Where Did Your Money Story Come From?

There’s a saying that goes, “To get where you want to be, you need to know where you’ve been.”

This is especially true when it comes to our finances. Most, if not all, of us carry money stories from our childhood based on what we were told about money from our parents or from a life event that created financial trauma, such as divorce or unexpected widowhood.

What were you told about money growing up?

For example:

“Money is the root of all evil.”
“Nice girls don’t talk about money.”
“Money is not important.”

Where Did Your Money Story Come From?

This isn’t to place blame on our upbringing or life events. If you’re stuck in certain areas of your finances, it could be because you haven't acknowledged those times in order to move forward.

Major life events need closure in order for us to move on. It’s the same with money. We need closure from our past in order to move forward. That doesn’t mean money triggers won’t crop up from time to time. However, it does mean, we’ll be better equipped to handle those triggers when they happen.

“Money triggers are tied to our emotional well-being. For example, A spending trigger is an emotion that causes us to give in to spending temptations.”

Let’s talk about these:

Money is The Root of All Evil

Did you hear this one a lot growing up? I know I did. Ugh! I heard it A LOT and it’s a misquoted verse taken from the Bible by well-meaning parents. The bible doesn’t say “money is the root of all evil.”

In 1 Timothy 6:10, (NIV), it says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

For the LOVE of money, meaning loving money for money’s sake.

Money is a tool that can be used for good or bad. There are plenty of wealthy people who do a lot of great, philanthropic things with their money. There are also a lot of people who have underlying greed that do horrible things with money.

True story:
Growing up my father and uncle were in business together, started by grandfather as they took it over after he passed away. They were supposed to be partners making the same salary. We lived in a very modest home, went to public school, rarely went a vacation and I worked for spending money.

My uncle and his family lived in an upscale neighborhood with tennis courts, in-ground pool and Wayne Gretzky for a neighbor. Nobody ever sat in the living room, it was for show only. The den, larger than some apartments, had wall-to-wall floor to ceiling built-in shelves full of books. I found out later, they weren’t real books. They were the kind that builders use to stage homes. Again, all for show.

My cousins (5) all went to private schools and had new skis and cars every year.

When I was in high school, I used to wonder, “If my dad and uncle are business partners, how does my uncle and his family afford THAT lifestyle.” Years later, I found out that my uncle was embezzling all kinds of money from the business and the accountant was in on the take.

How did my dad not know? He trusted his brother.

Nice Girls Don’t Talk About Money

While many of us may not have been told this specifically, it was probably implied. You would think that growing up in a family business I would have learned a lot about managing money. When I was a pre-teen, my grandmother would have me help her with the accounts receivable for the business.

When check payments would come in, she had a card file system (obviously pre-technology) for each customer where I would place a checkmark in the correct column for the date and dollar amount received.

That was the extent of my financial education because nice girls don’t talk about money.

Decades later, after working in corporate investment management as a securities trader, I attended a local networking event for women.

During the introductions to two of the women, the conversation went something like this:

Them: “Oh! So, nice to meet you! What do you do?

Me: “I’m a securities trader. I work for (XYZ investment firm) and help clients get the best price when we trade stocks or bonds.”

One of them: “Oh, I don’t know anything about those things. I let my husband handle all the money and make all those decisions.”

Me: chin drop

Money is Not Important

Until we can barter for a roof over our heads, food at the grocery store or spa, which I doubt is going to happen any time soon, money is essential.

The value of importance placed on it and how much you need depends on the lifestyle you choose to live.

Yes, money is essential and important.

Can you relate to any of the above?

Start the Process for Closure

1. Take full responsibility for only you and the things you can control.

Ask yourself what you’re holding onto and why. Are you trying to avoid dealing with loss and the void that loss creates? If you're willing to let go, what does that really mean? What will you have to do?

2. Allow yourself to grieve the loss.

Incomplete grief may contribute to making poor choices in the future.

For example, I had to allow myself to grieve the loss of the legacy my dad and uncle could have left to me, my brother and my cousins. In the years I did not do that, I made poor financial choices that did not serve me well...at all.

3. Make a plan for right now.

Determine what's most important for you moving forward. If necessary, reorder your priorities to allow you to explore different possibilities and opportunities that may present themselves.

For example, is putting a spending plan together most important right now? It can be as this is the foundation of the roadmap that will help you get started.

4. Explore Your Strengths

Start writing and focus on the positives. If you use a daily planner, write 2 things you’re grateful for each day. Surround yourself with people who will lift you up, encourage you and who will not judge you.

5. Create Routine

Routine helps us to feel better about ourselves and allows room to create closure. It’s very powerful.

I recommend reading and starting a ritual as outlined in the book, The Miracle Morning.

While we all carry money stories from our past, we don’t have to allow them to keep us stuck and away from the lifestyle we crave.

And, there is no shame in your money story.

Patty Bonsera is a former Securities Trader who became a Financial Wellness Advisor to support midlife women asking, "What's next?" In an industry built for men, she founded Fear.less Girl Financial as a better way to help you feel confident and beautiful about your finances and to celebrate midlife with soulful abundance. She will coach you, teach you, and celebrate with you every step of the way.