Our beliefs, not just about money, but on how we use language, our view of the world all starts with our early childhood memories and the beliefs we formed from those observations. So what is your earliest memory of money, and how do you think that has impacted on how you relate to money now in your adult life?
My earliest memories of money revolve around the word ‘No’. No I couldn’t have the pink umbrella with the pink frill the must have winter fashion accessory for a 4 year old. No, I couldn’t have a Barbie doll, they were too expensive, and so I got the imitation one instead.
My parents goal was to own their own home mortgage free, and to their credit they achieved that. But it did mean we moved house a lot and each time we traded down, so the mortgage kept getting smaller. By the time I was at university they were debt free and have been ever since.
What money beliefs did I learn from this?
1. Be careful with your money,
2. You don’t need an extravagant lifestyle, and the best of everything,
3. It’s all about practicality and functionality.
That belief worked really well for me whilst I was living at home. I diligently saved most of my wages from my after school job, which enabled me to buy my first car.
Then the inevitable happened, I left home and started working full time.
I remember spending most of my first pay packet on the most beautiful sheepskin rug (OK, I am a New Zealander and we are surrounded by sheep!!), my parents were horrified. I was so proud of myself and my new possession.
The next week it was something else, and then I was on the slippery slope of buying stuff; I discovered credit cards, and for many years after that everything y parents had instilled in me disappeared out the window. I never did tell them the size of the mortgage I had on my own home!!
You see, my belief about money changed, I didn’t realise it at the time, but it went from being careful with money to being careless with money.
It was only when I really started challenging my beliefs that I realised there was much more to my parents careful attitude to money.
They were careful with their money so they could manage on my Dad’s income, so Mum could be a stay at home Mum. They didn’t waste money on ‘stuff’, they saved it so I could have a great education and we could have family holidays together.
I have come full circle. Yes, I still love nice things, but rather than buy on impulse, the decision is thought through more carefully in terms of the big picture and the financial and life goals that are now in place.
So I encourage you to have some quiet time, think about your earliest memories of money in your childhood.
1. What money belief did you take from that situation?
2. How has it impacted on your life?
3. Most importantly; is that belief working for you now?