Money: I Get It, I Get It Not, I ...

by Bhaj Townsend

Money is affected by behavioral issues. I am convinced of that. There is so much information out there about money but still, most people are woefully uneducated about how to use their money wisely and productively.

I think some of this is due to early introductions to money. As kids, our introduction to money is usually done by our parents. Most parents don’t talk to their children about money any further than the allowance talk. I still remember mine.  “Just because you’re getting an allowance doesn't mean you can spend it all. You have to save some of it or it will all be gone. I recall  the shivering feel as I saw myself with no money in the future. With that came the feeling of “grown-up responsibility” because I was being trusted with money...finally. Then two voices started their bitter battle: “if you spend it you won’t have it later. You’ll end up with nothing.” And the other voice retorted “Don’t worry, if you spend it this week, you’ll get more next week. You can save then.”

There is very little introduction to the cost of things. Rarely do children go through a grocery line with their parents and add up the cost of food, make sure the receipt matches what they bought or talk about whether they spent more or less than they budgeted for. It’s as if it’s all fine and will continue to be fine forever. It’s as if money does grow on trees, and that tree is in our back yard. Hollywood ending, right?

Step back and review how you grew up with money. Did you have an allowance? What were you told to do with it? Did you follow their instruction? Today, when you have to bring up sensitive money topics how are your and your partner’s early experiences with money influencing the conversation? 

Money is a tool that is impacted by our behaviors. Many of those behaviors were introduced to us as kids. If you haven’t been able to separate the non-productive ones from the productive ones and build a model of money mastery, we need to examine how to affect that so you can say: “Money: I Get it, I Get it, I Get it.