3. What was your family’s financial status?
Did you consider your family to be rich or poor? Why? Once you have your answer, the next question to ask yourself: “What does being rich or poor mean to me?” This will help you to define what true wealth means to you. Does having large sums of cash make you wealthy? Or is being wealthy synonymous with being happy?
4. What were your parents’ spending and saving patterns?
Growing up, my mother never spent money on herself—everyone else’s needs and wants always came before her own. Now that I look back, I realize that her self-deprivation made me feel less valuable; if she didn’t deserve treats, neither did I. So I did the opposite, becoming a compulsive shopper to prove that I was deserving.
Family money baggage is a serious thing. We tend to take the beliefs about money instilled in us from our parents and carry them with us for a long time, if not always.
5. When did you start earning your own money?
Did it make you feel independent, powerful or uncomfortable? And how do you feel about earning money today compared to when you first began as a kid?
Most of my clients say that they felt independent and empowered. For the first time, they were free to make their own choices. It wasn’t about the money—it was about the emotion. For many of us, how much we earn determines our sense of self-value. Could it be that when we were children we were more focused on how we felt versus the cold hard cash? If you are happy with your earnings, rock on! If you aren’t, what would it take to make you feel better?
6. What career messages did you receive?
Were you encouraged as a child to dream big when it came to choosing a career or were you told to play it safe? I have several clients who are artists, and many of them struggle with the limiting belief that fame and fortune come after death (see: Van Gogh and Gaugin)—that during this lifetime they are doomed to starve. How is your career or vocation valued?
7. What do you expect from money?
One of my personal affirmations? “I want enough money to do what I want whenever I want!“ I want money to give me the ease of choice. From there, everything else can fall into place.
If money weren’t an issue, what would you do with your life? By taking money out of the equation, you get to the heart of what you really want—and then you can figure out how to get there.
Christine Mathieu is a Financial Life Planning® Advisor and the author of “From Wisdom to Wealth: Insights to Creating Your Path to Wealth.”