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Money Blog #3: Financial Conditioning

I've read many books on my journey towards understanding money. The more helpful books guide one through an understanding of one's money blueprint. Our money blueprint is the unconscious conditioning we have around money. It is the attitude and ideas we learned as children that are obscuring a healthy relationship with money. My blueprint was ‘healthier’ than my husband’s. Derek's parents put all household bills on the kitchen counter at the end of every month. And as his parents decided which bills they could pay, their money discussion became an argument every month. Derek said one day to me ‘my rearing has taught me that money is a problem’.

My upbringing was different. My parents were frugal. I overheard many conversations about saving, needing to work hard for money, and spending only money that you had and not borrowing. Debt wasn’t considered.  It was understood that money would be spent on necessities and education and the rest was saved. There was little if any conversations about investments, beyond the family farm, which was a well-managed business. Furthermore, any other spend was considered a waste of money. As a result, spending money on myself doesn't come naturally to me. Luxury goods often seem unwise and frivolous purchases to me. In an effort to push back on this conditioning we rented a house near the beach that had three bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a pool and hot tub. I have never understood why one would have a pool living near the beach. I chose to have the experience in order to not dismiss such ‘luxuries’ and to understand why people might want a lifestyle like that. The exercise loosened my conditioning. I spend money on my health with ease (I perceive it as a necessity) and I don't think to spend on something that might make my life easier if I perceive it as a luxury good. I’m very familiar with enjoying a frugal and simple lifestyle. Walking a spiritual path was therefore an easy transition for me. Not so much for my husband. His first job out of college was with a computer consulting company, one of the big ones. He made a lot of money and had no information or examples about what to do with it.

His parents made one investment (advertised as such and they believed it was an investment) in a time-share scheme. Time-share schemes are not income generating and cost money to travel to the vacation resort location. Timeshares are not investments. As it turned out, the scheme was fraudulent. They lost their money and the CEO of the scheme was imprisoned. As an adult, Derek had no tools to manage money and his money left as easy as it came to him. Now we communicate regularly around money and keep in mind the importance of synchronizing our life values and financial goals.


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