Why do we make our financial life so difficult when it doesn’t have to be? One reason is that we want to feel better right now and our consumer culture loves to prime the “I work so hard, I deserve something” pump. Feeling stressed, unhappy, dissatisfied? Buy something – that’ll make everything better - temporarily... Except that after the initial glow wears off – usually by the time you get home – remorse or guilt set in, along with the now monthly payment that goes on and on. Yow.Read More
What kind of financial education did you get as a child or young adult? For most of us, it's the school of hard knocks and we make lots of money mistakes by the time we're thirty or fifty. Those of us that are smart take a class or read a few books about money. But, reading a book or taking a class doesn't get at those unconscious or below the surface memories, that fuel our money problems.
When we're children we observe what's happening in our families around money and make up stories to understand and make sense of what is going on around us. Unfortunately, this is not the best way to comprehend the world of money. The Iceberg theory states that 10% of our mind is conscious and the rest is subconscious or under the surface. When your money buttons get pushed and you react instantly - for example, when your wife comes home with a shopping bag from the mall, but hasn't paid the bills yet, that may plug into a childhood memory.
To understand more deeply your current relationship with money takes some exploration. Deborah Price, in her book Money Magic, describes the Mother/Father Mirror Exercise. She suggests you get into a relaxed, "stream of consciousness" state (sit quietly, take a few slow breaths, relax) and allow pictures or images to form of your parents or guardians. Start with your mother and as you get a clear image of her make a list of characterstics, energies or attitudes you attribute to her around money. Then do the same with your father.
Now, gently ask these questions: Which parent do I most mirror in my relationship with money? What aspects do I consider positive or negative? Which characteristics do I embrace or appreciate? The negative characteristics are often the unconscious money aspects we either deny or avoid. They're also the ones we tend to most react to in our partner. How can you allow this new awareness to help you in your current money situation? As we gain new insight it can soothe financial stress and lead us into transforming our patterns, habits and beliefs with money.