Over the past 15 years, I have witnessed rich as well as poverty stricken people struggle with their emotions around money. Feelings of overwhelm, shame, guilt, confusion, stress, and defeat on the negative side and feelings of satisfaction, peace, power, pleasure and fulfillment on the positive side.
Let me ask you a few questions?
Do you believe the love of money is the root of all evil? Do you have enough money but still feel dissatisfied with your life? Have you made a good living for yourself and your family but fear it can all go away at anytime? Do you help others with their money emergencies only to turn around and regret it? Do you spend money and feel remorse afterward?
Do you sacrifice so much in the effort to save for the future that you don’t get to enjoy life enough today? Do you feel like you choose money over living your life’s purpose? Have you ever received a lump sum of money and lost it all? Do you do things with money only because you think they will impress other?
If you answered yes to any of these questions you could be passing down these emotions to your children and grandchildren. Even more important, if you believe your children or grandchildren would answer yes to any of these questions then you have already passed down these emotions.
What does prosperity mean to you?
Prosperity means different things to different people, but in most cases that idea is based on past money history. We are often either doing the opposite of what we saw happen in our past or we’re doing exactly the same thing we saw happen in our past.
If money was discussed in your home it may not be as scary as if money was not discussed in your home. If you were told, “do this because I said so,” and never learned how to make money decisions, you may feel powerless and confused around money. Conversely, if you were told messages like money doesn’t grow on trees and got long explanations about how rare money is you may be irritated by money. Additionally, if you had to perform in order to receive money you may believe that money is hard to attain, even if it is in abundance.
One learns their money beliefs subconsciously. Before the age of 3 we have 85% of our money ideas set in our brains and by age 15 we are at about 95%. This means that only 5% of our money ideas are created during adulthood. So when you send your student off to college their brains aren’t fully developed but their money beliefs nearly are.
We are all doing the best with the information we have. Including when we become parents and grandparents. But let’s face it. If our ideas were formed before our brains were fully formed, we are not set up for success. We cannot teach what we didn’t learn.
The good news is negative past money history can heal. The even better news is you can start today with these 3 simple ideas. Remember children learn from example so start with you and watch them grow as you do.
Identify your money blocks and patterns by taking the Money Mentality quiz here. Understanding your Money Mentality can help you become more aware of both your positive and negative money behaviors. Once you become aware you can adjust them. That is the second step. We often know better but we do not do better because our patterns are too ingrained. This next idea will help you shift your habits.
After learning your Money Mentality and identifying your positive and negative behaviors around money, discuss these positive and negative patterns with your partner and children. If you are embarrassed, work to let it go. If the patterns exist everyone knows it they just aren’t talking about them.
Have a Money Peace Party. This is when you talk to your family about what’s going well financially. Include the children and have then discuss their ideas about money. This makes the money conversation easier and the focus is not on the problem but on the successes. You can talk about the problems another day. During your Money Peace Party you are not allowed to complain about money. You are only allowed to address what’s going well.
During this party have each person write down one positive money affirmation. It could be as simple as “I love money.” If your children are 3 years old and too young to write, write if for them but don’t exclude them. They have an idea of money and prosperity already and you are helping them positively shape that.
If your children are older this is imperative. What messages are you sending your student off to college with? How likely are they to pass them on to their children as they journey through life? Money is a conversation and the more you have that conversation with your student the more likely they are to be comfortable with money.
Families and marriages break up over money fights because the money conversation isn’t easy to have. Start by having the adults take the Money Mentality quiz and discuss it. Later bring in your students and ask them their beliefs about money. Give them one simple change to focus on and continue to have the money conversation regularly, even after your student is off to college.
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