When does your “Money Type” change?
Looking at your past to see how your money patterns and behaviors developed, to identify your role models, and to discover how those patterns and behaviors are active today, you will begin to understand your relationship with money. There’s no better way to figure out where you are than to reconstruct where you’ve been. Often we’ve been traveling an interesting road, only dimly aware of the evolutionary journey that our money life is taking.
The money types (or archetypes) I’ve been writing about in this column are descriptions of behavior, and about how you stored your money memories from childhood. You are mastering these archetypes around money at any given time, and they are teaching you where you still need to heal. Spend a few minutes contemplating whether you have experienced these or other archetypes that come to mind around money: Innocent, Victim, Warrior, Martyr, Fool, Creator/Artist, Tyrant, and Magician.
There are times in your life when you’ll complete one money type and move into another as part of your ongoing journey. The transition is a time of harvesting and clearing. If you fail to recognize these transitions, you’ll keep playing the same role over and over, which can lead to a sense of futility, boredom, “stuckness”, depression, or stress.
I’m in the middle of a kitchen remodel. In the process of gutting the old cabinets and installing the new ones, I found myself taking stock of my possessions, carefully considering what to keep and what to let go. Similarly, in moving to a new money type on the journey of your money autobiography, you need to consider carefully what to bring along and what to leave behind.
Here’s an example of a client who has made huge inroads in her relationship with money; the patterns she kept and those she left behind. When I met her, in spite of her well paying job, she lived hand to mouth. She was a spender. Her lack of control resulted in $250 of overdraft fees each month… and the inability to save. She also had taxes being withheld at too high a rate from her paycheck, thinking it was better to receive a bigger refund from the IRS. This left her “short” each paycheck, unable to pay all her monthly expenses, which created the overdraft fees. This cycle left her anxious, overwhelmed, and angry – much like her mother was around money growing up. She was living in the Fool and Victim money types. The Fool overspends and isn’t willing to look at the details that contribute to the Victim’s self-sabotaging pattern. On the other hand, she’s a hard worker, consistently earns a good salary, and has a generous heart.
Together we created a budget that addressed her overspending habit and reduced her monthly expenses. She learned how to track her expenses by downloading a free tool from mint.com that’s simple and colorful to use: perfect for the Fool money type. She asked the HR Department at work to adjust her payroll tax withholdings to an amount appropriate for the IRS while not over-withholding. The increased take-home pay, new spending plan, and new tracking tool enabled her to cover her monthly expenses, eliminate all overdraft fees, and start a savings account!
In this example, she left behind the money types of Fool and Victim; the habit of “flying by the seat of her pants” (Fool) which continually sabotaged her happiness and her sense of security (Victim). She willingly and carefully moved into the Warrior and Magician money types. She put one foot in front of the other as she took action on her small but significant goals (Warrior), learning – painstakingly at times – to trust and have patience (Magician).
As the season changes from summer to fall, you may notice your energy begin to slow down, reflecting the seasonal changes of nature. This is a good time to go within and contemplate whether your current money type is complete, and if so, into which new one you will progress.