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Think about the statements about money you heard growing up. Chances are they included things like; ‘Money doesn’t grow on trees, money is the root or all evil or money only comes through hard work’.

When we hear messages like this as young children, they form part of our subconscious beliefs or blueprint about money. These beliefs can then play out later in life when we are making financial decisions.

How is your money story holding you back? - limiting beliefs about money image

Here’s an example. Two childhood friends grow up in households with different beliefs about money. One set of parents talk about the need for hard work and long hours, the other about the importance of using your talent, a positive attitude and expecting good things to happen. Now without judgement of which is right or wrong, look at the situation some years later.

The child from the first home is likely to have a defined set of beliefs about money coming from a job, which requires long hours and effort. The second child perhaps is self employed or more creative in some way.

This may explain the vicious circle of intergenerational unemployment and dependence on benefits. In many cases the environment at home is accepted as normality and no other options are viewed as possibilities. Compared with children of more affluent families for whom money can come more easily because their mindset is one of a certain standard of living.

Imagine how these two people might view the same business opportunity if it were presented to them. Or what their approach to investing might be. Someone with a deep-seated belief that money came only through hard work is not likely to accept a stock market portfolio as an option to build wealth.

It is said that our subconscious minds will help create a reality which is closely in alignment to our sense of self. This can be seen in many areas not just money. Look at how quickly celebrity mums get back in shape for magazine covers. The skeptic might point to personal trainers and chefs, but their self-image is also an important factor.

Can we change our financial setpoints?

The good news is yes, we can, but it takes some inner work and self-reflection. Start by writing down all the negative money stories you heard growing up. For example, ‘Rich people are evil’. Then write the opposite so ‘Rich people can do good in the world’. Now look at both statements. Thinking rationally, they could both be right or equally they could both be wrong. So why not choose to accept the positive statement?

The last part is to write down a turnaround statement such as ‘People can be good or evil but money has nothing to do with it. I choose to be kind and generous with my money’.

Remember, our beliefs are just a series of repeated thoughts. We can change our money story or beliefs about anything else through awareness, self reflection and holding them up to the light to see if they are really true or can be challenged into submission.


Daniel Britton

Personal finance author, teacher and coach. Creator of The Financial Fairy Tales series of award winning children's books. Helping people become fearless about finance.

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