3 Internal Aspects of Money Beliefs

emotions money beliefs Oct 01, 2021

Money beliefs are the underlying beliefs you have about money. 

Everyone has ingrained beliefs about money that can inevitably be limiting. However, these beliefs can often be invisible and run very deep. 

Underlying beliefs generally come from your background growing up. They are often formed due to your experiences when you were a child. 

These underlying beliefs aren’t always about money. They can take many forms including how money works, what to expect out of relationships, or even your values and morals. 

Conscious Versus Unconscious Beliefs

These beliefs are generally either conscious or unconscious. 

Conscious beliefs are those beliefs that you're aware of and that you actively know are influencing you. These might include your religious or political affiliation or your beliefs about marriage. 

Your unconscious beliefs are those beliefs that you're not aware of that are still influencing you. They reside underneath the surface and motivate your behaviors in ways that can often be confusing. 

Having two conflicting beliefs, one conscious and one unconscious can often lead to you making decisions or financial behavior that you may find confusing. 

For example, a belief about "money not growing on trees" may be unconsciously motivating your behavior around money even though you believe consciously that hard work will bring financial success. 

Understanding the three internal aspects of money beliefs can help you better understand yourself, your partner, and your financial decision-making. 

In this blog, we'll be exploring the relational, cognitive, and emotional internal aspects of financial beliefs. 

Relational Aspects of Financial Therapy

Your relationships impact how you behave, feel, and think about money. 

All relationships in your life impact your finances including coworkers, friends, clients, and extended family. 

However, your immediate family and your intimate partner are the most influential in your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors about money. They are specifically most impactful on the creation and maintenance of your money beliefs. 

How you perceive and understand the role that money plays in your life is directly impacted by the beliefs you develop about money. 

These beliefs are often based on what others around you believed, thought, and did when you were growing up. So the beliefs your parents had about money will often underlie your own beliefs about money in here and now. 

However, it doesn’t end there. Your current relationships are one of the key ways that your money beliefs are maintained today. 

When those around you have certain money beliefs you’ll often adopt similar beliefs. This is the root of the saying “you are the 5 people you surround yourself with” because your social circle can have such a huge impact on what you believe, and therefore how you behave. 

Cognitive Aspects of Financial Therapy

Cognitive aspects of money beliefs include what you consciously believe, think, and know. 

This is the logical part of the brain where you think through options, pros, and cons, and try to make rational decisions. 

However, most people don't realize that even their conscious thoughts and ideas are influenced by unconscious motivators. There are many unconscious motivators including those underlying money beliefs, your attachment style, and even traumas from the past which you thought you were long over. All of these things can motivate your current behaviors with money without you understanding why, unless you take the time to learn about them. 

For example, let's say that you logically know that it's a good idea to save money when you're young and invest it in your retirement account. Yet, when you were growing up your parents did not save and normally lived paycheck to paycheck. You may have grown up with the belief that you need to spend money right away or else it will disappear. So although you have the conscious and logical belief that you need to save for retirement, you may find that you end up spending your entire paycheck each time because of these unconscious beliefs. 

This is why it's so important to become aware of how your past influences your present. 

Emotional Aspects of Money Beliefs

Your emotions influence your behavior, your thoughts, your relationships, and your financial decision-making in ways you may not even realize. 

Emotions do not operate in a vacuum. How you feel impacts your relationships and behaviors, however, your relationships and behaviors also impact the way you feel. 

Emotional reactions to money can be a huge motivator for how you make financial decisions and how you respond in your relationship when challenging financial situations arise. 

Emotional reactions can also serve to cement money beliefs in place. When you have a strong emotional reaction to a situation it will often make you feel the need to pull away from it, or move toward it, depending on how you’re feeling. 

This is why understanding emotional regulation is so important. 

Emotional regulation is how we regulate and manage our emotions.

When you understand the different nuances involved in the emotional regulation system you become better equipped to manage both your finances, foster intimacy in your relationships, and feel more balanced emotionally. 

This, in turn, helps you better understand why certain money beliefs are maintained and why you feel so strongly about certain things. 

In my recent book, The Healthy Love and Money Way, I discuss the emotional regulation system. We'll also be taking a deep dive into this system and how to feel more in control emotionally in my upcoming course The Couples Guide to Financial Intimacy in January 2022. 

Financial Therapy Can Help

Financial Therapy is dedicated to the integration of relational, cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and financial aspects of well-being. 

Financial therapy is an investment in you and your relationship. It's not only good for those who wish to resolve money fights, but also for those who wish to be able to communicate better about money and understand their underlying beliefs about money that motivate financial and relationship decisions. 

Financial therapy can help you dive into these underlying money beliefs that are motivating your behaviors. 

By digging in and understand why you make the decisions you make, and bringing the unconscious beliefs into your awareness, you’ll understand why you may be making decisions that are contrary to what seems logical and learn what to do about it.

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