How to improve your relationship with money
We need money but too often money controls us. What’s worse, our deeply held beliefs about self-worth and the concept of money can prevent us from striking an ideal relationship with money. But coaching can help you overcome your fears and equally, realize that true wealth doesn’t come from money alone.
Understanding your core beliefs about money
If you’re not satisfied with how much money you have or how you manage it, you can be almost certain that you have a few dysfunctional beliefs with regards to money, the root cause of the struggle. Inheriting these either from our families, society, culture or religion is an extremely common phenomenon.
Uncovering these beliefs and then consciously rewriting them with more constructive ways of
approaching money is key to helping you successfully navigating this corridor of the maze.
Otherwise, you will unfortunately find yourself trapped in a perpetual loop that so many find
themselves in—repeating the same dysfunctional patterns over and over again.
To help you find the path that takes you successfully through this corridor to the next level of the maze, let’s start by looking at some of the most common dysfunctional beliefs people have about money. Make note of the ones that particularly resonate with you. If any strike even the slightest chord, it is likely that you are holding onto this or a similar belief. Bringing them to your conscious awareness is the first step in being able to successfully move beyond.
Common dysfunctional core beliefs about money
Your net worth determines your self-worth One of the most common dysfunctional beliefs about money is that your self-worth is conditional, based on how much money you make or the material assets you have. This builds upon our previous discussion of determining your self-worth from the perspective of the ego versus that of the unique consciousness.
Individuals who view their self-worth based on their ego have fallen into the trap of defining their self-worth conditionally either based on something external to themselves (income, material possessions etc.) or how they compare to others (e.g., trying to keep up with the Jones).
Anytime you buy into the ego’s notion is that your self-worth is conditional, you’ve guaranteed
yourself a certain level of perpetual anxiety, insecurity, and perhaps depression as well.
The ego’s definition of who you are feels like a house of cards; it can come tumbling down at any
point—if that raise doesn’t come through, the stocks dip, or you go through a financial hardship.
In order to actually make any genuine progress through the maze, you must define yourself from the perspective of the unique consciousness and understand that your self is truly unconditional—it is not tied to the amount of money you have or any other condition. I understand this perspective runs counter to what many of us have typically learned from our families and society, but if you seek genuine contentment and fulfillment, adopting the fundamental belief that your self-worth is unconditional is a prerequisite.
I’m not deserving enough
Unfortunately, a common belief related to one’s self-worth is a feeling that you are somehow
“not deserving” or “not good enough” to accumulate abundance in the same way as others.
This also reflects the trap of defining your self-worth conditionally. To counter it, consciously
remind yourself that your self-worth is inherent in the fact that you are a unique human being.
As such, your self-worth is neither no more or less than any other unique human being.
While many people fall into the trap of thinking they are more important than others, recognize
such a feeling for what it is. It comes out of insecurity pure and simple. The individuals who are
most secure and realize that their worth is inherent, understand they are no more or less
important than any other human being—we are all just separate pieces of the puzzle that
creates our world. Despite what many may believe, no piece is more or less valuable than any
Money is something you always have to struggle for or worry about
Another unfortunate common dysfunctional belief is that money is something that you
need to be always concerned about, that you will never have enough of and that you must
always struggle to try and accumulate at least enough to get by. If you grew up in a family
where your parents often worried about money, argued about bills, or said “we can’t afford
that” frequently, it is quite likely that you’ve accumulated beliefs focusing more on the lack of
money rather than beliefs about your ability to accumulate it. Shifting these “lack” beliefs to
ones where you feel more empowered to accumulate the wealth you desire is crucial if you are
to genuinely improve your relationship with money.
An “us” versus “them” mentality
Many of us have grown up with the programming that there are separate socioeconomic
classes (rich, poor, middle- class) to which people “belong.” Our cultural and political system
also unfortunately feeds right into this notion of an “us” versus “them” mentality, especially when it comes to money. The difficulty with breaking free from our patterns with regards to money comes from our tendency to start identifying ourselves as members of a certain socioeconomic group and thinking we are supposed to be poor, middle-class or wealthy.
As human beings, we tend to have a bias against leaving a group with which we have identified.
