Your money relationship begins as a child, which is a sentiment I read about in Suzie Orman’s book ‘9 Steps to Financial Freedom’ and again in Phumelele Ndumo’s book ‘from Debt to Riches’.
This is something I believe to be true; however, they are not always fixed. As a child, I learned that you don’t buy something if you don’t have the money for it. It worked for me for a very long time and I did really well as a student monitoring my spending.
A good Money Relationship
I didn’t earn a lot, I had to pay board and lodging and medical aid as part of my nursing training. It was compulsory in the 1980s for student nurses to live in Residence.
I also owned a second-hand car that needed petrol; I had 3 clothing store accounts too. Somehow I never ran short even though I went out at least twice a week with friends.
Once I qualified, I moved into an apartment and then a cottage, and still, I could make ends meet.
Getting into debt
After I got married, my husband and I had to go through 5 years of fertility treatment and that is where I lost control of my financial savvy!
The treatment is expensive and most of it is not covered by medical aid. You pay a lot of money, often for little or no return and the value of things got lost.
I went from comfortable on a tiny nurse’s salary to struggling on two incomes. Four children later and I am still struggling to get back my fiscal mojo.
Identifying your money relationship
So how do you identify what kind of relationship you have and when it started? Ms Orman suggests we look at our childhood gifts and upbringing.
Were you given money as gifts and if so what did you do with it? Were you allowed to spend it as you wished or were you told to put it away for that elusive rainy day?
Think back to your youth and focus on how your parents discussed money and dealt with their money.
This is where it all started.
In the 1800s and earlier, money was never discussed in public and often not in private either as it was considered vulgar and uncouth. The head of the family was in charge of any and all financial decisions. The lady of the house was then given an allowance to run the household. The discussion
of money was a taboo subject, a habit that has sadly continued for many into this day and age.
Don’t be embarrassed
Parents are embarrassed to tell their children that something is just not affordable!
I was listening to a radio program recently, where the question was posed, “if your child asked you for something because their friend has one, would you go out and get it for them?”
Two of my children were in the car with me and they thought it outrageous that according to the presenter the answer in a discussion by another radio team, was that 51% of people would.
He then asked listeners to call in and answer the question. I was totally shocked at how many of the women who called in said they would.
The reasons varied from not wanting their children to feel different, to avoid their child being bullied for not having the latest ‘it’ thing, to saying that their parents couldn’t afford it and, still as adults, resenting
My 17-year-old daughter made an extremely adult observation. She said that it was no wonder so many young people feel ‘entitled’, because, their parents never said ‘NO’.
I feel my job as a parent is to teach financial awareness and responsibility is being heard, it may not be being followed as she spends money as soon as she gets it but the understanding is there.
So before you sit down to pay someone to help you get out of debt, have a look at your habits, see where they were developed and identify your triggers.
There is no shame in getting help, the shame is if you have identified your weaker areas and do nothing to change them.
A financial advisor is just that, they can give you advice but they can’t change your money relationship. That is up to you.
Join the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/iamdebtfree/ where I post tips I learn about getting out of debt.