You May Also Like

This essential oil could be a lifesaver in fighting superbugs

This essential oil can take on superbugs (and it’s probably already in your pantry)

There's a new FOMO: But what does JOMO mean?

JOMO is the new FOMO—so fire up the Netflix, and hygge it up

online BDE

A sexologist gave my Tinder profile a BDE makeover

Horoscope of the day sexy

This week the stars are aligning to serve you a super-sexy TGIF

How to have awkward conversations

This is *exactly* what to say during the most awkward conversations

Well+Good - I cured my insomnia by training myself to sleep like a baby

I cured my insomnia by training myself to sleep like a baby

How your childhood memories affect your adult relationship with money


Thumbnail for How your childhood memories affect your adult relationship with money
Pin It
Photo: Stocksy/Davide Illini

Try to remember your earliest experience with money. Maybe you cringe as you recall your parents arguing about the budget while you tried to focus on your homework. Or maybe it’s the feeling of accomplishment you had the first time you saved up enough of your allowance to buy yourself a treat. Good or bad, that scenario—and all the emotions associated with it—is likely telling of how you handle money as an adult.

“Most of us have money narratives from our childhood years, which color our present financial behaviors,” says Christine Luken, certified financial coach and author of Money is Emotional. “As young children, we tend to internalize everything our parents tell us as the truth and this includes what they say about money.”

And what they do with their money, too. Whether you mean to or not, you’ll often adopt financial habits you witnessed from your parents, Luken explains. So, for example, if your parents never talked about money and racked up credit card debt, you might unwittingly follow suit. When you reach adulthood, these practices become so ingrained that you might not even think to question them: You just accept you’re a bad saver or impulsive spender without considering why that might be.

“As young children, we tend to internalize everything our parents tell us as the truth and this includes what they say about money.”

Jean Marie Dillon, a Certified Financial Planner®, adds that your upbringing could also have the opposite effect: Instead of mimicking your parents, you may observe their behaviors, recognize them as harmful, and choose to avoid them altogether. If your parents were always scrimping and saving, for example, you might have a negative association with money. Thinking that all things dealing with dollars and cents are “bad,” you could avoid budgeting, negotiating, or spending any mental energy at all on your finances. Obviously, these aren’t exactly healthy habits.

“The true masters are balancers,” Dillon says. “They dance around their parents as needed, rejecting or tolerating parental money management knowledge as required, either to preserve family peace or exercise financial independence.” But this isn’t easy: “It takes some emotional intelligence for balancers to summarily pick out the good and bad of their parents’ financial upbringing,” Dillon says.

Like breaking any bad habit, learning to let go of unhealthy financial tendencies requires awareness.

Changing ingrained behaviors is difficult, but not impossible. Like breaking any bad habit, learning to let go of unhealthy financial tendencies requires awareness. Luken says you can start by paying attention to the words you use when you talk about money. “I advise that my clients carry around an index card with them for a week and write down any negative thoughts or words they’re saying about money,” she says. “Then, I ask them to tell me about their parents’ actions and attitudes about personal finance. Do they recall a particularly strong money memory from their childhood? Once we identify an unhealthy money memory or attitude, we can examine it objectively to see if it’s serving or harming my client’s current situation.”

For the final step in her exercise, Luken asks her clients to replace the negative words they’ve written on their card with positive statements they can use as daily money affirmations. If you’ve written that talking about money only causes stress, you might remind yourself that these difficult conversations are worth having by adding something like, “I bring value to the table in my work and deserve to be paid accordingly.”

This simple change in perspective could give you the courage to ask for a raise or the strength to stick to a budget. You can’t go back and erase every fight about the mortgage you overheard your parents have, but by identifying your associations with money, you can flip the script for yourself.

Take control of your finances now with these 5 steps. And here are the surprising things you *add to cart* when you’re stressed or emotional.

Loading More Posts...

You May Also Like

The rise of ethical non-monogamy

How the rise of ethical non-monogamy can make us *all* happier

Well+Good - These 6 things will *actually* make you happy, according to science

These 6 things will *actually* make you happy, according to science

Matchmaker hacks and tips for finding a partner

6 traits you should *actually* look for in a partner, according to matchmakers

How to have awkward conversations

This is *exactly* what to say during the most awkward conversations

This essential oil could be a lifesaver in fighting superbugs

This essential oil can take on superbugs (and it’s probably already in your pantry)

Well+Good - I cured my insomnia by training myself to sleep like a baby

I cured my insomnia by training myself to sleep like a baby