Money, it is said, makes the world go around. We use it daily, exchange it for goods and services, save it for the future, worry about it, celebrate it, and yet often, we are reluctant to delve into our personal histories with it.
Our earliest memories of money can reveal much about our present-day financial beliefs and behaviours. Understanding these memories is essential to retelling your money story and creating a healthier relationship with your finances.
Imagine taking a journey back in time to your earliest recollections involving money. These might include receiving an allowance for chores, opening your first bank account, or witnessing discussions about money between your parents or caregivers. How did these experiences make you feel? What did they teach you about the value of money, the importance of saving, and the consequences of spending?
In most cases, the messages we received about money in childhood were indirect, absorbed through observation rather than explicit teaching. This is how our subconscious money beliefs begin to form. For instance, if you saw your parents struggling with debt, you might have subconsciously internalised the notion that money is a source of stress and anxiety. Alternatively, if you were rewarded with money for achievements, you might equate money with success and self-worth.
A critical part of retelling your money story involves reflecting on these early experiences and uncovering the hidden narratives that underlie your financial behaviours. You might find, for example, that you’re a chronic saver because of childhood fears of not having enough, or maybe you’re a compulsive spender, seeking the temporary thrill that buying something new provides, a thrill you first experienced when you spent your pocket money as a child.
Once you’ve identified these narratives, the next step is to challenge and reframe them. This doesn’t mean forgetting or negating your past experiences. Instead, it’s about acknowledging them, understanding their impact, and then consciously adopting new, healthier beliefs about money.
Remember, your past doesn’t have to dictate your future.
As part of this journey, you might also consider sharing your discoveries with those closest to you. Money conversations are often considered taboo but can be incredibly healing and liberating. By sharing your money story, you open up the opportunity for empathy, understanding, and support from others who might be going through a similar process.
Our relationship with money is complex and deeply personal. However, by exploring our earliest memories of money and understanding the impact on our financial behaviours, we can start to rewrite our money stories. This is a continuous journey of self-discovery and growth, one that requires patience, courage, and compassion. But the reward – a healthier, more empowering relationship with money – is well worth the effort. Remember, the goal is not to attain perfection, but rather to strive for progress and authenticity in your financial life.