When did you first realize where you sit on the economic scale of life? For me it was in high school after my parents divorced. My newly single mother found a job as a photographer for Sears. There was no extra money; barely enough for rent, bills and food. There was certainly no extra money for clothes. But, instead of feeling defeated or giving up, I felt challenged. My early entrepreneurial spirit had me handwriting flyers to let people in the neighborhood know I could babysit. And, babysit I did. I also learned how to sew and made a few A-line mini-skirts - remember those? My favorite was a lime green and I wore it often.
Until my 30s I didn't think much about where my husband Dave and I were on the economic scale. I was getting my masters degree in psychology and Dave was running a technology business. We were at an event at my husband's partners' home and I noticed they had money. It's easier to accumulate more money when one comes from money. They'd been raised in an upper middle class environment. Her dad was Richard Lyng, who later became the Secretary of Agriculture under President Reagan. His dad was the CEO of a large hospital in town. My husbands partners were very nice, very low key people, but it made me uncomfortable to be around them. I started comparing what we had and what they had. I felt envious of the neighborhood where they lived. My feelings were not caused by what they were doing or not, it was all a reflection of my discomfort with my inner relationship with money. That discomfort I felt back then is part of the divide that happens between those that have more. I saw the indicators of success - money, prestige, a fabulous home, etc., and wasn't sure how to attain those or even whether it was important. After all I was heading into the helping profession of counseling, a profession generally not "into" making money. So, I stopped thinking about all that money stuff.
A few years ago I started getting a handle on finances. This year zoomed me into a new place when I went five month training program to become a Certified Money Coach. All the denial and avoidance around money came back to the surface. VERY uncomfortable looking at what's hidden from plain view. Looking at my stuck money places, forgiving myself and my parents their financial inadequecies and growing my money self up was painful and incredible. I can't encourage you enough to really shine the light on your RELATIONSHIP with money - not just the budget or the in and out flow, but how you feel about money, what it means to you, what your money history or story is. If we want to achieve greater economic equality in this world, we have to transform our emotinal stuff around money - our attitudes, beliefs and convictions around what money really means. A powerful journey.