Your family history influences your decisions today. Whether spending money, managing money, or making investment decisions, you can unwittingly reenact your original family culture without being aware of what you are doing or why you are doing it. In fact, you may be imitating a parent’s behaviors even when you do not like those behaviors.
Your Unique Financial History
With only a few minutes of serious reflection, you can record vital information about your childhood that will help you understand your relationship to money today.
Think carefully about what went on in your childhood and how you interacted with your parents and siblings when it came to your allowance, discussions (or fights) about money, silences when you asked questions, the purchases you made, the “things” you wanted, how and whether you got them, and the purchases and decisions about money that were made for you. Write a few summary points that you recall as being particularly important.
Write a brief description of your most positive childhood memories about money and finances, or the things that you knew that money could buy. What did you enjoy? What were the special features? What made it “special”?
Write a brief description of your most negative childhood memories about money and finances, or the things that you knew that money could buy. What did you most dislike? What experiences related to money and finances made you unhappy when you were a child?
Now, compare your childhood experiences with your positive and negative financial habits as an adult. Do you recognize any childhood patterns or preferences brought into adulthood? If so, are they compatible with your adult values and lifestyle, or do they cause disharmony? It is time to claim your own values without ever again having to look back in time.
Next: How to Use What You Learned About Your LifeValues
Prefer to work on paper? Download a PDF version of the LifeValues Exercises and Quiz.