Rethinking Retirement  

Beliefs About Money Exercises

Our attitudes and beliefs about money are formed at very young ages. How we perceive money as adults is often determined by what we learned as we watched our parents handle their finances. Even our own early experiences with money teach us lessons that can stay with us throughout our lives.

Over time, as we learn and grow, some of these attitudes and beliefs evolve and grow with us, while others do not. It is not until we take the time to examine those attitudes and beliefs, however, that we can distinguish whether they are healthy and promote our core values, or if they are unhealthy and potentially conflict with our core values.

The following exercises are designed to help you examine your attitudes and beliefs about money.

1.  Memories of Money Exercise. This story-writing exercise is to help you explore your early memories of money and identify the sources of the beliefs you hold about money.

One way to begin to understand where your attitudes about money come from are to write down stories of your earliest money memories. Provide as much detail as you can, and write as many stories as you can think of - but a minimum of five. Look at your stories and ask yourself, "How has this experience affected the way I deal with or relate to money?"

Here's an example.

One summer when I was about 12, a friend called me and asked if I would help him mow a neighbor's lawn. The neighbor said she would pay him $20 and he would give me half. The lawn was slightly bigger than average and while he pushed the mower, I raked and bagged. We worked for three hours and bagged nine trash bags full of grass clippings. When we were finished, he went to the door to ask to be paid. The neighbor woman very abruptly answered the door, said she was not satisfied with the job we had done , refused to pay, and slammed the door in his face. I learned several lessons from this experience. One was to work hard and do good quality work (which I felt we had done,) but the other was that people are not always fair, nor will they always keep their word, when it comes to money. To this day, fairness, and keeping your word, are two characteristics that I value extremely highly when working with people.

2.  My Beliefs About Money. This series of six questions was created by Marcia Bench, founder of the Retirement Coach Institute. The goal is help you examine your beliefs about money and consciously decide which beliefs continue to serve you and therefore will keep, versus those that no longer serve you and should be discarded. Click here.


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