Inclusion in groups such as our family, village, and/or extended community has always served
an important purpose in terms of survival. Unconsciously, once we have identified ourselves
with a certain socioeconomic group, it would be natural for us to sabotage financial
opportunities that might lead us to move away from the group to which we were born. Our
unconscious mind will likely choose group inclusion versus financial success because it would
deem it more important for survival.
If you would like to increase your financial well-being and happen to have been born to a
middle or lower socioeconomic class, you have to first consciously ask yourself if you are open
to increasing your net worth, even if it might threaten acceptance by and the support of those
closest to you. Otherwise, your unconscious mind will likely sabotage anything it sees as
threatening your well-being, i.e. your acceptance by your group.
Wanting to be wealthy is a sin
Another point of resistance to financial abundance in many people’s lives is that early on, they
were taught that wanting to be wealthy was somehow a sin. Many people have grown up in
societies or religions where the rich have been vilified and associated with greed, exploitation,
power and materialism. They may have been taught that being a “good” person and wanting to
be wealthy are mutually exclusive.
As long as your mind has been programmed to believe that being financially wealthy is
somehow “bad,” then again it will unconsciously avoid or repel opportunities for you to
dramatically increase your financial standing. In order to overcome such programming, you
need to start consciously realizing that money is not inherently evil or bad. Whether money is
“good” or “evil” doesn’t depend upon money itself but in whose hands it is held and what their
Changing Core Beliefs About Money
Becoming more aware of your beliefs about money and wealth is the first necessary step for
you to positively change your financial picture. If you’ve found yourself relating to a few of the
dysfunctional beliefs about money, the good news is that you’re on the path to awareness and
can identify what has been holding you back from enjoying true prosperity. The next step is to
consciously start replacing these thoughts with more constructive ones. Here are a few core
constructive beliefs about money to at least begin the reprogramming process:
Constructive belief #1: It’s okay to be wealthy
If you want to improve your financial well- being, you must first consciously give your
permission and be at peace with doing so—otherwise, you will be fighting a continuous uphill
battle with your unconscious mind.
If you are part of a family or group that might ostracize you, should you seek to move beyond a
socioeconomic status, are you at peace with coping with the possible consequences of doing
so? Has your own conscience given you “permission” to fully pursue financial abundance
realizing that it is part of your inherent purpose to do so? Or is there still a part of you that
questions the morality of doing so? Fully adopting the belief that pursuing financial abundance
is a natural and healthy aspect to fulfilling your potential is an important step in improving your
relationship with money.
Constructive belief #2: You’re capable of accumulating wealth—it is within your control
Wealthy people tend to have what we call an internal locus of control. They believe they have
the ability to take the necessary actions to increase the level of wealth in their lives. People
from the poor or middle class tend to have more of an external locus of control which implies
that forces outside themselves— the economy, being born in the “right” family (or not), luck, or
being in the “right place at the right time” etc. are more responsible for their financial well-
being than they are.
If you really wish to improve your financial situation, you need to understand that the power to
do so is within your control. You must believe you are capable of learning the necessary skills
and knowledge to acquire wealth and you must be willing to take the necessary actions for
making things happen to increase your financial well-being. Many either don’t believe they are
capable of doing certain things (so they don’t even try) or are simply unwilling to take the actions needed to positively transform their finances.
Constructive belief #3: Developing your gifts and talents and sharing your abundance with the
world is part of your life’s purpose
The more you are able to free yourself from the trap of your ego and connect with your unique
consciousness (who you truly are), the more a sense of positive energy, growth and expansion
will flow into your life. The more connected to your unique consciousness you become, the
more you will be passionately driven to develop your talents and gifts then share them with the
Many times, financial abundance becomes a natural byproduct of doing just that. Some of the
most financially successful people in the world today have become wealthy not by chasing their
self-worth through the ego, but simply by continuously developing themselves and their talents
and gifts, and then sharing them with the world in some way, shape or form. That is the path to
true abundance. You will also notice that such people are also great philanthropists looking to
empower others as well.
