When I was a kid and my parents were still married, they would have huge arguments because my mom, who was in charge of paying the household bills, would sometimes forget to pay those bills.
There times that we went without electricity or water for a day or two. My dad would get so upset because he couldn’t understand why she hadn’t paid the bills; there was money in the bank.
But my mom hated dealing with money.
Interesting choice to put her in charge of the bills, but hey, we’ve all got our stuff.
You see when my mom was growing up, her mother, my grandmother, coveted money. She made my mom feel like things were more important to her than her own daughter.
She had furs, diamonds, and a nice car. My grandfather built their home on a golf course. And yet, she was very tight with her money when it came to other people. For birthdays and Christmases, she would send us cards with $5 inside.
My mom got a story that money and things came between her and the love she so desperately craved from her parents.
So when she got older my mom didn’t want to have anything to do with money. She had an angry relationship with it and would often spend it quickly or let it flow through her fingers easily, with no real idea of where it went.
Her relationship with money only worsened after my parents divorced. The frequency of coming home to no lights or water increased. Debit and credit cards became her means of survival. She couldn’t do the things she wanted to do because the money was already gone.
She shared with me a couple of years ago her reflection on money and the struggle she’s had with it during her lifetime. It broke my heart.
Growing up with all of that uncertainty, I got a different perspective on money. Having money gave me a sense of security. So, I started working at the age of 16 and never stopped.
I saw the stress my mom had when there wasn’t money in the bank to pay the bills and so I’ve always saved. As of this writing, I have five different types of savings accounts because I never want to be in a position where I can’t pay my bills.
When I quit the corporate world 18 years ago, fears came up about not having enough money. I don’t like living in fear – I had plenty of that as a young child, and so I began shifting my beliefs about money.
I started thinking of money as any other energetic force I could have a relationship with and I wanted it to be a healthy one.
Here are a few of the shifts I made:
Love and respect money. (Notice I didn’t say covet, horde, or make my primary focus.)
To love and respect someone I make it known that they are important to me. I share with them my appreciation for who they are and what they do. I’m always grateful when I see them and wish them well when they have to leave.
I do the same with my money. When I receive it, I’m always grateful for its arrival and when I spend it, I’m grateful I have it available to spend.
Gratitude is at the heart of any healthy relationship.
Money is an exchange of perceived value.
If I can create more value in what I do there’s a willingness from others to exchange more money for my services. This is why I am continuously learning – reading, listening to podcasts, taking classes I’m looking at how I can increase my knowledge or value for others.
Never do work only for the money.
This was a tough lesson to learn, I felt like I had to go back to the schoolhouse several times before I could completely make this shift. But I got wise counsel as a self-employed person early on.
Consider the work you do as an independent contractor or self-employed person as a three-legged. Before you say yes to any work you need to make sure that there are at least two legs of the stool intact.
- The money is good
- The project is something I’ll enjoy
- I like the people you get to work with
I’ve used this decision tool for years now, but still can’t understand how any stool can stand on two legs. There’s got to be a better analogy but I haven’t thought of it yet.
These were a few of the shifts I’ve made about my emotional energy around money over the years.
If you’re feeling like your beliefs or stories around money are holding you back from the financial and time freedom you crave, join me at the next Moffitt Talks live on June 23rd. The topic is Mastering your Money Mindset and this month is totally free!
I don’t want you to have any excuse not to join me and begin a better relationship with your money. You can find the event registration here: