In an earlier post, Morning Routines, I said that I grew in a family that was lower middle class. My first experience with finance was of struggle and not success. This sentence, since I wrote it, has sat with me to where I can’t shake it. It keeps coming back through my mind when it is quiet. Feels like it is asking me to explore this deeper. So here I go.
As an adult, I believe that so many of the day to day things we do are all out of habit. Habits that we formed as children, habits that we formed in different seasons of our lives, habits that we took on from our parents because we model what we saw as a child. Maybe habits we learned from those we see as mentors or coaches. If Joe wakes up in the morning and shoots hoops for an hour and he is a successful basketball player, then I need to do the same to be successful. Most of us have a morning habit that looks something like mine. We get up, go to the bathroom, shuffle to the kitchen and make our coffee. We could and often times do this in our sleep. Habits are the foundation of the way we live our life. Some habits are formed out of survival and some out of day to day living. For most of us though the habits we form are because of our life story. Our life story or how we were raised, until we set out on our own, influences the way we live our life today.
I was raised in an environment where I saw my mother stress about money. How was she going to pay the bills and put food on the table. We did not take family vacations. That was not possible at times and sometimes if it was possible was viewed as a waste of money. Why spend it when you can tuck it away for when you need it. I remember my dad telling me with almost every paycheck I got as a teenager to, “not spend it all in one place.” He would follow it up with “it’s ok to have something left over in your bank account.” Even as a grown adult he asks me if I have money in my savings. All of this is done out of love and care to be sure all of his children are ok living on their own. My parents felt they were teaching us to be responsible with our money and our jobs. They felt this was creating work ethic and good humans. They were right in some ways and did the best they knew how to do based on their own life stories. What it created in me was someone fearful to spend money. Someone fearful to take a chance and risk a bit to see a possible return on investment. Someone who gives everything to her job so she does not lose it.
What if my life story around finances was different? What if I was raised in an environment where money was out of success and not struggle? What would I have learned differently? Can I flip the switch on my upbringing, rewire my thoughts and learn it now?