The Money Scripts We Learn in Childhood: How They Shape Our Financial Lives

Live Well Diary Team

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Money Scripts - cards

Today, we’re going to talk about something that’s been on my mind lately: the money scripts we learn in childhood and how they shape our financial lives.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “What in the world are money scripts?”

Well, let me tell you – they’re the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours around money that we learn in childhood, and they can have a considerable impact on our financial futures.

My upbringing revolved around the notion that money was earned through hard work and had to be saved wisely for unforeseen challenges.

While this mindset gave rise to responsible financial habits, it also created within me an apprehension towards spending and expenses that has persisted till today. Even though my finances are adequate for covering necessary expenses, I do get a bit nervous and afraid that I may run out of cash.

And I am not the only one who thinks this way, many people carry forward “money scripts” from their early years. And these sometimes hold them back from achieving financial success.

Maybe you were told that rich people are greedy or that you should never talk about money. Our personal beliefs have the power to influence our perception of wealth and pose an obstacle when striving towards financial goals.

So, why do we learn these money scripts in childhood?

As we reflect on our childhood, let’s consider who had the greatest influence on moulding us into capable adults. For many of us, it was those nearest and dearest – parents, grandparents, or other guardians-who guided us through the early stages of development. They taught crucial life skills ranging from everyday tasks such as tying shoelaces and brushing teeth to saving money in a piggybank.

And let’s be real – they weren’t always perfect teachers. Maybe your parents were always fighting about money, or your grandparents were overly frugal to the point of being stingy. Or perhaps they never talked about money, leaving you to figure it out alone. Whatever the case may be, these lessons – good or bad – stuck with you and shaped your beliefs and behaviours around money.

Money Scripts - saving

But it’s not just our elders who influence our money scripts. We also learn from our friends, the community we live in, and even the media we consume.

Maybe you grew up in a neighbourhood where everyone drove fancy cars and wore designer clothes, and that gave you the impression that money was something to be spent lavishly.

Or maybe you watched TV shows or movies where characters always seemed to have plenty of money without worrying about it. This could give you a skewed perception of how money works in the real world.

Something to bear in mind is that we’re always being exposed to various messages about wealth and finances from our surroundings, and often we don’t realise it.

The impact of these messages on our financial circumstances can be significant. It can either be beneficial or detrimental.

Money Scripts - giving money

Changing Your Money Scripts for a Healthier Financial Future

So, how can we change our money scripts for the future?

Just because we learned these money scripts in childhood doesn’t mean we’re stuck with them forever. We have the power to challenge and change these beliefs and create a healthier financial future.

If you have negative or limiting beliefs about money, they can hold you back from achieving your financial goals.

For example, you might have doubts about being able to purchase a home and that is perfectly understandable. Another example could be that you cannot go through life without being in debt. One must acknowledge the possibility of these limiting beliefs creating self-fulfilling prophecies and impacting financial stability.

By challenging and changing those beliefs, you can create a healthier relationship with money. You can start to see money as a tool to help you achieve your dreams rather than something to be feared or avoided.

Navigating the complexities of money management can sometimes be challenging, but following some strategic tips and tricks can become easier.

Seek financial education: One practical tip worth considering is investing in your own financial education.

This entails improving one’s understanding of successful money management through activities such as taking courses/workshops, reading insightful books/articles and possibly consulting with an experienced expert in the field like a trusted financial advisor or financial planner – for informed support and advice tailored to one’s specific needs.

Set Sensible Financial Targets: Having defined targets help maintain focus on your financial goal so that progress stays consistent towards accomplishing them.

However, they must be within reason to not overwhelm or deflate one’s efforts. Begin with attainable goals such as saving no more than 5% of your income every month, then aim to progressively increase this amount once you become comfortable with regular saving.

Instilling long-term changes into any money script is an undertaking requiring both patience and diligence.

In Summary

Our childhood money scripts have a powerful impact on our financial lives. They shape our beliefs and behaviours around money and can help or hinder our financial success.

It’s not always easy to change our beliefs. Still, with education and goal-setting, we can start to shift our mindset and make positive changes in our financial lives.

So, let’s take a closer look at our money scripts and start challenging the ones that aren’t serving us. With a little effort and determination, we can create a brighter financial future for ourselves.

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Photo by Karolina Grabowska:

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