliefs see if you can pull out the "money scripts" she lived by. For example:  "Money can be used to show love and to exert control." "Money's less important than having fun and enjoying life."  Do the same for your father or father figures.

Then go back to the adjectives that describe your mother/father and circle any words or phrases you believe are true about you. If you're up for it, ask someone that knows you well to check the lists and words circled for feedback.  As you can imagine, this "Apple Tree" exercise is designed to help you see how your money beliefs, patterns or habits didn't necessarily fall far from the parental tree. As you gain true inner awareness of your relationship with money when you make changes such as starting a retirement account, developing an emergency savings account, these behavior changes will "stick" better