What is your money story?
Understanding your money story is the key to unlocking a new, balanced and healthy relationship with money
Everyone has a money story.
Whether you say:
I grew up poor- we never had money
I grew up wealthy; my parents never talked about money
I have no idea how my parents made money
Our money stories shape the way we think about and spend money. In a perfect world, we all grew up with parents or guardians that opened up to us about finances, budgeting, saving, and overcoming particular hurdles. But, many of us did not. I think this is something that transcends culture, although there is always some degree of variation.
It is important to be able to tell yourself your money story. You can write it down or email me if you want.
Now that I am an adult, I think most parents and guardians did the best that they could do given their upbringing. While it is essential to acknowledge that some of our money stories are have caused some problems for us in how we deal with money, try not to judge yourself and your family too much. Acknowledge the stories, identify areas of healing or improvement, and begin small steps towards healthy money habits.
My parents heavily influenced my money story. My mom and stepdad were very open about money. Not the nitty gritty but they did share some necessary details about their decision making as far as it concerned me. I will share some stories that I hope will help you as you flesh out your money story.
- Living below our means
At some point in my life, I was stressing to mom that I wanted to go to a more expensive school. My school was not bad as far as academics went, but I was having my issues about what I thought was good enough. Anyway, my parents sat me down and explained that my tuition at my current school was manageable for them because they could pay for my entire annual tuition once without straining. Additionally, a reasonably priced education gave them room to provide me other extras like school trips, novels, toys, etc.
My parents explained that taking me to a fancier school – in my case, this lovely school called Peter House- would force them to cut down on other expenditures and they would always be anxious about managing the fees should their financial situation face a slight change. My dad was retired, and my mom ran her own business. Owning a business is incredible but in places like Zimbabwe, business owners deal with severe fluctuations in profits.
- Planning ahead for the big items
For my parents, it was always important to be able to pay in advance for big-ticket items. If I wanted to go on a school trip, I had to tell my parents way in advance, or I was not going. Their worrying created a bit of anxiety, and subsequently, I am a little bit obsessive about planning. My mom especially hated surprises.
- Being open to all kinds of work opportunities
My mom always emphasized that I am not above doing any job. My mom believes that when it comes to working, you do your best so that you can go home and live in relative comfort. My mom balanced running her business and being a trader in South Africa. As a trader, she was gone for months at a time and lived in less than ideal housing circumstances in SA, but it meant afterward she returned to her extremely beautiful and super comfortable home.
As a result, I am very comfortable doing any job. I have no issues, BUT that also means that sometimes I get stuck wasting time on random hustles when I should be out there strengthening my portfolio for the career I want.
Whatever your story is- write it down or think it out loud. Do you see some patterns that you need to change? What have you learned from your story?