Has anyone ever asked you what your money story is? Did you even know that you have a “money story”? When I first crossed paths with Emily Williams, this would be one of the first concepts that she would introduce me to—and one that would unsettle my life, in the most beautiful way.
We all have a money story. It’s how we were taught to think and feel about money by our parents, the culture we grew up in, the media that we consumed, and so on and so forth. Another revolutionary fact that Emily would share with me was that the foundations for how you feel, think, and believe money works are set by the time that you’re seven years old. For many of us, that means that we interact with, adhere to, and limit ourselves in the ways that money works based on the ideas that we were exposed to in those early years of life. The powerful truth here is that the money story that we’ve been telling ourselves, and the money mindset that we’ve adopted, can be challenged and changed, but first we have to really make the story that we’re telling ourselves conscious.
In this post, I’d like to introduce you to 10 journal prompts that will help you truly recognize your money story and allow you to begin transforming your money mindset. As we go through each prompt, I really want to invite you to be curious about your responses instead of being judgmental toward yourself or the people in your life who may have influenced the beliefs that you have around money. I happen to believe that most of us are simply doing the best we can with what we have available to us at that time… and sometimes the life experiences and generational ideas that were handed to us by our parents don’t honor us or the future that we desire. In these moments, if you’ll really take some time to dig deep, you can change the patterns for yourself and for each relationship that you have within your life. This is important work that can truly unlock new dreams, ideas, and revelations about what you want to bring into the world.
I hope that the following journal prompts will help you kickstart the process of working on your attitude to money more closely.
1. What is my first memory with money?
Really think about this one, as at first it might seem difficult to try and tap into such an old memory. Once you have a time in mind, begin to expand upon the point by asking yourself more questions. Was it a happy memory? Was it tied to scarcity and confusion? Was it tied to frustration and anger? Where were you? What was happening internally? Who else was there? What emotions or beliefs were they displaying in relation to money?
2. What did my family believe about money and how it worked?
What were some of the most common things you heard your parents say about money, positive and negative? There are many well-known phrases to do with money that we hear all the time, like “money doesn’t grow on trees”, “money makes the world go round”, or “money is the root of all evil”. Did you ever hear your family use these terms? It’s imperative to note here is that not speaking about money is ALSO speaking about money. For example, my parents never talked about money, but I knew that they were constantly fighting and trying to hide the fact from me that we never seemed to have enough. I felt the stress of their turmoil as a child.
3. What do I believe about money?
What do you most commonly think or feel when you’re thinking about money? Do you feel as though there’s never enough, or do you feel abundant and like you are always supported? Here are some popular beliefs around money that might help you to expand upon this. See which of the following resonate with you:
I’m bad with money.
I can’t save.
I never have enough.
I can’t make enough.
I feel guilty and ashamed for my debt.
Making money means that I’m taking it from someone.
In order to make money you have to work really hard, because success is hard to achieve.
I’m bad at paying off debt.
Saving money is a struggle.
You have to always evaluate every purchase.
You can always get it cheaper.
Living within your means is the best way to live.
God doesn’t want us to have money.
You shouldn’t make a lot of money by helping people.
I never have enough money for what I want.
Life is too expensive.
4. What do I believe about people who have a lot of money?
Next, I’d like you to not only think about how you perceive money itself, but also what you think and feel about people who possess a lot of it. This can be interesting to consider. A lot of messaging that we receive in the western world is that people with wealth are greedy and evil. If you think about many of the movies that we watch, wealthy people are portrayed as the villains. When I really thought about the people in my own life who are wealthy, it was a stark comparison to the world of wealth that I’d been taught exists in popular culture. How about you? Here I’d suggest you do the same, and compare people you don’t know (famous billionaires, celebrities and public figures) and people you do know, to see if there is a difference for you, too.
5. What do I think people will think of me if I have a lot of money?
Sometimes we stay trapped in our limiting money stories and prevent ourselves from making more money because when it really comes down to it, we believe that we won’t be accepted by the people who love us most, or that we’ll be judged and called greedy by the world around us. This makes a lot of sense if we continue to buy into the popular images that we’re sold in the media that we see around us. Spend some time to note exactly what you think people might feel about you if you were to become wealthy. What fears and worries arise?
6. What kind of relationship do I have with money?
Yes, a relationship. Think of it as a romantic relationship. Is it one of reciprocity and peace? Is it one of constant turbulence and drama? Are you providing for each other, or do you feel like you’re the only one doing the work? Is it hot and cold or steady and stable? Is it largely a positive or negative experience? Are you a power couple or should one of you be filing for divorce?
7. What kind of relationship do I desire with money?
Now, before you throw the towel in on your relationship with money, think about how you could repair it. Do you want it to stay the same as it has been? Or are there a few minor things you’d like to change? Or perhap you want it to look completely different altogether? In what ways? How would you like to feel about it?
8. What would I believe about myself if I had all the money that I desired?
What would it mean to have everything that you desired in life because you could now afford it? Imagine you have the margin and the savings that allow you to step away from scarcity thinking—how would that feel? Do you feel worthy and deserving of that? Are you allowed to have all of those things? What would it mean if you really were able to step into that version of yourself?
9. Are there rewards for keeping myself at the current financial set-point that I am?
Often, we perpetuate cycles of keeping ourselves in our limits because we’re not sure that we can actually handle the next step of our growth. For example, maybe deep down you tell yourself that you don’t want to create more wealth for yourself because you’re not sure you believe you know how to be a good steward of that wealth and that maybe you’ll blow it all! So instead of allowing yourself to ever get to that place of having that responsibility, you just stay right where you are. Perhaps it means that you feel like you won’t be able to have as much margin in your life because you’ll have to work harder to bring in more money, so you stay locked into the dance you’re in right now. Ask yourself what’s keeping you playing small.
10. If I wrote a letter to money, what would it say?
Now that you’ve examined where your money beliefs were and the stories that you’ve been telling yourself about money, what would you like to say to money? Would you like to apologize for? If you go back to the lens of the romantic relationship, have you been acting like a confusing lover? You know, pretending that you don’t want it around but secretly wishing that you could have as much as you wanted? Would you invite it (or her or him if you’d like to give it a pronoun) to be more readily available in your life? This is a great time to really describe in detail what you would like this relationship with money to look like going forward.
As you consider each part of this process, what have you learned about yourself? Will you continue to cling to the money stories that have been passed down to you or will you really shift the narrative here to allow yourself the fullness to be, do and have anything that you want? Here at I Heart My Life, we believe that your desires are dropped in like blueprints. That whatever’s in your heart is meant for you. And that includes your desire for wealth and abundance.
There are many reasons that we can stop ourselves short from really living into the fullness of who we are and what we want. The most powerful thing that you can ever do for yourself is to realize that you have the agency and authority to change or heal anything in your life that does not bring you closer to the fullest expansion and expression of who you are. As you step in that freedom, your life also becomes an example and an invitation for others to see what’s possible for them. Isn’t that the world that we all want to be living inside of? A world where the stories that we’re writing internally bring healing, transformation, generosity, kindness, and hope. Now, you have the tools to write your own story… what will it say?
RESOURCES TO CONTINUE FLIPPING THE SCRIPT ON YOUR MONEY STORY
- I Heart Money: A step-by-step course where you’ll learn how to remove money blocks, transform your relationship with money, make more money and uplevel your life in every way imaginable.
- The Neuroscience of Money Mindset
- How to Identify and Transform Your Money Blocks
- How Rich People Think by Steve Siebold