long term relationships

How Healthy is Your Relationship with Money?

Posted on Posted in Accountability, Clarity

Have you ever stopped to think about your relationship with money?  How you feel about it, relate to it and earn it?

As a money and small business coach I come face to face with my relationship with money and other’s relationships to it, on a day to day basis.  When I’m coaching, often we aren’t talking about money, per se.  We are speaking about goals, relationships with others and time.  Yet, money is always a factor in these conversations and I’ve made it a personal goal of mine to deeply understand how money can be used as a tool to meeting goals instead of a hindrance to our ability to get things done.

A book I sincerely connected with on my path to understanding money, is The Seven Stages of Money Maturity, by George Kinder.  This book resonated with me given its deep exploration into the maturity of our relationships with money throughout our lives.  It gave new meaning to what a healthy relationship with money is and how to grow and nurture it.

It isn’t a book about building fortunes from real estate or crafty investing, rather a book that challenges you to define freedom and fulfillment on your own terms and then step by step work toward your ideal relationship with money and its connection to your life purpose.

As an overview, the progressive Seven Stages of Money Maturity, are as follows:

  • Innocence—(definition) When we are trapped in beliefs that keep us victims to money and at the whims of others.
    • (finer points) Instead of facing the fact that our beliefs may not be accurate, we choose to stay oblivious to the work needed to change our beliefs or hold on to addictions that numb the pain.
    • We make a choice to hold onto negative money beliefs that keep us stuck and comfortable.
  • Pain—Represents the feeling of suffering connected to innocence.
    • The greater we identify with our pain and attach our stories to it, the more we cling to the drama that keeps us innocent and irresponsible.
    • When we learn to let go of beliefs that keep us trapped and allow our painful feelings “to be,” without addictive distractions–>We can enter into the next step of money maturity.
  • Knowledge—When we translate our desire for freedom into concrete goals and commit ourselves to achieving them.
    • Here we develop the deep understanding that we must connect our souls to the world of money and stop blaming and resenting others or circumstances for our financial lives.
    • There is a discovery that life’s richness and meaning comes from mastering skills, recognizing and containing one’s own sadness and sacrificing something of the moment to gain an even more precious goal.
  • Understanding—Here we develop our understanding of what stands between us and the FREEDOM we crave.
    • Our obligation here is to discover the circumstances in which our souls flourish.
    • Moreover, we need to understand what painful feelings we have associated with making or spending money and let them be—without judging, criticizing or numbing the feelings out.
    • When we understand what circumstances allow us to make earning money meaningful and face our pain around money, we begin to feel at ease with money as well as empowered.
  • Vigor—Here we develop energy and enthusiasm to pursue our goals, centering on finding purpose in life.
    • In this step, we must understand what is holding us back from having the energy we need to meet our goals. Common things that hold people back are: resentment/blame; fear of failure; dependency, lack of clarity of goals and self-doubt.
    • You also evaluate your inner and outer resources in this stage, to best determine how to meet your goals, given your strengths and assets.
  • Vision—We see good to be accomplished all around us and we have the skills to make that vision real. We understand that money is a conduit through which our souls flow into the world.
    • In this stage we have typically saved enough to meet our needs and switch our focus to saving and investing time and money for a deeper sense of the whole of our lives.
  • Aloha—We are in a state of wisdom and generosity, we give without expectation and understand that to live is to give away of ourselves.
    • Here we shift from pursuing retirement to accomplishing wholeness in our beings, communities and surroundings.

When you take a look at your relationship with money, where do you believe you are in the Seven Stages of Money Maturity?  Wherever you are, is completely fine as long as you are honest with yourself about your place and how to move forward.

In the journey toward living our best lives there are many beliefs to challenge and levels of understanding to arrive at.  Through growing our familiarity with how we relate to money, we can determine the next best steps to overcome hurdles in realizing our heart centered contributions.

I challenge you to define where you are in this relationship spectrum and to take one action step this week to strengthen your relationship with money!