Something I've been thinking about a lot about lately is the concept of "receiving."
It is a theme that often arises in my work with clients because it is struggle for many of them. Receiving, be it a worthy fee from clients, a raise or promotion from an employer, and/or support from the people in our lives-financial and otherwise-can create what one of my clients so aptly termed, 'the squirm.'
Women in particular have difficulty with receiving. For example, think about how you respond when someone 'gives' you a compliment. Are you the type to say "I've looked better" when a friend compliments you on your appearance? As women, we are raised with cultural messages to put others' needs before our own, to not really know and honor our own needs, and/or feel indebted if we do receive. Our identity as women often entails being a 'caretaker' of others, not leaving much room for 'care-receiving'.
A common theme in my work with clients entails assessing the current state of their relationship with money - what's working and what's not - and identifying ways to improve this relationship
For many people, the idea that we actually have a relationship with money is a novel concept. I ask clients to think about how they are treating their money. After some reflection they often sheepishly admit that if they were treated the way they are treating their money, they'd end the relationship!
So, how are YOU treating this partner of yours, money?
Throughout our lives we make tens of thousands of purchasing decisions-some more thought out than others.
Knowing the difference between our "wants" and "needs" is an important part of learning to manage our money in a mindful and empowered way. It's easy to spend money. What can be more challenging is money spending in a way that is truly attuned with our values and desires.
One simple way to guide conscious spending is to get super clear on our needs and wants, and actually list them all out on paper:
NEEDS are the essentials-the basics of life that you must have to survive: food, shelter, clothing, health care, etc.
WANTS are basically everything else: eating out, entertainment, travel, gifts, gym membership, luxury consumer brands etc.
When it comes to over-spending, self-knowledge is definitely power!
If you are one of the many who struggle with over-spending, by becoming more aware of your signature over-spending triggers, you will be better armed with the knowledge to craft a plan of action to avoid them. When it comes to over-spending, on things like travel and luxury consumer brands, self-knowledge is definitely power!
Identifying what triggers your particular over-spending will help you be more conscious of the times when you are most vulnerable to over-spend. If you are not sure what triggers you, keep a log of over-spending incidents, making note of the following:
Childhood events shape how we relate to money as adults, and I always ask my financial therapy and money coaching clients about their first memory of money
These seemingly innocent experiences are a virtual goldmine of information, often creating a template for future beliefs, feelings, and behaviors regarding money. The memories I hear range in texture from traumatic to more benign. I'll share a few examples from my work with clients [all names have been changed to protect privacy] to illustrate the link between childhood experiences and present day behaviors with money.
One of my money coaching clients, Andrea, recently shared an early memory involving the painful way she received allowance from her father, who was quite rigid and parsimonious. On Saturday mornings he'd come home from a visit to the bank and give Andrea her the allowance. It's how he did it that is so meaningful. He would take each crisp, new dollar bill-crumple it a bit to ensure that none where sticking together-and hand each one individually over to her. She would be flooded with shame as she stood there, watching and waiting for her weekly allowance to be literally doled out to her.