Shh.... Did you tell your spouse or partner how much you really spent for Christmas or shopping trips or even vacations? What would they say if they knew? What other money secrets do you keep?Read More
If you've been reading this blog you know I've been expanding my study of the subject of "money" this year. We need to know how to manage our money beyond the nuts and bolts of budgets and retirement planning. Do you know why you have trouble getting past certain life long money patterns? To understand what's drives the bus of your challenging money behavior here's a story from "The Secret Language of Money" by David Kreuger MD. Two anthropologists went to two separate yet identical ape colonies to live and observe for a year. After the anthropologists finished their year they compared notes. One had been accepted and assimilated into the colony, the other never was. They couldn't understand why - until one anthropologist admitted he had kept a gun with him. He never used it or showed it, but at some level, he knew it was there. The gun kept him from fully committing - it was his out.
Now, how does the anthropologists hidden gun relate to the story we make up and play out with money. Dr. Kreuger says our money stories are "the subconscious tale you tell yourself about who you are, what money means to you and what it says about you. Our money story isn't only about money. It's about everything." (Kreuger)
What does your money story say about you? Ask yourselves these questions: 1) What's the greatest annual income I can reasonably expect to earn? $_____ 2) What is the greatest annual income my money story will allow me to have? $_____ Until you become aware of the story that lives underneath the way you operate with money, nothing will really change. Oh, you can create a budget, or tinker with affirmations, but I know from experience that until there's a deep inner shift created with awareness and new behaviors and practiced over time, your money story can't really change.
"You can never be too rich or too thin." Babe Paley, 1950s socialite
Did you know that wealth and weight issues are often tangled together for women?
Women will go to extreme measures to look good and spend thousands of dollars over a lifetime on diet products, clothes and shoes and justify the expense for reasons that vary from: "I have to look good for work," to "I'm working so hard I deserve this." By the way, that same justification works for food as well as shopping. Some women shop (or eat or restrict eating) to fill time because they're bored, or for the adrenalin high that comes with shopping anticipation.
These are not bad or wrong behaviors or feelings but they only work temporarily to make you feel better and they can dilute your power and productivity.
Weight and money issues are self-esteem issues. Insecurity and the advertising industry drive the multi billion dollar dieting industry, pressure women to have more clothes than they can wear, purchase designer bags and shoes, and develop wasteful spending habits. I'm not saying it's not fun to spend money, but to take charge of our money women need to be very MINDFUL of what the energy it takes to earn money and where their money goes.
Here are some questions to think about:
Guesstimate how much you've spent in your lifetime on dieting books, videos, products. (Don't include gym memberships you actually use for health or fitness).
What's your annual budget for clothes? If you don't have a budget or know how much you spend you need to. Guesstimate how much you really spend each year on clothes, purses, shoes, jewelry. How much of this is is a need or a want? How much of the dieting or spending is to distract yourself from anxiety or emotional upset? Remember what Peggy Gardiner, the Organizer said: A shopping need is to replace something worn out, a want is anything else. (I think that's a little stringent, but good to think about.) I hope this fuels some thinking & discussion.
If you're in business for yourself how much do you invest each year on education, self-improvement, business or financial education compared to what you spend on dieting or clothing? Be honest and gentle.
You may love the money in your life or hate it, but you are definitely in a relationship. Your relationship with your money could be healthy or unhealthy, conscious and involved or mostly ignored and avoided. Deborah Price says, “We have a relationship with anything we are connected to or dependent on.” Many of us don’t think about or evaluate our relationship with money though it touches our lives every single day. And, depending on how we treat our relationship with money, it can be our friend or foe because it mirrors back to us exactly what we put into the relationship.
If you’re not sure what your relationship with money is try this short exercise: Think about money and write down the first 5 words that come into your mind. As short as this list is, it will tell you something very quickly about whether the part of you that sits under the surface (your subconscious mind) views money as positive or negative. (And, it’s the subconscious mind that we need to understand because it often runs the money show especially in times of stress).
Let’s say the words were something like: scary, overwhelming, secretive, fun, never enough. I’m just making this up now, but if my relationship with money is influenced by this type of “shadow” energy which means what I really think that's under the surface, I may find myself going along just fine, not thinking much about money as long as things are stable. I also may spend money and keep it a secret from my partner because I don’t want them to get “mad” at me, or it’s my way of exerting some control with my husband. When a financial challenge comes along – blam – that feeling of overwhelm hits and I avoid dealing with the money problem, and we know how well that works, right?
So, now what? You may have a glimpse that there’s more to your relationship with money than just your paycheck or the bills you pay. Tune in tomorrow for how to understand your relationship with money by looking at your parents relationship with money. As Deborah Price says your ability to change your relationship with money lies in direct proportion to your level of consciousness or awareness about money. So, let's explore our money relationship.