Do You Know How Your Money Beliefs Influence Your Children?

What beliefs do you have about money? 
  • Do you believe there is an abundant source of it or it is in limited supply?
  • Do you believe having more money will make you happy? 
  • Or is enjoying your money a sign of greed?
  • Is your ability to generate wealth pre-determined or can anyone be wealthy?
  • What’s better cheap or expensive?
 And what about your money behaviours?
  • Do you spend what you receive and have little in the way of savings? 
  • Or do you prefer to save it for the future?
  • When you make purchases do you do extensive research or are you more impulsive?
  • Are you comfortable talking about money or is it vulgar talking about it?
 We all have a story we tell ourselves about money based upon our beliefs about it. We form our beliefs about money in our childhood, usually by the time we were 7. They come from what we observed and heard from our parents and other people of influence in our lives. 
If it created tension it is more likely that we have an unhealthy relationship with it in adulthood. If it was a taboo subject it is more likely to be so for us too. 
Was money hard to come by for your parents? If so, your attitude to it now might be to look after it (“make every penny a prisoner”) so you have financial security. But it might also be that you are a spendaholic now because you missed out on having nice things when you were young. It is likely that our behaviour is the result of a belief we formed to protect ourselves. Because why would we do anything that would cause ourselves harm? But that belief might be detrimental; spendaholics won’t save enough, savers might regret not enjoying their money more.
Before you blame your parents, remember they may have believed they were acting in your best interest. Or that things were tough for them so they acted in a way they believed was appropriate.
Remember their beliefs and behaviours are a result of their parent’s beliefs and behaviours. Growing up with rationing and uncertainty, children born after the war (i.e. baby boomers) can be uncomfortable spending money.
Remember too, if our beliefs about money are a product of what we learnt from our parents, and our parents’ beliefs came from their parents, our children will have formed beliefs based upon our attitudes and behaviours.  We can change our relationship with money by exploring our beliefs and behaviours. Awareness that beliefs aren’t fixed is an important first step to healthier behaviours. The spender can decide to save more and the saver can give themself permission to spend more. 
And it’s never too late to change our children’s relationship with money, even if they are now adults. By talking about it with each other and to them money can change from being a taboo subject. 
For young children, explaining where money comes from, how it works and what things cost are valuable lessons.
For young adults, discussing their beliefs and attitudes creates engaged and enlightening conversations.