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Rewriting My Financial Story: How I Healed My Relationship with Money

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the author's experience attending a 3-day intensive program designed to shift people's attitudes toward money, hosted by executive coach and teacher Joe Hudson. The author explores their deep-seated beliefs and mindsets around money, tracing them back to their childhood and family history. Key themes include:

  • Conflicting messages about money received as a child (having plenty vs. needing to be frugal)
  • Developing a belief that they didn't deserve the family's wealth and inheritance
  • Overspending as a way to feel worthy and deserving
  • Realizing their attitude toward money was not just affecting them, but hurting others
  • Recognizing their family's generational attitudes toward money and the burden of privilege
  • Seeking a middle path between amassing wealth and spending it thoughtlessly

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] The author's childhood beliefs about money

1. What were the two conflicting messages the author received about money as a child?

  • The author received two conflicting messages about money: 1) that they had enough and didn't need to worry about it, due to their grandfather's successful entrepreneurship and inheritance, and 2) that they needed to be frugal, as their father was a professional artist supporting a family of four.

2. How did the author reconcile these two messages? The author reconciled the two messages by believing "We have plenty of money, but I don't deserve it." Money became synonymous with a feeling of deservedness, approval, and love, leading the author to interpret their father's frugality as him withholding love.

3. How did this belief manifest in the author's spending habits as an adult? The author's belief that they didn't deserve the family's wealth led to profligate, even wasteful, spending in their 20s. Spending money on themselves provided a feeling of deservedness and recognition, and they didn't have to worry about the long-term consequences due to the expected inheritance.

[02] The impact of the author's changing financial situation

1. What happened to the author's finances when their business experienced rapid growth during the COVID-19 pandemic? The rapid growth in the author's business and bank account balance only exacerbated their existing spending habits. They justified overspending on things like hiring employees, expensive equipment, and cryptocurrency as "investing in future growth," despite the underlying business not being able to sustain that level of spending.

2. What happened when the author's business sales began to decline in 2022? The author had over-hired and over-invested, and when sales declined, there was no longer enough underlying business to justify the expenses. This led to the author having to lay off half the team, which made them realize their attitude toward money was not just affecting them, but hurting others.

[03] The author's relationship with money

1. What was the author's core belief about their ability to make money? The author believed that they had a gift for entrepreneurship, likely inherited from their grandfather and great-great grandfather. This belief both justified and amplified their tendency to spend money freely, as they knew they could always generate more.

2. How did the author's belief about their ability to make money impact their business growth? The author's belief that they could always make more money prevented them from properly managing expenses and growing their business. They were stuck as a highly-paid employee of their own company, rather than building a true, scalable business.

3. What realization did the author have about their desire to "make a difference" in the world? The author realized that their endless striving to "make a difference" was a way of avoiding the fact that their mere existence and life already made a difference. They had created a story that they weren't worthy, when in fact the gaping hole inside of them was created by themselves and could only be filled by themselves.

[04] The author's family's generational attitudes toward money

1. How did the author feel about being the recipient of their family's sacrifices and hardships? The author felt a deep sense of not deserving the money and privilege that had been passed down to them, as they were acutely aware of the pain and struggles their ancestors had endured to provide for their families.

2. How did the author's family's scarcity mindset toward money impact their own relationship with money? The author realized their family had never truly let go of the scarcity mindset they had adopted through immigration, the Great Depression, and world wars. This mindset of "having enough" was passed down through the generations, limiting the author's ability to fully embrace and utilize the family's wealth.

3. What middle path did the author envision for themselves in relation to their family's money? The author sees an opportunity to use the financial capacity that has been passed down to them to heal the pain that gave rise to it, moving their family out of a realm of scarcity and fear and exploring deeper, more subtle questions about how to invest the money while honoring their ancestors' sacrifice and their own life.

Shared by Daniel Chen ยท
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