When you think about money, what does success look like to you? What does living the good LIFE look like to you?
For us it was a little something like this – getting out of DEBT, owning our stuff, not owing anyone, having a budget you and your spouse both agree upon, sleeping well at night, removing the tension from your marriage. Knowing how much money you HAVE. These were our aspirations. Once we got clear on where we were and where we wanted to be, we were able to make progress.
Success means different things to different people.
Some people want a rockin’ wardrobe, some people love to eat out, some people want a BIG home, some want a small home. Not one of those is better than the other, it just matters what YOU want. When you get clear on what you want you can start sorting through how to get there.
If you wanted to lose weight, does it make sense to have a burger and fries for dinner 3 times this week? I’m not a nutritionist, nor do I play one on TV, but I will guess the answer is NO.
Knowing where you are on a subject is powerful. When I was young my parents got divorced and EVERY SINGLE INTERACTION WAS ABOUT MONEY. For the love of Christmas everything went back to money. So, my story was, money is bad, it causes conflict and fights and pain. Doesn’t it make sense then that I would want to stay a comfortable football field length away from the topic? Can I get an AMEN?
Then I married Bill and he did not have that story. His story was…. Hold please. I have to call him and ask him. Queue Wheel of Fortune music.
Okay, I’m back. Here’s what Bill had to say: He grew up in a lower-middle class house. They had the necessities covered. His parents made what they had work for them, but there was no extra. They saved and did not squander their money. The messages he heard were “save your money and you can accumulate enough to take care of yourself.” You know what I hear from my seat? Scarcity. Just sayin’.
So, there we have it FEAR + SCARCITY = Money anguish.
We have spent YEARS working through these emotions. We still do. All the tools we have in place, like our budget, help tremendously.
What I do know is it helps to know where you are before you can set a destination on the map of where you want to go.
Here are some questions to begin the communication about your money story, thoughts, beliefs, feelings. It matters. YOU matter. The clearer you are on how you feel about money the better you can get to the place where you can manage it.
- What issues am I/ we having with money?
- How does each person in this situation feel about money?
- How do we want to feel? What do we want our money situation to be like?
- What can we do about it?
- Think of 3 to 4 solutions.
- Agree on those you can stick to, choose 2 – 3 to begin.
- Agree on monitoring and evaluating your solutions weekly.
- Give it time. No change happens overnight. Be patient, be kind, be compassionate.
Know that everything changes and you will have to be flexible. When you know why you behave a certain way, it is easier to be kind to yourself and work through where you are to get to where you want to be.
If you want to go deeper, below are a few more questions you can ask yourself to get to the heart of how you feel about money and why.
- What stories do you tell yourself about money and your money situation?
- What place did money have in your childhood? What was your family dynamic around money?
- When the topic of money comes up what do you DO:
- Go into denial?
- Isolate yourself (this would be me)?
- Get angry? Resentful?
- Bargain? If we had –
- Sadness or Regretful?
- If you have children, what lessons are you teaching them about money?
- On a scale of 1 to 10 how much do you want to change your relationship with money? 10 being the most, 1 meh-not so much!?
- Who do you admire personally, professionally, spiritually, financially?
- Why? What is it about them that makes you admire them?
- What do they do that you can start doing?
YOU CAN DO THIS. You can get your money in order and have the life of your dreams. It most likely won’t look like you think it will, and it won’t be here by Friday, despite Amazon PRIME. However, being intentional about your life, relationship and money changes everything.
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Karen and Bill