Toxic Financial Relationships

One of many benefits of being a speaker, radio host and columnist is access to great and unique thinkers. The 31 years in the financial planning profession has allowed me to discuss many concepts regarding your finances that I have agreed with, implemented and others that clearly made no sense. My job is to bring you good advice via opening your eyes to new concepts.

The majority of writings come from three sources: there are people who want to tell you that you can manage money and finances on your own so they write books and magazines that suggest this is true; there are researchers who tend to write to the average family based on their financial needs and can often confuse those of you who have saved and taken interest in your long term future; and then there are the people who want to sell you something and will always tell you to hire professional advice.

By definition, I fall into the third category as we work with families all over the country in managing their assets. This column however is written to be as neutral as possible bringing you thoughts and ideas to supplement things you want to learn or perhaps already know.

This week I interviewed Emily Guy Birken who is a money coach from the Milwaukee area.  She is a mother of two, former English teacher and author of four books. You can find our discussion on the podcast “Consider This Program” if you care to hear the entire interview.

The most interesting part of our time together was her feeling of “toxic relationships” people tend to have with their money that come from their childhood experiences. You may remember that a big part of my life this year has been studying the Enneagram (I am an 8 wing 7) which claims almost all our adult behaviors come from our childhood experiences. Emily’s thoughts really resonated with me.

There is no doubt in my mind that people form a relationship with their statements after the kids have left and the values are high enough to be deemed meaningful by the owner.  Two things tend to happen as people approach retirement: Some people don’t need the money in their accounts and others simply can’t imagine withdrawing assets from an account they worked so diligently to save. The older I get the more I understand!

The question is poised by Emily is why are we so reluctant to spend? Her belief is that it is more than the issues I listed above as well as the fear of running out of money. She argues that some people have a guilt based relationship with spending. She shares that some people don’t feel worthy of buying things for themselves. The toxicity of these feelings or fears can really limit our ability to fully utilize our resources.

Money is a tool for you to use today or tomorrow. Ask yourself why you think the way you do about money. You may learn something about your childhood!

Disclaimer: Do not construe anything written in this post or this blog in its entirety as a recommendation, research, or an offer to buy or sell any securities. Everything in this post is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. I or my affiliates may hold positions in securities mentioned in the blog. Please see our Disclosure page for the full disclaimer.