Personal History Helps Shape How We Think About Money | Business
We each have a unique relationship with money. Like so much of who we are, our early experiences and the people who shaped them influenced our view of finances. And the happy financial experiences you had in the beginning may have given you a good foundation, or perhaps made you less mindful of managing your money.
“Mind Over Money” by the team of sons and dads Brad Klontz and Ted Klontz explores how our personal history shapes our relationship with money. With real life examples (with changed names) they explain how our life stories lay the groundwork for money troubles and they give some tools for dealing with financial dysfunction.
For example, as a little girl, Leslie diligently put part of her allowance into a savings bank account. She was very proud of her accomplishment and took her passbook with her every time she made a deposit, appreciating to see the balance increase. every time she took a trip to the bank. One day when she made a deposit there was no money in her account and she was informed that her father had withdrawn the money. She asked her father why he took his money, and her response was to laugh and say it was his money. As an adult, Leslie tended to spend every bit of money that came her way. She had no retirement savings and nothing in an emergency fund. Her story had taught her that she had to spend money as soon as she got it. If not, someone could come and collect the money.
You might find this result illogical, but any kind of dysfunction lacks logic. What about workaholism? As the Klontz authors point out, workaholics typically work excessive hours to earn money, believing it will make them and loved ones happier, better, and increase their status. Logically, we know that more money isn’t the source of happiness – and that certainly doesn’t make someone an inherently better person. And yet, we often see people praising the virtues of their work.
There are many money troubles that can seem subtle or even invisible. There is money avoidance, money worship, and relationship money troubles. In relationships, there is sometimes infidelity around money – hiding financial issues and their consequences. People sometimes use money to control another person in a relationship. It happens with parents and adult children, spouses and business partners. Enabling people with money is also dysfunctional, and the financial consequences can be devastating for the facilitator and the empowered person. Ultimately, financial dysfunction is emotionally damaging and can be financially destructive.
This book was published just after the Great Recession, and many of the examples and feelings described during that time will sound familiar to us now. In addition to providing insight into money management, there are additional resources that can help us have a healthy relationship with something that is part of our daily lives.