Who’s in Control? You or Your Money?

When I teach my Money Mastery Workshops I test the emotional attachment with money through a simple exercise.

Getting things started like this creates an opportunity for a discussion and shift in mindset that allows us to look at money from an all new, and helpful, perspective.

You, too, will gain this new perspective and allow money to work for you instead of against you by the time you’re done reading this.

The Money Exercise

money is emotionalI ask everyone to privately write down their total estimated checking account balance.  You can see people start to look around at one another to see if they are following my instructions.  Eventually people start to think about it and begin to write down the number.

The number is written down and quickly the piece of paper is turned-over or covered-up.  They don’t want their neighbor to see what they wrote…and sometimes their neighbor is their own spouse!

Next, I let them know we will go around the room, one-by-one, to share the number they wrote down.  How would you respond?  Would you be willing to openly share your answer with a group of strangers?  Or co-workers?  Or friends?  Or family members?  Needless to say I don’t get too many volunteers to get started.  Instead panic strikes the faces of almost every single person. They start considering whether they will share the number they wrote down or maybe adjust it.

But why?

Money is Emotional

There is no doubt about it…money is emotional.

People carry a lot of baggage around money.  In fact, many consider money to be a taboo subject.  Sometime that is forbidden to be discussed.

Society places a lot of significance on money.  You’ve heard the phrase, “Keeping up with the Jonses” before, I’m sure.  Money is one way for us to fit in…or not.  Since most people are uncomfortable with standing out, especially related to money, we do what it takes to fit in, or keep up with the Joneses.

keeping up with the Joneses


But it’s not just one-sided.  Having too little money has one emotional response but having too much money has another.

American culture loves a rags to riches story.  We love seeing people go from nothing and achieve success.  But you know what else people love?  The rich or famous getting torn down.  Consider all of these tabloid and gossip sites that attract millions of visitors every day!

  • TMZ (rated #256 in U.S. and #1,136 worldwide in traffic)
  • PageSix (rated #786 in U.S. and #2,794 worldwide)
  • DigitalSpy (rated #1,581 in U.S. and #2,189 worldwide)
  • PerezHilton (rated #2,022 in U.S. and #7,103 worldwide)

Sensationalism sells.  And what’s more sensationalist than a break-up, scandal, or financial ruin.

I point this out as a reminder that the emotional impact of money is not always focused on having too little but can equally target those with too much.

Negative or Positive?

What’s your relationship with money like?

Would you say you have a positive relationship?  Does your relationship with money benefit you?  Do you enjoy talking about money?

Considering money is one of the leading causes of stress it is likely your emotion surrounding money is more negative than positive.

bible money versesThe Bible

If you know anything about me I am not one to quote bible verses but since the Bible is the #1 most read book of all time and many Bible verses surrounding money are misunderstood or misquoted I thought it was a relevant topic.

Probably the most misquoted Bible verse about money is, “Money is the root of all evil.”  The actual verse states, “For the love of money is the root of all evil.”

Here’s another.  “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”  Chris Brown explains:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#0090dd” class=”” size=””]This passage doesn’t condemn wealth at all. It’s Jesus’s way of letting the crowd know that none of them can get to heaven by their own effort, but by grace alone.[/perfectpullquote]

Eliminate Emotion from Money

If we can work to eliminate the emotion surrounding money we can turn money into a tool to work for us.

But how do we do that?

Well, it starts by understanding what money really is.

The Origin of Money

The definition of money is a good starting point.  Merriam Webster defines money as:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#00af66″ class=”” size=””]“something generally accepted as a medium of exchange, a measure of value, or a means of payment”[/perfectpullquote]

The very foundation of money began through trading.  Trading an owned item of value for something desired.  For example, you could trade livestock for a crop.

Eventually, items such as cowrie shells became the “generally accepted” medium used as a “means of payment”.

Over time the medium was a representation of something valuable such as a specific weight of barely…or gold.

Until finally, the medium itself became so engrained in day-to-day exchange that there was no longer a need for that medium to represent anything other than the value we place on it.  The gold standard which tied the U.S currency to goal was eliminated in 1971.

We now follow what is called “Fiat Money” which is basically a government declaration of what is considered legal tender.

We All Must Agree

Money only works if we all agree to it, otherwise it is only worth the paper and coins we print our money on.

Is a $100 bill really worth more than $1 bill?  Of course not.  The only reason people consider it worth more is because that’s what everyone has agreed to.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”The money we exchange is basically worthless without the meaning society places on it.” quote=”The money we exchange is basically worthless without the meaning society places on it.”]

Understanding this helps to see money for what it is and allows us to remove the emotion associated with.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Money has a single purpose: to exchange it for something worth more than you believe they money you have is worth.” quote=”Money has a single purpose: to exchange it for something worth more than you believe the money is worth.”]

If you did not value whatever it is you were buying more than the money you held in your hand you would not give up your hard-earned money.

Money is a Tool

Eliminating the emotion from money we can see it for what it actually is…a tool.

A tool to help you get what you want.
A tool that can go to work for you.
A tool that is intended to be used.
A tool that should be well-maintained.
A tool you must understand how to use.

How will you use money in your life?  Will you allow it to control you or will you be the one in control?  You get to decide.

money masteryHere are some great resources for using your tool called money:

The next time money starts to create stress or worry just remember you are in control.

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