What Expectations Have You Developed Around Money?

money beliefs money stories Jul 21, 2020


         We all have expectations about money, whether they are good or bad, but how do they develop? Where do they come from? It is unlikely you have a memory of how or where you got them from, but they are there in your mind and influencing what you think and feel about money.

         Your expectations begin from the time you are very young and they come first from your family system. Your family nurtures you, teaching you everything from how to feed yourself, to how you are expected to behave. So it is not surprising your first ideas about money come from them too. Your family isn’t the only influence on your expectations about money. Your peers, partners, community, and culture also play a role.

Your Expectations About Money Begin With Your Family

         From early childhood, you start to understand your parents go to work to make money. You may have asked them to stay home and play one day. Did they tell you they have to go make money to take care of the family? Perhaps you don’t actually remember that, but it doesn’t mean it didn’t stay with you on some subconscious level.

         As you got a little older, you began to understand the exchange of money when you went to the stores. Walking through the store, you saw the prices and had some awareness of numbers because of what you learned in school. You would see the exchange of money with the cashier, and leave the store with the items. During those trips, while your mom or dad were picking up what they needed, you may have asked for a toy or a treat. Your parents may have said those all too familiar words, “Not today, we can’t afford that,” or something similar. You were crushed! At least until you asked for something else. That may have stayed with you too.

        There are countless other memories or incidents from childhood attached to money interactions that you may not completely remember, but that have shaped your expectations around money nonetheless. These situations began to develop your money stories. These stories continued to develop and form your expectations as you grew.

Who Else Influences Your Money Expectations?

         Not only do our families have an impact on how we view money, so does our community and the culture in which we are raised. They all influence us, helping our money beliefs develop further over time. Again, this could be through experiences we are consciously aware of or those that fly well below our radar.

         In your youth, if you lived in or near a community of affluence, your friends may have had the best clothes, lived in fantastic homes, and enjoyed family vacations. You saw what that affluence offered them and may have wanted it for yourself. However, if your family was on the other end of the financial spectrum, struggling just to get by, they may not have been able to give you what you hoped for, because they could not afford those privileges, causing you great disappointment.

         Your culture can also have a significant impact on how money is viewed. A perfect example is when cultural beliefs suggest that men should be the breadwinner and therefore have control of the money. Or, that women should not make money outside the home and only given the amount needed to run the household. Just think how that belief system may have shaped you.

         The community or culturally-based ideas about money have created how you emotionally react to money. It has happened automatically, no conscious thought needed. And these stories follow you and continue to impact you as you get older.

Adult Money Influencers? Who Now?

         As you become a young adult, your independence has arrived with all of the excitement that surrounds it! Whether in college or starting your career, you are living beyond parental supervision and the time has arrived to make your own financial decisions. You may have a roommate or intimate partner who you share financial obligations with.

         We all hope that adulthood affords the freedom and opportunity to build the life we long for and to form those financial dreams. We begin to identify what success means for us and make attempts to achieve it. What happens though when those dreams do not become your reality? When your financial expectations are not met? Whose fault is it when you feel you are always struggling?

         Your money stories are ingrained in you and guide your beliefs and expectations around money. They may be the reason you are not meeting your expectations. So what do you do? You have to change those stories. In changing our stories we have the chance to change our expectations about money.

Please see the resources here on my website and read more on this topic in my article posted on LinkedIn, just click here.

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