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My Limiting Belief with Money

There are many things that get in our way when it comes to money management.  But, often, the biggest thing holding us back may be surprising: often our greatest obstacle is our own beliefs about ourselves.  These are our limiting beliefs.  

Deep seated beliefs we have about ourselves and money can become a huge factor in how we progress with money management in our lives.

A lot of people think money management is for the upper echelon- the business class flying, business suit wearing types.  Let’s be honest, how many times have you let this belief get in the way of getting your finances in order?

I know I have.  

My Limiting Belief

I’m going to confess that for a long time, I believed I was bad with money. 

Where did this belief come from?

After my father passed away when I was ten years old, my mother was left with not much money (no insurance payout) and two little girls.  My uncle (my mom’s brother) saved my mom from a difficult life of being a widow in India.  He helped bring us to the United States.  He even got my mother a job and let us stay in his lake house. 

After we moved to the states, I would help my mom clean the house, babysit my little sister, cook, and help her pay the bills, as early as age ten.  When I turned thirteen, I started running a daycare/summer camp at our house and gave all my earnings to my mom for the household.  But, my mom always told me I was bad with money.  Why? Because I came out of that period with not a penny to my name.  It was all gone to my mother to support the household.

Similarly, I had a waitressing job all through middle school and high school.  I had 2-3 jobs at a time in college.  Still, I came out of those time periods without a penny to my name.  I used that money for living expenses to supplement my scholarships, so I didn’t come out with any debt from undergrad.  I even used some of that money, combined with another scholarship to do an expedition into the Amazon for a summer to live with an Amazonian tribe and save the forest from oil companies (true story).  Still, I believed I was bad with money and I heard it back from my mother often. 

So, I tried hard to learn about money.  I read the Wall Street Journal to decompress during study breaks at the coffee shop.  I got the idea that a Roth IRA would be a good idea.  But, I believed I was bad with money, so I didn’t risk it.  I tried to follow the pack and tried not to make controversial decisions (and I’m no stranger to controversial decisions, otherwise- see below!). 

Using a machette to mow grass around the children's schoolhouse in the Amazon circa 2005.

The Turning Point

Until one day, I decided I had  had it.  I was done with following the pack.  Debt payments, nice things, and living paycheck to paycheck just wasn’t what I was willing to do anymore.  They were taking me away from my precious babies.  I couldn’t take a long enough maternity leave because I had too many debt payments and not enough income.  

 So, I decided to make some radical changes (after I got my husband on board).  I could be bad with money but I didn’t care.  I was done being on the wrong side of compounding interest.  I was done doing things that didn’t make sense to me.

And then, an amazing thing happened. 

I paid off $100k of student loans in 6 months and all of a sudden, something inside me changed.  I didn’t think I was bad at money.  In fact, I thought, I might just be good at it.  So I wrote the post that started this blog. 

Since then, I have gotten validation from money experts in the field like Jim Dahle, Cory Fawcett, and the Plutus Foundation’s Harlan Landes and others, that I’m on the right track.  

Our Limiting Beliefs Hold us Back

Now I realize that for years, I was letting the limiting belief that I was bad with money keep me from making the leaps that lead to forward progress.  I knew what the right thing was, but I didn’t trust myself enough to follow through with it.  

Unfortunately, it is often the people that are closest to us that keep us entrenched in our limiting beliefs.  It is our responsibility to look at the facts, shake off the beliefs that don’t belong and move on. 

I realize the belief “I am bad with money” served me enough to light the fire under me to learn all about it.  

Now, it’s time to set it aside and move on.

Affirming My Growth Mindset

Now, every time my husband and I sit down for our budget dates, and every time we meet a goal, I am affirmed.  

I am good with money.  And I can help others be good with it, too.  

Ah.  That felt good.

What’s your limiting money belief?

Is it “I’m not good with money”?  

Think about it for a second. 

Now tell yourself the opposite thing– “I’m good with money.” 

Try it on for size. 

How does it feel? 

I wonder which one of the statements is actually true?

Standard Disclaimer: Not meant as individualized financial or medical advice.    


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