About six months before John and I got married, we went to see his accountant so we could prepare to file our taxes jointly as a couple. I brought my financial materials in so that the accountant could take a look.
He said, “OMG, John you have a saver!”
As a single mom with a nine-year-old son at the time, I had consistently saved. Each month my credit union automatically deducted money that went into savings. Each time I received a raise at work, I increased the amount of money that automatically went into my 401k. I was a saver. A friend once told me that I was one of the most resourceful people she knew.
Each of us has a money personality – a behavior pattern that is familiar to us that we act out in life.
Ninety-five percent of your behavior is run by your subconscious mind. You have two minds – the subconscious mind and the conscious mind.
The conscious mind is where you think about your wishes and desires for what you want in life. I call your subconscious mind your operating system because it’s programmed with your beliefs, thoughts and habits that drive your behavior giving you the result you have today in your life.
Your money script was formed before age seven as a result of what you saw, heard and experienced in your family, from watching other people, the media, and schools and other institutions.
So why is it so difficult to get what you want? Because your subconscious mind is running the show. This is why if you aren’t seeing positive change with what you want and desire financially, it could be a belief in your subconscious mind is at odds with that.
You want your subconscious mind to be aligned with your conscious money goals.
To become conscious, you need to learn to observe the voices in your head. We have a chorus of voices that we absorbed growing up from parents and institutions and many of them are negative and critical. This is your “inner critic” or judge that repeats the same negative thoughts over and over again.
Discernment is key here to listen to the only voice that matters – your higher Self not the little self (ego).
I invite you to fill out the questions below to find your money personality and see how it is working (or not) for you.
Four Money Personalities
Are you spending more than you earn and putting it on credit cards? Do you feel like you don’t have enough money because when it comes in, you spend it, and you believe you don’t have enough or there will never be enough? Spenders are focused on buying material things and get value from the status symbols money can buy. Spenders are most often in debt. When they make more money, they spend more money.
Are you making more than your friends or family and feel guilty about it so you spend it so they won’t feel bad and you won’t be rejected?
Do you derive your sense of worth from the material things you buy?
Did you experience “not enough” as a child? Look for patterns from your childhood because we often make meaning out of financial events with our parents and either live the same patterns or we do the opposite (I will never be in that situation).
You don’t like to spend money. You don’t like to talk about money. You’re afraid to let any money go and tend to hoard what you have and deny yourself things that would make life comfortable. You only buy when something is on sale.
Money is security to you and there might not ever be enough. Are you having any fun in life?
Was there not enough to go around when you were young?
Savers are money conscious people. They are living a balance of having a life today and making a life in the future. In my story above, I knew that if I wanted to travel each year with my son to see my family on the east coast at the holidays, I had to save $50 a month. I put my money where my values were. When you pay down your credit cards, you are saving the interest you would have to pay. This is actually a form of savings. Ideally you want to save 20 percent of your income by reducing credit card debt each month and put money aside for travel and retirement or whatever your priorities are for the future. With this balanced money plan, you spend at least 30 percent on your “Wants” that make life pleasurable – child care, hair, health club and dinners out. Then you spend 50 percent on your needs to keep a roof over your head and food on the table.
It’s said that people who save money automatically each month end up with more money. They forget about what is automatically deducted and live within their means. How can you save even $25 to $100 a month? Would you have to give up some of your Starbuck’s budget?
You don’t look at your finances and you avoid looking for fear that it will all be too much. You think that by avoiding your financial life that it won’t be so frightening or stressful. Wrong!!
What you resist will persist. If this sounds like you then there’s a belief underneath that is driving your behavior to avoid looking at your finances. This is a form of financial self-sabotage. You may believe that you don’t deserve to have money and you may sabotage your own financial well-being.
Beliefs are based on your interpretation of your experiences.
Nothing has meaning until you give it meaning.
Beliefs are thoughts you have thought so many times you believe they are true. They are not true unless you have questioned them. Remember you act out subconscious beliefs about yourself and money. To be conscious of your money life, you must uncover what you believe or heard, saw and experienced as a young child related to money.
Do you avoid opening your bills and stuff them away in a drawer?
Do you avoid looking at your bank balance?
Do you avoid looking at how much debt you have?
Now it’s your turn to discover your money personality:
- Name the voices you hear that are similar to your parent’s voices and write down what are they telling you.
- What did you learn about your money beliefs growing up?
- We all have a panel of judges or inner critics in our heads that talk to us all day long. Write down what your inner critic says about money and notice what your parents said about money when you were young. Is it similar?
- Are you handling money just like one or both of your parents? If so, how?
- Which belief is not empowering you? Question it using The Work of Byron Katie on your mobile app or iPad (it’s $1.99). This is the industrial strength method of opening your mind.
Example: “I have to work hard for money.”
What your inner judges tell you:
- Example: I’m not good enough or I’m not an expert, I need more training.
- Fill in your critical money thoughts about yourself.
- What actions do you take as a result of believing this?
Example: I might as well get some enjoyment spending money because I am not happy working so hard in my job. I will go shopping and buy ___________ even though it will end up on my credit card, and I’ll have more debt. Thought: I’ll never get out of this debt cycle.
- Write a more empowering belief and write down 3 specific examples of how this is as true or truer than your original belief that isn’t working for you. I want you to write down a belief that is more empowering that you WANT to step into and live out.
When you take action and are conscious of a belief that isn’t working for you, you transform your beliefs.
If you had to pick one money personality for yourself right now, which one would be the best representation of your money personality?
Think about your childhood. Did you get your needs met as a child? Could it be possible that you are acting out unmet needs by spending to buy happiness or to buy love? Remember you act out what you subconsciously believe.
You develop strategies as you grow up to get your needs met.
- Was there enough to go around in your home growing up?
- What needs did your inner child not get met? Write these down here and see if you might connect the dots to how this might be driving your spending habits.
- How can you comfort and heal your inner child now and make her feel safe, loved and tell her she has enough and she is good enough?
- Could it be possible that you are holding on to your money because you feel safer and more secure by not spending it? Did you hold on to things you bought as a child to protect them from other siblings?
The goal is to become conscious of what you desire, think and believe about money.
What dreams do you want to live out? What do you value the most to save and spend your money on? What experiences will you remember that you want to treasure?
Remember on the other side of this work is your freedom – clarity, peace and you’ll be a conscious co-creator of the life you most want.
This is where courage comes into play.
Can you set up a conscious money date each week so that you don’t dread looking at your finances but instead are in charge of what you are doing instead of being a victim of your finances?
The biggest issue I see in my work with women and money is that they are terrified to look at their finances. Denial is not a river on the Nile – it lives in us.
We think that it will be easier not to look. Oh no, my friend, this is where fear lives in the dark and anxiety will kick up because we don’t want to look – it grows bigger and scarier.
Walking through your fear or to the edge of it is where freedom lies.
Can you set up a positive reward for looking at your finances once a week?
Here’s to you becoming conscious of your money and creating financial freedom in your life!
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