Let’s look at a few things to help us move away from money shame…
Upbringing: “Our research shows that the money patterns we observe in childhood are the primary source driving our financial decision-making later in life,” says Edward Horwitz, Ph.D., CFP®, associate professor of behavioral finance at Creighton University Heider College of Business.
While we may learn our money habits from our parents we can still break the cycle of bad money habits today. Start by asking yourself some questions.
What did your family teach you about money?
- For me it was that it was always scarce, we always needed to worry about how we were going to pay our bills.
What is your earliest money-related memory and what is your most painful memory?
- My earliest memory is sitting down and learning how to write a check to pay our monthly bills.
- My most painful memory: My mom coming to my work and picking up my paycheck so we could pay our bills (I was 16 and a hostess making $7.25/hr). This memory was painful for me because as an adult having money to spend on fun things made me feel like I was doing something wrong.
What is your biggest financial fear?
- My biggest financial fear was/is getting into debt. It was too stressful for me to have a student loan while I was in college, so I took time off so that I could pay back the money and have enough to finish my college career. This was over 10 years ago.
Shame expert Brené Brown:
“I define shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.
I don’t believe shame is helpful or productive. In fact, I think shame is much more likely to be the source of destructive, hurtful behavior than the solution or cure. I think the fear of disconnection can make us dangerous.”
Now that you have identified where your money habits stem from and how to recognize your financial shame, let’s start to rewire your behavior and habits.
- Take time to understand where your money is coming from, where it goes each month, and what you want your money to do for you in the long term. This can be a very loaded question, if you don’t know yet that is okay. Sit with this question and as you dream big jot down your ideas. Let this goal be aspirational, something that is exciting and will motivate you.
- What are your goals? Are your spending habits aligned with your goals? If not, create a plan to modify your spending to reflect your goals. Make a blueprint to help you build a budget and track your spending. As you focus on your financial goals you’ll likely find money to save and invest.
- Invest in yourself by taking the steps to secure your financial future.
Brene has some tips on reducing shame
Name your shame
- Speaking about it can reduce some of the power it holds.
Empathy and compassion
- Acknowledge your mistake, and own up to it but don’t beat yourself up.
- Create a community of like-minded people that won’t pile on judgment.
- Seek education from reputable sources to help you in your journey.
Progress is about making small incremental improvements that can lead to great improvements. Today is the first step in healing your relationship with money.