Your past relationship with money doesn’t have to be your future. By exploring the state of your current relationship with money & understanding how you got to where you are, you can change how you think, feel and behave toward money — and may even shift how money affects your overall well-being.
In this Money Mastery Series, Intuitive Life Coach and spiritual guide Sheila Hill shares how changing your money story may improve your relationship with money, and help you shift your mindset from one of lack and scarcity to one of security and abundance.
Q: Why is it important to consider the relationship we have with our money?
Hill: We nurture many relationships throughout our lives: Those with our kids, our friends, family members, even coworkers. We know that what we nurture, grows. Nurturing and understanding your relationship with money can be just as important.
I like to ask people: Is it a whirl-wind romance, filled with respect, balance and flow? Or is it a love-hate relationship?
Whatever it is, I feel it’s important for people to think about how they ended up in the relationship they currently have with money.
Q: What factors influence a person’s relationship with money?
Hill: A large part of how many people think about money can be answered by reflecting back on their childhood and the values, thoughts and beliefs that were instilled within them regarding money.
Was money considered a limited resource? Was it something that made your family feel disempowered and lacking control? Perhaps it wasn’t discussed at all.
Growing up, many people might have heard these phrases:
- “We can’t afford that.”
- “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
- “You spend everything you get.”
- “Money is the root of all evil.”
- “Money is to be saved not spent.”
Our childhood experiences greatly affect who we become, and our relationship with money is no different. For example, many people in their 40’s or 50’s were brought up by parents who were born and raised following the war — a time when many families experienced scarcity and loss. These people may have absorbed their parents’ money story about ‘lack & scarcity’ and taken it on as their own.
Q: So what is the impact of a poor financial environment in childhood?
Hill: The environment you were raised in, likely infused your mind with a “money story.” If left unattended, it could create all kinds of havoc in your financial life. When you are raised hearing that money is a severely limited resource, a program of lack and scarcity is instilled within you. It can play out in all manner of ways.
When money isn’t discussed at all, the childhood mind is left to come to its own conclusions: Is money bad? Is it a secret? Does it hold power over our family somehow? It’s confusing for a child, and may lead to a future that is lacking in a firm foundation of healthy beliefs and behaviours.
I encourage people to take a moment to reflect: What is your money story? Is it even yours? Is it rooted in a truth or is it just what you have come to believe, yet you aren’t really sure why?
Q: Can you change your money story?
Hill: Yes! Your financial past does not need to be your future. There are two key steps you can take to help change your money story.
1. Recognize you have a money story and what it is.
Understanding if it’s empowering or disempowering you is equally important. Is your relationship with money a healthy one that makes you feel financially secure and stress free, or does your relationship with money feel heavy or fearful? When you ask yourself why you feel this way, or why you think this way about money, does it illicit thoughts about what you heard, learned or inherited growing up?
If your money story consists of thoughts and beliefs around lack, scarcity or fear, then you need to change your story. A belief or feeling of lack, scarcity and fear will likely attract more of the same.
2. Shift into a mindset of abundance.
Abundance isn’t just about money. It’s also about recognizing the wealth you have in all forms and being grateful for it. Ask someone who struggles with their health and they’ll say that having health and vitality is abundance. Ask someone who is lonely and they’ll say having loving friends and family is abundance. Someone who is homeless or hungry would say that food and shelter is abundance.
Having an abundant mindset means consciously choosing to no longer give power to the old stories you tell yourself. It’s about changing your patterns, thoughts and beliefs around money and consciously shifting into abundance — not just about money, but about your life.
To help shift into a mindset of abundance, ask yourself, “What does abundance mean to me?” “Where in my life do I have a lot to be grateful for?”
Your mindset, thoughts and beliefs about money can dictate the level of abundance you are able to attract into your life. By nurturing your relationship and making conscious choices about how you can achieve your version of abundance, a healthy relationship with your money will develop— regardless of where you’re starting from today.
More from the Money Mastery Series:
This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.