What does money mean to you?

How is Your Money Feeling?

With Dennise Williams

Sunday, November 12, 2017

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It's not a news flash that most of us are living beyond our means. The question for today is, are we living above our meaning?

We always ask how is your money feeling. And if your money isn't feeling the way you want it to feel, could it be that the meaning you give your money hasn't fully been explored? So let us look at what money is and what money can mean.

Money is a tool. That's it. Money is a tool that you use to exchange for what you want. Yet many of us don't know what we want. Yes, we all need money to pay our living expenses. However, deep inside our subconscious mind, money has greater meaning than what we speak of in our day-to-day language.

The College Investor blog shares some ways people subconsciously define and act around money.

Do any of the following sound like you?

Power - Nobody can push me around, I will always have control of my life and be strong.

Happiness - I'll be happiest with lots of money. Not having money causes all the problems in my life. If I have money, all of my problems in life will be solved.

Security - My safety depends on having money. The more money I have, the safer I am/my family is.

Freedom - Financial independence is all that matters. Once I attain this, I can work for myself, my life will be complete, and I'll never have another worry.

Love - Having money makes relationships so much easier. If I have lots of money, people will love me more.

Respect - I worked hard and earned all that money, therefore, I should be respected!

If you see your money meaning above, the next question relates to where you got that meaning from. So we have to go back and consider your childhood.

Psychologist Darrell Urban explains how money meanings develop from our family surroundings.

• Do thoughts of money bring up feelings of worry, guilt, anger, sadness, power, love, or joy?

• Did your parents fight about money? Use money to control you or one another? Use money to show love?

• Do you feel grateful for the money you have earned or acquired?

• How do you decide how or when to spend it?

• Do you give a portion of your earnings back to your church or your community?

The answers to these questions can set you on the path to understanding how your emotions influence your spending patterns. How people handle money and make financial plans for the future can sometimes be driven by pure emotion.

So what to do next?

Financial advisor Phillip Taylor writes, “Define what it is that you value in life. Need a little help? Grab a list of personal values and pick the ones that resonate the most with you. Now translate those values into financial terms. Do this by asking yourself how the value relates to financial matters. For instance, if one of your values is freedom, ask yourself what you can do financially that will lead you to freedom. Repeat this line of questioning for each of your values. What you're left with is a strong sense of your values and what actions and choices you can make now and in the future that will lead you to a truly improved financial life.”

And of course, reach out to a money coach, financial advisor or a good, knowledgable friend. It's worth it to get your money feeling the way you want it to, and for you to live within your meaning.

Dennise Williams, MBA (Banking & Finance) is a journalist, TV producer, certified practitioner NLP coach, and has 15 years' experience in the financial services industry. You can see more of her work at or at




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