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Financial Struggles? Here’s What You Can Do

Karen McAllister January 2023

Money Thought Leader: Karen McAllister

Stella walked into my office wearing a conservative suit with a plain collared blouse and smart shoes.

“What can I do for you today?” I asked.

“I’m working a decent-paying job, contributing to a retirement fund, and renting out a property I own. And yet, I go about my daily life with dread that one day, something will happen to cause my delicate balance of working and paying the bills to collapse like a fragile house of cards.”

“What have you tried to deal with this up to now?”, I asked.

Fundamental Issue Regarding Money:

“I have taken courses, talked to financial planners, and used countless budgeting apps. But I always found myself in the same position – never feeling like I had enough money and dreading the day that I could lose everything due to unforeseen circumstances.

And yet, I couldn’t help but feel that my insecurities were all due to my own actions. Budgeting wasn’t so hard, so why couldn’t I maintain one? And so, after countless failed budgets and a lack of savings, a core belief of helplessness around money was settling in.”

“Do you think, perhaps, you might not be acknowledging a fundamental issue regarding money?”, I probed further.

“What do you mean?”, she responded.

“Perhaps, an initial exploration needs to happen before getting the financial education and before using budgeting apps. And that is asking yourself, ‘What is my relationship with money?”

Financial Struggles &The Deeply Held Beliefs Behind Them:

Stella’s financial struggles stemmed from a number of factors that influenced her beliefs and actions around her finances.

Challenges around money weighed heavily on her and travelled deep to her emotional core wounds. She pointed out how this shows up in her life. She couldn’t recall the last time she discussed her salary or amount of debt with a friend or a family member. And she felt deep shame around her feelings of insecurity and incompetency around money. 

She reflected, “It’s a wonder how I could ever find space to explore my financial issues and make any positive changes around money!”

Taking Responsibility For Your Financial Struggles:

Stella realized the importance of taking responsibility for her finances even if she didn’t cause those issues to begin with. All of these insecurities lay hidden in her life, stemming from childhood circumstances, yet they still shaped her thoughts and behaviours in the present day.

She struggled with this for years, not acknowledging the pain she experienced around money, and subsequently avoided dealing with it. It was all so overwhelming, and her need to predict and control everything in her life just couldn’t deal with the uncertainty around her finances. 

But life is full of curve balls that we can’t prepare for. Stella slowly learned that financial difficulties could happen to anyone, and she learned that it doesn’t represent her character. 

If you are suffering a lot around your relationship with money, find a money therapist who will validate your struggles and is patiently working with you as you stumble and work your way through addressing them. Find someone who holds space for you when the struggles are overwhelming and who can be your cheerleader when you make big strides in managing your fears around money. 

It’s Easier to Find Peace Around Money with Others:

The good news – as Stella’s story shows –  is that by journeying into the depths of your money conditioning, it is possible to make dramatic positive shifts to your relationship with money. In Stella’s words, “getting support to tackle this money challenges head-on was one of the best things I have ever done for myself. Today, I continue to improve my money habits, but for the first time, I don’t feel alone in this. I know I have the support and expertise of someone who understands and is looking out for my needs.”

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About the Author:

Karen has worked with over 100 clients, helping them untangle their money issues and to become more effective in their work because of it. To do this, Karen has studied financial issues extensively from both the practical, behavioral, and the emotional perspectives.

She has been certified by Deborah Price of the Money Coaching Institute as a Certified Money Coach, a Couples Money Coach, and a Business Archetype Coach. She has studied with Lynne Twist from the Soul of Money Institute for two years on Mastering your Money and Transforming your Life, including studies in Lynne’s Fundraising from the Heart program. Checkout Karen’s site TheMindfulMoneyCoach. Or, you can email Karen directly at the[email protected]. You are more than welcome to join the Money and Spirituality online course, starting Feb 19th at Noon EST for four Saturdays.