I remember growing up, sitting around the dinner table, and I asked my parents if I could get the latest toy that my classmates had. All I got in response was a simple “no”. I, of course, decided to dig a little deeper and asked, “Well, why not?” My parents replied by saying, “We don’t talk about money around here.”
We all have unique relationships with our finances, often stemming from our past experiences. Some folks grew up with money while others came from families just barely making it to the next paycheck.
All too often, especially in past generations, money was a taboo topic and not to be talked about. Even today it’s still not always socially acceptable and depending on the industry, your employer might look at you crazy just for asking for a conservative raise.
While I’m not saying you need to walk around telling everyone how much money you make or what your monthly budget looks like, I do think it’s extremely important to reflect on your relationship with money. Where does that relationship stem from? Why do you prioritize some expenses over others? Reflecting on questions such as these will help you to determine how you continue budgeting and what you want out of your money, both personally and as a business owner.
Why your relationship with money matters
I started my business to help entrepreneurs, small business owners who really feel that difference. In their money and what it means for their life at home, where they live, where they became, how they raised their kids. So that’s been my background running my business for nearly 15 years now. And in the past few years, I’ve taken that a step further to help entrepreneurs figure out how to unravel a lot of that money story and history they’ve been carrying around. This is important because what I’ve found is their personal beliefs, understanding, and relationship with money was impacting their business success and until we did a bit of workaround that, many of them were blocked at a certain level of profit or sales that they just couldn’t get past, no matter what strategic planning and other things we put into place for them.
What is a money relationship?
Your relationship with money is more than just referring to yourself as a “spender” versus a “saver”. It’s much more nuanced than that. Are you someone who reels over what some would consider a simple purchase? Do you save for months and months until you can make a complete cash purchase? Or, are you someone who throws it on a credit card and pays it off later? Or, somewhere in between?
How do you feel after you make a purchase? Do you often feel buyers remorse even though you DID save for months and months leading up to the purchase?
What I like for people to do is to really pretend that money was your best friend or your romantic partner. And as you go about your day and or specifically on the day that you pay your bills, listen to that internal chatter that you’re having about your best friend money, about your romantic partner money, and think about if they were sitting right there and they were a real person, would they appreciate being spoken to in that way?
A lot of times we say things like, “why isn’t there ever enough of you?” which is akin to “why don’t you spend enough time with me?”
Or “why are all these bills here?”
And so it’s a lot of negative talk. And again, if you think about it — if I loved spending time with them — what would I say instead?
What are the things you would say to people that you love?
What if you changed the tune to, “I’m so grateful I have $XYZ amount of money to pay for XYZ because it makes me feel joy.” What would it take to get to that point?
“It was like, okay, I’m just doing this. And when I get there, then I’m going to live my life. So I think that values for me are like my GPS”.
Use your GPS but enjoy the journey along the way
Values for me are my GPS.
Back in my corporate days, when I was just going at it from a very logical, S.M.A.R.T. goal perspective and was not really thinking about my values in my business life, I could still get to my goals, but it didn’t feel good. When I got there, it felt like, “That’s it? Oh, okay.”
Then I’d come up with a new goal and a new challenge. I wasn’t enjoying it. It was all about the destination, not the journey — I wasn’t living. “It was like, okay, I’m just doing this. And when I get there, then I’m going to live my life. So I think that values for me are like my GPS”.
Remember when your parents used to get out of that gigantic roadmap on a road trip and highlight the path? You don’t need to know how you’re going to get to the other side of the country. You just need to know where you’re going. You can even get lost and you can try a new path.
You can take the scenic route.
You can take the highway.
You can take the fast toll road.
There are many different ways to get there if you know where you’re going. So I like to use the metaphor of GPS — you know your destination and along the way you check-in and perhaps you’ll try different approaches, you might try different paths along the way, and you might offer different programs and ways to work with people.
Eventually, you get to your destination — but along the way, you enjoy the journey to get there.
How will you improve your relationship with money?
You should feel supported in exploring your feelings and desires around money. Monarch CPA encourages you to ask yourself, what do you genuinely want from life in regard to money? By starting this dialogue with yourself you will learn how to plan financial strategies for a stronger business, develop meaningful and accurate financials, save on taxes, and more.