All our “default programming” (the beliefs that shape ALL our decisions every single day) stems from childhood. Money makes no exception.
I grew up in communist Romania. It was a time of lack, scarcity, and life was simple. People had money, but there was nothing they could buy. The shelves in the grocery store were empty. Clothing departments sold only essential items. Then we had the Revolution in 1989, and everything changed in the blink of an eye. We had freedom and so much stuff we could now buy: clothes, food, cars, toys, carpets. And juice in all flavours – I must have been 8 or 9 when I had my first Pepsi.
My mom left her high-paying “corporate” job to open a small brick and mortar shop selling perfume, deodorants, make-up, hair-dye and everything in between. Mom worked hard in that shop. She was great at dealing with people, and most customers returned time and again.
In a short time, we went from having an income like many in our little town to having more than most. But mom was terrible at managing money, and she struggled around the big money decisions.
Our family issues around money grew into secrecy. My parents started frequently quarrelling. Their conversations about anything money-related would inevitably end up in yelling and door slamming. It was an intense time for us all. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had already started creating my story around money. And it was a story that was going to cause me many problems.
I’ve done a lot of self-development work over the years. But despite achieving a generous salary, no mortgage or credit card debt, I’d have next to nothing at the end of every month. I had no idea how to handle money because money made me sad, guilty, angry and ashamed.
At times I’d go out of my way to project a glamorous image beyond what was in my bank account. (As I would later discover, that’s what an unbalanced Celebrity Archetype does.)