If you follow along with me on Facebook, you may remember a few recent posts about my appearances on Enza Financial’s new “Healthy, Wealthy, and Why’s” podcast. (If you need to catch up, find a full list of Enza Financial’s episodes on Financial Stress series here, and all of my recent media appearances here).
Money fears and anxieties have definitely been popping up as a more common theme recently in my conversations with clients, colleagues, and even friends and family. While the coronavirus pandemic certainly plays a big part in that, the truth is that stresses and concerns about money affect people with a wide range of incomes and from various economic classes.
What has worked for me and has also helped my clients see results in this area is treating money as a relationship – specifically with the lens of a romantic relationship. We’re going to do something a little different today with a Q&A-style format on this post, but ultimately my goal is that you will walk away from reading this with a new perspective on your relationship with money and how you can influence it to help support your big vision!
Q: Why view money as a relationship?
Whenever you have thoughts, feelings, and/or interactions with someone you are engaged in a relationship with, you are having both an internal & external experience with them. The same is true for things you engage in relationships with – the experience happens both within yourself and outside the surface. These experiences are rarely exactly the same for one person as they are for another.
Similarly, money offers different internal and external experiences for everyone. When you are able to understand your conscious and unconscious relationship to money, it will help you gain clarity around what is working in the relationship and what isn’t. The first step is answering this question: What does money mean for you? Thinking of it in the context of a romantic relationship can be extremely helpful in revealing areas of strength as well as areas that need attention or improvement.
It may sound silly, but I’ll ask my clients “How would your money describe you as a partner?” For example, are you needy? Do you hold on too tight while being untrusting of your money? How are you showing up for your money? Are you a good steward of it? Are you taking good care of it? These are all similar questions that we may be asked or ask of ourselves on our journeys to strengthen or repair our relationships with other people. Since money typically evokes an emotional response like that of a personal relationship, thinking of it in similar terms can be helpful in gaining clarity around what our relationship with money currently is. And that, my friends, is the key to figuring out what needs to happen next.
Q: What are the causes and effects of a negative relationship with money?
Just like in any personal relationship, when you have negative thoughts and feelings about it, you will inevitably take poor actions or inactions with it. For example, if you’re feeling some tension or resentment towards your partner, there is a good chance you also are not going out of your way to perform actions that show them that you care, right? The same is true of your relationship with your money. If you neglect your relationship with your money, it will not grow, feel good to interact with, or take care of you. And much like a personal relationship, often in order to bring it back to health, we have to uncover our own personal blocks and beliefs that are preventing it from flourishing.
Typically, those who have a negative relationship with money will fall into one of the following categories:
- Spenders – These people make it their personal mission to get rid of money as soon as, or before it even, comes in. Because the relationship with money is poor, this person adopts the belief that it’s better not to have any money at all.
- Avoiders – Much like the name suggests, avoiders simply “avoid” dealing with their money. This may mean that they are unsure of what their financial health truly looks like due to avoidance of any clarity, or that bills and financial commitments are not being met – not for lack of money in general, but for lack of taking control of it.
- Hoarders – Hoarders tend to have an anxiety-driven relationship with money. This is most commonly associated with a scarcity mindset. The concern that money will be taken away leads to an anxious attachment or even hiding of money.
Q: What are the causes and effects of a positive relationship with money?
The exact opposite of the negative ones! When you have a positive relationship with money, it allows you to be more of who you are. Additionally, a positive relationship with money typically means your money grows, and as that happens you will find yourself able to use it towards things that are meaningful to you. For example, let’s say you are passionate about the environment or supporting local businesses. If you have a positive relationship with money, you are quite literally afforded the luxury of taking your time to find businesses that align with your values or spending your money with companies that share your passions and value systems.
Q: How can we change our relationship with money?
The first step of any change is awareness. First, we have to be aware of what our current beliefs about money are as well as the results that those beliefs create in our lives. Then, we can do an assessment to see if we like those results. If we do like the results, beautiful! We can direct our energy and attention to maintaining them. If we don’t like the results then we can intentionally create belief systems that do support what we want to create. Oftentimes this type of personal development work also requires us to do some shadow work to integrate any parts of us that are not on board with what we are trying to create.
Ultimately, much like your romantic and personal relationships, your relationship with money truly hinges on your mindset around it. If this is an area of your life in which you could use some support, click here for access to my calendar where you can schedule a complimentary consultation call so we can chat about how I can help. I currently have 3 one-on-one coaching spots available and will also be bringing back one of my most successful and transformative group coaching programs this spring. Let’s work together to make 2021 your best year yet!
Mind Your Strength,
Melanie Shmois, MSSA, LISW-S, is a licensed social worker, holding a Master’s Degree (MSSA) from Case Western Reserve University and a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Spanish. After spending 2 decades helping others achieve their mental and personal goals, Melanie worked with Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo, and became a certified Life and Weight Coach through the Life Coach School.