Beliefs are Necessary but Not Sufficient
One you have begun to change your dysfunctional beliefs regarding money and consciously
replaced them with more constructive ones, you’ve taken a key step toward improving your
relationship with money. However, in order to make genuine enduring progress changing our
beliefs is a necessary but not sufficient step. We must infuse our beliefs with emotion. Think
about your beliefs as the tracks for a train. The locomotive will follow whatever beliefs or tracks
you lay out for it. But the fuel that actually powers the engine of the locomotive is our
In order to generate strong emotions for anything we want in our lives, we must have a true
and enduring desire for whatever we are envisioning (Hill, 2005). It is desire that fuels
our emotions. Desire is much more than simply a want we might have. Desire comes from our
deepest core, our unique consciousness. Our egos can generate plenty of wants but only our
unique consciousness can generate true desires.
It is our emotions which strengthen the pathways (tracks) along which are minds operate. It is
important to understand that you must infuse your beliefs or expectations with strong desire or
emotion and be willing to take actions consistent with your expectations in order to create the
financial reality you are seeking.
Once you have consciously engaged more constructive beliefs around money and tapped into
your true desires coming from your unique consciousness, the final step in reality creation is
taking action on a consistent basis to help manifest your goals. Every action you take, even
small steps, that are consistent with your constructive beliefs reinforce those neural networks
in your mind and help develop habits that help create a financial reality for you that is
consistent with your ideal life.
Many times when someone is trying to take action outside their comfort zone or typical
patterns, the ego will generate fear and doubt to try and sabotage such attempts at change.
This phenomenon is all the more reason it is necessary to tap into and stay connected to one’s
true passions and desires, because they helps us maintain our focus and persevere towards our
goals in spite of adversity. Without the power of our passions and true desires, the fears and
doubts of the ego all too often win and halt our manifestation process.
In addition to the power of true desire, a coach can be key to helping you work past the fears
and doubts of the ego and take the consistent action you need to create abundance in your
life. Let us now turn to an example of Tim Dingle’s work where he has helped a client
dramatically improve the relationship with money.
I often hear “Money is the root of all evil.” The accurate quotation is from the Bible, 1 Timothy 6:10: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” The key words here are
“love of money.” I used to worry about money—or the lack thereof—and fret about how I could get more.
I would work harder and look more desperately for the ultimate source of cash. Such
desperation is palpable and puts off potential clients very quickly. The more you show how
desperate you are, the more success evades you. If it’s time for some clarity, start with two
simple questions I like to ask my clients:
- Do you want more money?
- Are you really ready?
Nearly everyone I coach answers yes, yet many still have an inherent fear of money. For many
people, just asking for money, for payment or asking for what they are really worth, is tough.
You would think that most people would love to have lots of money. However, there are also
those who fear money or having too much of it. Maybe it is the reminder about King Midas that
puts these people in fear. His wish that everything he touched turn to gold was fulfilled.
However, he later found to his dismay, that even his delicious food and beloved daughter were
transformed into gold.
I usually start with clients by getting them to think about the fact that the currency we
exchange is nothing more than a piece of printed paper or plastic. The critical thing to get on
board is that money by itself has no feelings, and it doesn’t have any value at all, except the
value that’s been assigned to it. We invest it and gain it, and unfortunately sometimes lose it,
and we give it value and worth—or at least we agree to give it a certain value.
A long time ago currency was intended to represent a commodity like gold (The Gold Standard).
The whole economic picture is just an ingenious illusion which we all appear to buy into and
accept. So. if it’s an illusion that we are all involved in, what can we do? For most people, unless
you have inherited wealth, we need some financial security in our lives. Many clients are desperate to have money and crave the theoretical joy of wealth.
Uprooting Deeply Held Beliefs
Sadly, the way we’ve been programmed to attract money is probably not the best way to
satisfy that need. We have become selfish. We have learned to recognize that everything we
want in life has a price tag on it. As we get older, we start to link our worth with our hourly or
monthly salary pay. As a result, our sense of personal value gets all wrapped up in what we can
earn per hour or month. Initially, money had value because it represented what we could buy
with it. Then it took on a personality of its own. We all need money so we can pay the bills, the
mortgage and put the food on the table. The need is real (Maslow), and without adequate
finances, things can get very painful. It is almost impossible to avoid forming an emotional
attachment with that worthless printed paper and plastic.
