Everyone’s financial journey and money story is unique.
Yet we play the shame game, we play the “what-if” game and we compare. There is nothing more debilitating and deflating to our financial wellness than comparing our choices and situation to someone else’s. At times, we base everything we’ve done on how someone’s highlight reel looks and it’s not realistic. Social media has exacerbated what it means to “Keep up with the Jones’s”. And a lot of us fall prey.
Money story. What is it? In short, it’s your relationship with your money over the course of your life. The good, the bad and the ugly. The highs, the lows, and the lulls. The strengths and weaknesses. The beliefs and behaviors we inherited from our parents and/or others around us. And the positive or negative affect it’s had on us and our financial situation.
I am not immune. My money story at one time looked like this:
Working in finance for 28 years should mean that I’ve always had my financial house in order, but it hasn’t always been the case.
I have had my share of missteps, missed opportunities and plain old foolery! I’ve made money, lost money, saved money and spent WAYYYYY too much money.
I’ve lived above my means at times and below. I’ve allowed a lack of guidance and a desire to keep up completely derail my financial world. And I’ve had a love/hate relationship with money for as long as I can remember. My decisions were mostly made based on fear and ignorance. The fear of looking stupid if I asked questions and the ignorance that resulted from not asking those questions.
So….. what gives? Why is this such a common story for so many of us?
In speaking with entrepreneurs, family and friends over the years, I have come to learn that we all have very similar issues and concerns, but we don’t share them with anyone. We never talk about our money story. How do we know that we are not alone if we don’t speak of our financial challenges or triumphs? How do we figure out what to do if we never ask for help?
I’ve said it many times before, we talk about work, sex, kids, even politics, but we find money and our story so taboo.
If we could get passed the false belief that talking about money is off limits then we could dive into a brand-new world of transparency from within our trusted networks. We wouldn’t feel the need to compete with others’ because we’d understand that we are all more alike than we let on. We’d understand that because everyone’s journey IS unique, everyone’s decisions are too. We’d also find guidance from people we respect and admire. Guidance that helps avoid some of those financial missteps altogether because we’d share the things that ARE working for us.
Not everyone has a “bad” money story. But it is imperative to acknowledge what it is, change it if necessary and SHARE it so we can be the glimmer of hope someone else may need.
When I finally understood that I didn’t have all the answers and started relying more on my circle of influence for advice and guidance, I finally gained more of a love relationship with money and embraced my money story. A story of abundance instead of scarcity, knowledge where ignorance once existed and opening my mouth when I don’t know something or need help! My story has become so important in my continuous financial transformation that it was the catalyst for co-creating Divine WealthWise: A platform to “guide women to becoming their best, most enlightened financial self”. We wanted a program that would allow for us to have a safe and transparent place to unleash all this financial baggage. A place to share our stories with others and a place to learn from one another and grow.
And believe me, I learn and grow every day.