Because of America’s dwindling dollar, job lay offs, lower salaries, as well as the reality of continuing foreclosures, Americans, especially and the middle class, the working poor and elderly, the disabled and those whose lives are steeped in poverty, are suffering badly. Each of us has our own history about, and relationship with, money. Our personal financial condition affords each of us the opportunity to examine our attitudes about money and how we use it. The following questions will help you explore your relationship with money. Work with this assessment and make the time to write your answers. It will help you get a more complete picture of your relationship with and beliefs about money.
1. What was your family’s financial situation when you were a kid? How did you relate to friends or other relatives who had more money or less money than you?
2. How old were you when you first learned about money? What were the circumstances? Did your parents fight about money?
3. As a kid, did you have an allowance? What were the conditions of your receiving it? Did you have to do chores or was it freely given?
4. Did you work as a teenager? What did you do with the money? Were you taught how to save and manage money?
5. When was the first time you bought something? What did you buy? Was it money you earned or money someone gave to you?
6. Do you remember ever losing money? What happened as a result?
7. Did you ever steal money or lie to keep it? Do you gamble? Have you ever used other people’s money to gamble?
8. Have you caused yourself or your family financial problems because of your use or abuse of money, debit or credit cards?
9. What did you learn about money from the following events?
a) your birthday and other family members’ birthdays
b) shopping for school clothes
c) family vacations
d) the decor and comfort of your family’s home
10. If money was a “taboo” topic in your house, who made it so? Why wasn’t it OK to talk about?
11. What influence does money have in your life now? How does it influence your career, your marriage children or other significant relationships?
12. Are you afraid of money? Do you limit your ability to earn based on this fear or about those who have or don’t have it?
13. Do you carry more debt than you can afford to carry?
14. Do you pay your bills on time? If not, why?
15. Do you save money for your retirement on a regular basis, whether it’s a “small” or “large” amount, irregardless of any savings plan you may have at work?
16. Do you deprive yourself of what you can easily afford? If so, why?
17. Have you ever filed for personal bankruptcy? What did you learn from that experience?
18. Do you give money to charity?
19. Are you passing on to your kids what your family taught you about money? Why or why not?
20. When you buy gifts for others, do you purchase them based on their price tag? When you receive gifts do you value them based on their price tag?
21. Do you cheat on your taxes? If you answer in the affirmative, were you caught? What happened?
22. Do you take supplies or products from your employer because you feel entitled to take them?
23. Do you and your spouse or partner share equally in making money related decisions? Why or why not?
24. Do you and your spouse and partner have separate checking accounts? How was that decision made?
25. Do you and your spouse or partner have a will? Have you authorized someone to be your power of attorney in the event of serious health impairment? Do you have a “Living Will?”
How you handle money today does make a difference. Is there something you realize about your relationship with money that you were previously unaware of? If so, what is it? What will you do with this new understanding?