When I was 10 my parents got a divorce. I went from being a pretty normal kid with financial security to a kid in a struggling single-parent household. I was under constant financial stress that we were one inch from losing our home. I worried that I would have to move and make new friends, and essentially, leave the life I knew.
I grew up learning that money was scarce, and that the wealthy people in our neighborhood were spoiled and lazy. Why is this important? Because childhood experiences – more often than we may want to acknowledge – shape our adult beliefs and behaviors.
But these beliefs do not have to rule your life. There are solutions (so stay tuned). I too have had to face down and work through some seriously unhealthy beliefs to find the other side where healthier beliefs live and thrive.
Here are the Big Four Faulty Money Beliefs:
- Money is bad. (I/they don’t deserve it, rich people are bad, only greedy people want money.)
- Money is self-worth, (How much I make is how much I’m worth as a person.)
- Money will solve all my problems. (Money is the solution, money makes a person happy, money is love.)
- Money is scarce. (Frugal, all saving no spending, don’t talk about money, there is not enough money to go around, I will never have enough.)
By the time I went to college, without knowing it, I had unconsciously strapped beliefs one and four to my back. In high school, I had a good friend who came from a wealthy family. Her mother had inherited her wealth, talked poorly about people that didn’t have money and often used her wealth like a weapon (when she was happy my friend received gifts, when she was not, items were withheld).
My friend grew up learning that money was equivalent to self-worth and that if her parents were giving her money then that meant that she was loved. By the time she went to college, she had unconsciously strapped beliefs two and three to her back.
I will never forget the day when we met in the gym in the middle of our senior year as college was looming. We both looked a mess and we were on the verge of tears. We sat down and confessed to one another that the stress in our lives was reaching a boiling point. Neither one of us was eating much, our sleeping was all but nonexistent and we were both walking around in constant fear. “So, what’s got you so freaked out?” my friend asked me.