We are all a product of our experiences and environment.
For instance, I don’t like mayonnaise because once when I was a little kid on a boat trip to Bear Mountain (remember the Dayliner?) I was eating a baloney and mayo sandwich when a kid ran out in front of me, put his head over the rail, and threw up.
What came out of his mouth looked white.
I looked at him, looked at my sandwich, and threw it away.
I have not eaten mayonnaise since that day nor can you ever convince me to in life, ever!
Maybe you had a similar experience that seared itself into your consciousness and affects you to this day, for good or bad.
For instance, if you repeatedly had a bad experience with a particular group, race or gender, you might be inclined to form a judgment (prejudice) against them, even though it’s most likely wrong.
Meanwhile, we conveniently overlook what we may have done to bring the problem on ourselves.
We are humans and we tend to live in our feelings, hold grudges and remember the bad times more than the good, so prejudices can come easily and we have to fight them.
Also, it’s easy to blame someone else for a bad experience rather than look at ourselves and how bad decisions on our part may have led to the problem.
It’s no different with money. If we had great experiences with money in the past, we might be inclined to have very positive views about money.
But if we’ve overall had bad experiences with money, we might form very negative views about money (prejudices) that affect how we interact with, and use, money.
Either way, we can form predetermined responses when it comes to making, having and spending money.
These can have positive or negative affects on our finances.
For instance, if you heard your parents always say “The game is rigged and the little man can’t get ahead,” you might resolve yourself to being broke, taking on a victim mentality, because you believe the game is rigged against you, so whats the point in even trying?
Or say you made a series of uninformed and unfortunate mistakes when handling money (like I did big time!) then when you think of money that might also bring on negative feelings and unhealthy money habits.
But say your parents had healthy discussions around money in the home while you were growing up, or, you have overall made good decisions with your own finances, you probably in general have very positive feelings and habits when it comes to handling your money.
Understanding why we do what we do with our money is key to developing the habits and views regarding it that lead to a financially healthy and stable cash flow and net worth.
No one ends up in thousands of dollars of credit card debt with barely any cash on hand because they tripped and fell into it.
Likewise, no one ends up with thousands of dollars in an emergency fund and zero debt because they slipped, tripped and fell into it!
Whatever your experience, owning your part in it is the only way to move forward and grow toward a healthier financial situation.
Look, kids blame others for their problems rather than accept responsibility.
But adults suck it up and accept responsibility where responsibility lies and that is with the person in the mirror.
Financially unfit people share the following in common:
They play the blame game, spend blindly without a budget, have no regular system of saving and investing and they use credit cards to make up for failures in the first three areas.
Financially fit people, on the other hand, share the following in common:
They take personal responsibility for their financial situation, use a monthly budget to manage their money, regularly save and invest and they have very little to no credit card debt.
You see, it’s all about habits, and habits are shaped by experiences and the views formed by them.
What habits have you developed when it comes to money?
Do you have a life-shaping “financial mayo story” in your past that shapes how you view money today?
Mine was a bankruptcy in my mid 20’s.
We all have our own unique experience, but what has your experience with money been like overall?
Comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me in 3 WORDS OR LESS how you would describe your relationship with money.
In my next post in this series I will let you know the results. Thanks and have a great day!