Most people’s beliefs about money were not chosen consciously; they are a product of their
environment or experiences in their formative years. But the positive news is that you can
decide for yourself what you believe now—so choose something that serves you.
The fear of money may stem from poverty consciousness and previous experiences. It
manifests in various ways. For example, you are unwilling to ask for an appropriate exchange
(money) for your products or services. Many coaches cannot ask for their real worth. You may
have offered your stuff for free for a period, but it seems that you will never get around to
charging a fee.
The fear of money in its extreme is known as Chrometophobia or Chrematophobia, from the
Greek ‘charismata’ (money) and ‘phobos’ (fear). The ‘chrome’ in Chrometophobia may also be
related to the Greek word ‘chroma’ (colour) because of the brilliant colors of ancient coins.
Generally speaking people with very little money tend to suffer more from the fear of money.
Such people also tend to feel anxious about the little money they have which creates thinking
patterns that make them think of money as a bad object. As in the case of other phobias, the
fear of money might also originate from negative experiences, which money often brings.
Where there is money, there is greed, and this concept has been ingrained in us right since our
childhood in the form of fairy tales and stories of evil doers who harm good people for money.
A child might see parents fight and squabble over money and might grow up with negative
thinking patterns about it. These patterns are hard to change and can lead to permanent
The fear of not having enough money can lead to frustration, depression and suicide. It can
cause anyone to lose hope in the face of overwhelming fear that a financial turnaround will not
happen. The fear of not having enough to get by or to be unable to afford a certain standard of
living can cause unnecessary worry. You are constantly in a foul mood. Your ability to make a
wise decision may also diminish because there is a tendency to act out of high levels of anxiety.
While it is understandable why anyone can get anxious in a time like a recession, obsessing over
and predicting a picture of doom and gloom does not help. Adopting a more positive attitude,
on the other hand, has very powerful consequences.
One way to reduce anxiety around finances is to face your fears directly:
- What is it that keeps you up at night?
- Is that scenario likely to happen?
- Is there a way to protect yourself financially from such a scenario?
- Most important, if there were a way to mitigate those financial losses, can you adopt it now?
The fear of asking for money can create lots of emotional disruption. It puts you into a negative
state and causes stress with all its associated problems. You break out in a sweat and
experience anxiety. You have many excuses for why you should not strive harder or why right
now is not the time. You also blame the economy, your parents, your boss and everyone else
for causing you to be stuck. You have been finding life a struggle and experience difficulties
My number one reminder to clients: “It is not the conditions that determine your destiny; it is your decisions.”
I met a very talented and delightful person a few weeks ago, who is struggling with getting
started in business and having no money is the excuse. She is passionate about her work and
has spent six years training to do it. Seven years ago I started my own new project (Being
Amazing Every Day) and had to fund my way through a business start-up by bootstrapping. It
starts with a mindset change and a belief in what is possible.
It is a solvable problem for many people I see and begins with identifying their potential to
earn more. For many, the hard part is finding ways to make more money without changing jobs
or going back to school for a more advanced degree. There are many ways to maximize your
potential, earn money in unconventional ways and start multiple streams of income. It might
need you to think about your hobbies or skills, or just take massive actions to change the way
I work with many coaches to deal with their unconscious fears and have a better relationship
with money. It all starts by creating a compelling future because it’s essential to maintain the
vision and hunger necessary to keep going when things are hard. If you’re missing a compelling
future, you will not use your physiology effectively. You will not ask better questions. You will
come up with language and meanings that sabotage the future you want.
If asking for money in exchange for your products or services sends you into a panic, doing
things in small steps might help. Offer your stuff for free for a period and then gradually work
your way into accepting some payment. It is always the wrong time, the state of the economy
and the people in your sector. Working on beliefs about money is crucial for the clients I work
with; to do this, I get them to examine their beliefs that they have about money. They may
begin to realize that they have been holding on to a set of myths that do not serve them
particularly well and instead limits their capacity to reach their highest potential. I work with
clients on rewriting their money story and backing it up with more empowering beliefs.
