I grew up the daughter of two elementary school teachers. Dad struggled to hold down a job for most of my youth, and so that meant we often lived solely off of Mom’s meager educator’s salary.
It wasn’t until I was an adult that I could fully appreciate the sacrifices Mom had to make for our family.
Growing up, I was taught that you pay your church offerings, save a little money, pay your bills, and then play with what was left over. But I had no idea there were some months when my mom had to skip a bill payment, because there wasn’t enough money in her checking account. I knew money was tight during those years, but I had no idea HOW tight.
I remember as a high school basketball player going to McDonalds with our team after an away game. Mom gave me $5 to spend. Don’t get me wrong. I was a growing girl who had just spent all evening playing basketball. Mom’s intention was for me to use that $5 at every away game. But I knew the value of that $5 at home. . . .at least I thought I did in my teenage mind. So I tried to make it stretch, because after all, Mom was already paying for my piano lessons, athletic fees, school fees, gas, clothing, shoes, medical care, etc. I knew that a McDonald’s hamburger cost $.59 (a little more with tax), and if I only bought 1 hamburger, I could make my $5 stretch for several away games (unless I splurged and got the $.69 cheeseburger).
I grew up believing that money was tight and hard to come by. You had to work hard for your money. You had to go to college to get a job that could make you money. If you made 6 figures, you had “made it” in life. Money should be stored (I probably “hoarded”) for a rainy day. Money should be spent very cautiously. All of these beliefs dictated my entire relationship with money.
When I graduated from college. Within 6 months of graduation, I was making more money per year than Mom had ever made in her 38-year teaching career. was single and still living a poor college student’s lifestyle; yet, my thoughts about money didn’t really change.
Over the years my salary generally continued its upward trend. Yet, my thoughts and beliefs about money remained the same. In fact, I believed they were gospel truth.
Then one day, I “MADE IT”! I made 6 figures for the first time. You know what changed? Not one darn thing. I still viewed money as scarce, tight, constricting, and what’s worse? I viewed myself as a fraud–not worthy of the money.
But you know what I’m learning? I’ve been wrong my whole life. All those thoughts I had about money were just that – THOUGHTS. The only reason they felt true was because I had thought them over and over again for years.
I started realizing that many people think very differently about money. I started learning that my relationship with money has everything to do with how I THINK about it. So I’ve gradually started to shift my perspective about money.
Today, I know that making 6 figures shows how my work is valued, not how I’m valued. Making a lot of money is easy. It doesn’t require 60-hour work weeks. Money comes because of the value I put out into the world, not because of the number of hours I work.
If you’re like me, and you have a relationship with money that you want to change, think about these three things:
- What comes to mind when you think about money?
- Do you have or want a lot of money? Why or why not?
- What were you taught about money?
As you take time to truly ponder your answers to these questions, you may uncover some long-held beliefs that are holding you back when it comes to your relationship with money.
I know I did. But don’t judge yourself for whatever comes up! Be curious. You may find a whole new money world out there that you never knew existed.
Guest post written by Shannon Resare of The Working Mama Coach.