Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mastering Your Money Story

Popular opinion indicates that Money is a mythical beast which captivates, mesmerizes, frightens, rewards, controls, enables and confuses. Money haunts us whether we have too much or not enough. Money is blamed for divorce, fighting, stress, losing homes and burdening debt.

In reality, money is a concept that was developed to allow us to trade commodities with unequal values. When we think of money, we think of currency, coins, checks, and bank accounts. All of these represent a value that we place on things we want or provide to others. Money touches everything in our lives these days.

The power that money has in our lives comes from our money story. Paul Clitheroe in his article Smart Money Habits For Kids” (Queensland Times, July 2012) says:
IT'S easy to think your money habits are no one's business but your own. However when you have kids, nothing could be further from the truth.
Children, and especially teenagers, pick up a great deal from their parents' attitudes to money, and the message we send our kids about the way we handle our personal finances can stick with them for life.
Your money story is the accumulation of the excuses you have given for not being able to do things you want to do and the justification for holding yourself back from showing up in a greater way.
For example, in step families it is not unusual to hear one biological parent to “blame” the other for financial conditions in their current relationship. In dissolved relationships there is usually one injured party, someone who feels wronged. And there may be an incident when one party caused pain to the other.
However, when any incident or experience is held on to for 6, 7 or 10 years, it becomes woven into all that goes wrong in the new family; it has become part of the fabric-the story.

Steps to understanding your money story:

Step 1 Whatever your reality may be made up of today, ask yourself these questions:

1. What do I want to change about this problem or situation?

2. What do I believe to be true about it?

3. What would I have to believe in order to move forward?

4. Now, what do I commit to doing to resolve this and change my money story?

Step Two Keep track of what your children say that involves money. How do they react when they ask for money and it is denied? What do they believe they need money for? Are they willing to trade something of value (chores, good deeds, etc.) in order to receive what they ask for?

Step Three Review the thoughts, expressions and comments your children have made concerning money. How do their views mirror yours?

Step Four Identify 3 ideas about money that have come up in your family. Turn each of them into a statement and then test whether it is true or false.
You may wonder how to test whether a thought or habit about money is the truth. Stay tuned! I’ll share some ideas about that in the next article.