Finances: The Importance of Understanding Money Management


When we think about relationships, we often think of our relationships with other people. But, anything related to you, whether it be food, money, or your health, that is a relationship. This week is meant to help you consider your personal relationship with money and how it relates to all other relationships in your life.

First of all, I must admit that I have never had a healthy relationship with money. It has always frightened me to the point that I refuse to deal with it. Even as a teenager, when getting my first paycheck and bank account, I would have my boyfriends balance my checkbook.

Since I never had a day-to-day knowledge of what I had, I lived in fear. I could never go shopping and enjoy it for fear of my check possibly bouncing. In those days, there were no debit cards and as long as you had a check and your I.D., you could walk out with anything in the store. It would be days or weeks later before you received the bounced check with the large red letters that read, “Insufficient Funds.” The irony of it all was that I worked at a bank as a teller.

Many people like to blame their parents for their own dysfunctional relationships, especially with money. To a certain extent, they are the ones that you model your relationship with money after. In my case, my parents never wanted me to “worry” about money. Their opinion was, “She’ll have to worry about it one day so let’s give her a childhood in which she doesn’t have to 'worry' about it." The problem with that was in their desire to keep me from having to worry about money, they never taught me how to “think” about money.

In my family, Dad, who used to be one of the best stock brokers UK ever had, always handled the finances and Mother always worried about them. When you don’t know what is going on with your money, you will live in a state of worry. As a child, I never received an allowance, but was told I could have anything I wanted within reason which left me not knowing what it feels like to earn money or to save money for something special. I remember so clearly going to the check-out counter at a store and mom realizing we didn’t have the money to get something. I would always say, “Just write a check,” never realizing that without money in the bank, that check was just a piece of paper.

Needless to say, my relationship with money is still in the “Needs Improvement” stage. While I am learning, I am teaching my daughter the concept that work = money + knowledge = peace of mind. It is never too late to look in your financial mirror. It’s just like starting a diet. No one wants to get on the scale, but how will you ever know how far you’ve come if you don’t have that initial weigh in. The longer you wait to look at your finances, the worse things will be down the road. I know it is scary.

Just like starting a diet means cutting down or cutting out certain foods, having a healthy relationship with money will require cutting certain things out of your budget. The good news is that getting your financial house in order and building a healthy relationship with your money feels as good as putting on your skinny jeans. Once you are able to face your fears with money and get it under control, you will be able to buy a new pair (maybe even 2 or 3). However, the best feeling will come from teaching your children to have a healthy relationship with their money and see them financially succeed in adulthood because as comedian Mark Lowry says, “They’ll decide what nursing home you‘ll go to one day.”

How do you teach your children about money management?

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Alicia Ivey has been a part of a traveling singing and speaking group for over 25 years.  She has one daughter and has been married for over 15 years. Alicia enjoys participating in church activities, spending time with her family and freelance writing for Your little one will be the cutest kid at the playground this Spring in their new baby clothes with a matching baby headband or a stylish baby hat.

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