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YOUR MONEY STORY – changing the chapter for better wellbeing

financial freedom

My goals and financial freedom written on a blackboard.

What do you think about money? How does money make you feel?

Our emotional connection with money contributes to our wellbeing.  Research shows that people’s financial wellbeing (their habits, relationship and feeling about money) impacts everything from sleep patterns, focus or quality of work. Our financial circumstances are also attributed to increased likelihood of anxiety or depression. (with some research connecting people with low financial wellbeing to be 380% more likely of experiencing anxiety**)

Money is a huge part of our life. It really can be the plus or minus of our everyday.

The chapter’s of our life story are scattered with experiences that forge our relationship with money. From the first thing you bought with your pocket money, to the time you looked at your bank balance and gasped (with fear or joy).

Our experience of money can cause a cacophony of feelings within. From excitement to trepidation. From pleasure to deep depression.

Just like our life’s savings, we think we have put these experiences away for safe-keeping. However, our brain works in such a way these subconscious memories are stored in the back of our mind. A “useful” reminder of what and how to feel when it comes to money. 

It’s this back-catalogue that forms our belief and identity when it comes to our money story.

Money can be our best friend or our worst enemy.

And it’s not just our own money stories that impact the way we think, feel and behave with money.

We inherit these stories from our families, our spouses, the news or even Brenda in the canteen at work. It is all woven into our narrative of financial wellbeing.

It’s a simple equation, Money equals ….?

How you answered that question will also connect with a feeling, a sense of what money means to you.

As adults, it is easy to believe that we should “have our act together” when it comes to spending, saving and prioritising.  In truth, few of us will have been taught about money management at school or university.  Our attitudes or behaviours with money have most likely been formed in a “learn on the job” way, figuring stuff out as we go along. And in honesty much of these habits will be driven my how you feel about your financial wellbeing, past, present and future.

Are you familiar with Pavlov’s Dogs, a psychological experiment (circa 1900’s), in which dogs were given food at the ring of a bell? Quickly, the dogs learned to salivate just from the sound of the bell in anticipation of a delicious treat that may or may not arrive.  We too form responses triggered by an association, so you might not be salivating over your bank balance, but you may be feeling nervous jitters in your stomach or finding your head starts to hurt as you try to make sense of your budget.

Think about the feeling you got when you purchased that new car? Or when you splash out on a fancy meal?

What about if your bank balance shows red? Or you didn’t realise the interest rate had changed on your credit card?

Are you grappling with guilt about whether to save for your retirement or splash out on the family at Christmas?

How do other people in your life relate to their money?

Is it fun and free or secretive and tetchy?

Understanding your money story, isn’t about dredging up uncomfortable memories or having awkward conversations. It’s recognising that the feelings you have influence your ability to nurture a vision and take action to create your financial wellbeing?

If money makes you feel embarrassed, anxious, shameful, guilty? If it gives you a short-lived buzz that ends in a feeling of despair or exhaustion-  You can learn ways to change the story.

Our life is a book, full of chapters. Imagine if the next chapter full of calm, clarity & a sense of confidence, with courage to act & resolve.

Thank you to JKChangeWork, who kindly wrote this blog.