Generally speaking, your money mindset is like an apple that hasn’t fallen far from the tree. That’s an analogy that often refers to a parent-child relationship. Your money mindset is generally similar to your parents’ as they have a large impact on your thoughts and feelings about money.
Your parents’ attitude about money and how they managed their money made a lasting impact on you. The years you spent living under their influence ingrained thoughts, beliefs, and actions that bleed over into your adulthood. Regardless of your current circumstances, how you feel about money is likely tempered with how your parents felt when you were growing up.
How your parents managed money affected your quality of life
Whether you wore hand-me-downs, or your clothes came from the finest stores, this was a direct result of your parents’ thoughts about money. The types of foods you ate and whether or not you ever vacationed as a child was due to your parents’ decisions about their budget. If you lived hand-to-mouth or affluent, it was a direct result of your parents’ ability to earn and manage their income.
Their thoughts about money were absorbed by their personal experiences as well. That’s why you may have had plenty of money but also had a parent who always thought the sky was falling so they never spent anything, or a parent who was always overspending and putting the family at risk with their financial decisions.
How they spoke about money affected your thoughts about money
If your parents believed that the path to wealth was tied to working hard or saving for a rainy day, you likely place a very high premium on grinding it out and not spending.
If your parents shared their worries over the utility bills or told you things you wanted were “too expensive,” you may have gotten the message that things you’d like to have are bad or make you greedy. These sorts of messages can linger in your psyche – even if you have more than enough income today.
The above is so true for me, personally. It took me many years to undo the messages I received from my parents about money when I was a kid.
Conversely, If your parents were wealthy, you likely experienced having your needs met with ease and didn’t attach any unhealthy meaning to finances or how your parents managed their money. You may have had everything you needed and most of what you wanted.
You probably felt comfortable asking for things. Under healthy circumstances, children develop with a sense of safety about money and expect that things will work out because that’s the experience they had.
Your parents’ reactions to financial setbacks made an impression on you whether you know it or not
You may not have had a front row seat to the conversations your parents had when a financial setback happened, but you likely knew something was up. Tension in the home or blatant fear or anger often leak out when people are stressed about money. This tension or the outward expression of fear always has an impact.
As a child, you may not have been able to connect the dots, but as an adult you might have unexplained weird feelings or thoughts about money simply because you were in proximity to your parents while they were under financial stress.
Looking at your past can help you see if you have money mindset issues absorbed by your childhood. If you have these issues, don’t beat yourself up. Back then, you couldn’t control your parents and had no influence over their thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs about money. You were young and didn’t have the maturity to make your own decisions and to fully understand what was going on.
The great news is, you can undo any negative mindset or beliefs that you absorbed as a kid and replace them with healthier beliefs.