Even without you knowing that it’s happening, while you were young you were developing money beliefs and creating associations with it. These associations could be either positive or negative. We are seeing this with our daughter who isn’t even in elementary school yet. She’s figged out how we choose to spend money as a family. What things aren’t possible because we need to save. Expensive is definitely in her vocabulary. Which of course is a little scary as a parent.
Secondly since money is one of the top reasons why couples get divorced, we feel that it’s important to talk about money in relationships. Specifically, we think it’s important to talk about the money beliefs that you have and your money story. Each of you will have your own views and beliefs which come to into your relationship. It did for us, and these beliefs crashed hard against each other. We quickly had to learn how to navigate our money beliefs in order to make our relationship work.
Shay describes her childhood of feeling like she had everything that she needed. But money wasn’t abundant. The biggest influencing factor in her money beliefs was that her parents had complete different views when it came to handling money. As she got older, this tension between the two of them became more and more noticeable for her. Just as her parents are opposite, Shay finds that her grandparents, although both well off, lived complete different ways. One set was extreme frugal vs the other enjoyed life comfortably but not extravagantly. Surrounded but so many opposites, it was hard to navigate the truth about money.
Shay grew up believing that many appeared as fast as it disappears. This lead to a huge sense of needing to save. There was always a fear of not having enough to pay expenses, or when emergencies would come up. Money was something that you worked for with dedication and passion, because it did not come easily. She developed a very calculated, cautious approach when it came to money at the begging of her 20’s.
Colby also grew up feeling like he had enough as a kid. He shares how he had a savings accounts and his parents trying to teach him about savings. But nothing was a big deal and nothing lasted for long. He grew up knowing that if he needed anything, he could just ask his parents and they would provide for him. He believed that money was always there like a pot of gold. All you needed to do was ask for it, not understanding the work it takes to keep money saved up.
He also grew up with his dad frequently getting into the get rich fast schemes, which never worked out. He realized that money was something that you had to work for, it wouldn’t just come to you in a fast pace. Money was something that came from a concrete job, not something vague. When Shay started talking about wanting to start a business with still a lot of unknowns, Colby opens up how he felt like it was yet another get rich scheme from his past. Making him feel so uncomfortable and resistant to the idea that something could be made with vagueness.
From the start of our marriage, we have always been open about our money. Of course in the beginning it was simple things like what big items we were going to purchase. How we were going to save up for vacations. We never talked about budgeting, saving or any type of money game plan. We didn’t know we needed one! It’s only been in the last 4 years of our 8 year marriage that we have been more open to talk about these more difficult topics like debt management and pay off. It’s only recently that we started to really think about having financial goals.
Our current money beliefs and struggles As time has gone by, we have noticed that our money beliefs have morphed and changed. We have learned lessons as a couple, and developed our own way of doing things. We have faced hardships when it comes to money but also some good times where we were more carefree. We prioritize to keep the money conversation an on-going thing. To be always be open about how we are feeling. To check in frequently if we are both on the same page. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have our own beliefs and struggles we face.
Our current money beliefs and struggles
Our beliefs have changed over the last 8 years. Currently, we feel that we will always need to restrict or sacrifice somewhere in our life. This is because we just can’t afford everything that we would like to have as individuals but also for our kids. Daily living expenses is a priority and everything that is not a need is currently pushed to the side. And honestly it’s not a fun way to live. Of course this is by choice as for us, we choose for one of us to stay at home with the kids while they are young. Sometimes it feels impossible to get to a place where we can actually live the lifestyle that we want for our family.
We also struggle with feeling so inadequate about our money status when around friends who have more than us. It’s an internal struggle of us comparing ourselves. We can see that some of them live that lifestyle of our dreams. We start to analyze our life, how we ended up in a place of struggle. Why we couldn’t have made better money decisions. Basically beating ourselves up for the money regrets we have.
The great thing is that we are using these beliefs and struggles to motivate us to change our story and beliefs. To prove ourselves wrong. To show our kids that things are possible. We know that we are in control of our lives and that we have the power to change things. It might not be on the same timing as our friends and family, but change is happening. We are seeking a new direction and challenging what feels impossible.