Having Too Much
If you fear to have more, could it be that your actual concern is about not being able to handle
the excess? People with even mild Chrometophobia perceive heavy responsibilities that come
with having more money. I know that the solution can be better money management; this
includes making better decisions on investments, taxes, property, estates, audit and so on. The
thought of having to manage money creates unwelcome stress for many of my clients
(including coaches)—it is a real fear for many.
I get my more affluent clients to remember that money can be put to good use. Having excess
money can be an asset yet people fear this concept. They can channel it into charitable
organizations and foundations for the needy. They have the power to decide how best to use
Overcoming the Fear
I believe that understanding that you have the power is the most efficient way to multiply your
resources. But you also have your abilities and your motivation to stay off the poverty line. Both
can be ‘monetized’ so you can earn an income. It’s important to act now to make sure you are
rich in resources before the fear scenario becomes a possibility. Thanks to advances in
psychology and psychiatry, there is help available for Chrometophobia patients. naturally, the
first step is to acknowledge and accept the fear and seek help from professionals.
I coach that real peace of mind is possible for everyone when it comes to money. Your income
doesn’t need to radically change for you to usher in more peace and a stress-free existence.
Maybe all people need is a different strategy and a positive mindset. If you want to stop living
in fear of money, you must face what you fear and take small baby steps to start facing your
finances. Your future depends on it. Independent of the economy or our personal financial
status, a balanced perspective can go a long way toward neutralizing the emotional influence of
money. Maintaining the right mindset will not only help us get through tough financial times, it
will also help you prosper in the future.
Western society seems to propagate the dream of being rich as a primary drive. It is a
simple—albeit complicated—desire driven by the neurotransmitter glutamate (and some
dopamine) for which many wish, yet few achieve. It does seem clear though that if you think
rich, you’re much more likely to become rich. If the thought of being rich scares you or makes
you feel in any way uncomfortable, you are not going to get rich. The brain’s biochemistry
is changing the drives and rewards you have to become rich. Being rich also can mean
being content, and being content starts in your mind with other neurotransmitters like
serotonin. Remember that there always will be someone with more than you and someone
with less. A great challenge in life involves being content with what you have.
Don’t Keep Up with the Jones
It is easy in our modern consumerist society to want to keep up with the Joneses instead of
living within your means. The next time you want to purchase something new and shiny, think
about the last new and shiny item you purchased and how you now feel about it. Let’s be clear:
there is no guaranteed way to become rich. But there are things you can do to increase your
chances of accumulating wealth. These things aren’t all sexy, ride-around-in-a-convertible fun.
There is no instant dopamine reward fix. It might not seem like this is the case when you look at
extravagant displays of wealth, but many of the world’s wealthiest people are also frugal.
Billionaire Berkshire Hathaway founder Warren Buffett has lived in the same five-bedroom
house since 1958. The founder of Ikea takes the bus.
The lesson isn’t that you have to adopt a life of extreme frugality, carefully rationing out your
toilet paper. But you do need to maintain a sane relationship with money. Don’t let lifestyle
creep (when your spending grows to match your income) take over. Instead, use your money to
do some things that make you happy, invest some of it, and for goodness sake, don’t spend it
all. Rich people do not spend money on pointless things and do not make thoughtless
investments. They buy things that are true and have timeless value. Rich people spend their
money in a way that makes them more money or just keeps the balance above zero. Rich
people spend their money on things that do not lose value. A rich person does not have to
make pointless purchases to feel good about themselves—they already feel good even without
the shopping therapy.
Most people believe that a successful future means living according to the formula—”go to
school, learn well, get education, get a job, invest wisely, be lucky”—but it is really the
understanding of learning and memory modulated by neurotransmitters. The truth is that you
can be cash-poor and be amazing, happy and successful. Your viewpoint on life needs to change
by changing the reward chemicals within your brain. The rich person knows that education
alone does not guarantee success. Unfortunately, the result is often disappointing. In addition
to good education it’s necessary to learn to think by yourself rather than live by what you are
Eker, T.H. (2005). Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth. New
York, NH: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Hill, N. (2005). Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller— Now Revised and Updated for
the 21st Century. New York, NY: Penguin Group, Inc.