Something magical happens when we dare to get real and speak the truth about money. In this intimate conversation series, Money Memoirs, I chat with people from all walks of life about their money journeys: the good, the tough, the soulful, and the nitty-gritty. We share this beloved series every year to celebrate the opening of The Art of Money, which you can read all about here. Curl up with a cuppa as we pull back the curtain … and get ready to get inspired.
Rebecca is the first Art of Money student we’re featuring in the Money Memoirs Series — and I’m so excited to include her story! She’s just such a love. I first met her as a client, student, and community member — and she quickly became a dear girlfriend. Rebecca’s such a bright, fun, aware spirit, and the deep work she’s done on her money story has really impressed me.
In this Money Memoir, Rebecca gets honest about what it was like coming from a wealthy family: the lessons, hardships, and shame she inherited, and how she’s worked through them. She also shares how money divided her parents and what she’s doing differently in her own marriage. Rebecca has a true gift for dancing with her process — and articulating its ups, downs, and gifts. Enjoy!
Rebecca’s Money Memoir
1. How would you describe your relationship with money?
My relationship with money is ever evolving, but more fluid than it ever has been in the past.
Through my money work over the last couple years, I have realized how my money patterns almost directly reflect other patterns I run into in my life. Both positive patterns and negative patterns.
By getting in deeper awareness with how I spend, save, think and feel about money I have been able to witness, learn and often redirect my path to have a more authentic, honest and productive relationship with money.
2. What are your strengths around your relationship to money? What really works for you in this area? Where do you rock with money? What are you proud of?
My willingness to look at my relationship to money head on is one of the things I’m most proud of. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
For years I avoided dealing with my “money stuff” even though it had become clear the ways that my shame, fear and guilt around money were seeping into the rest of my life. But these days I am willing to face my feelings about money. Talk about them. Acknowledge them. I am willing to reach out for support. Willing to say I am afraid….I don’t want to do this….I don’t want to feel this.
My strength has also become my ability to continue moving through the (often intense) emotions with gentleness and love. I have learned to trust that on the other side of all the pain and shame is a much more positive, real and exciting way to experience money.
3. I believe everyone has money shame. What is the Money Shame story you tell yourself? How does this show up in your life and business?
My money shame story is that I will always be a child and never actually grow up to be a participating adult in the world.
Growing up in a wealthy home, I struggled to find confidence in my ability to make my own money and felt constantly guilty for having already been given so much. I feared being seen as “spoiled” and and often downplayed any pain and suffering I was experiencing because hey…”Look at how much I have in comparison to so many. I have nothing to complain about.”
Instead I would stuff and invalidate my feelings and experiences and in turn shame myself for not having it all figured out. In my work both personally and professionally I have found that a version of this is the (often secret) shame story of many who have grown up in a wealthy family.
4. What was a really tough money experience you went through? Please share the gory details. What did you do to get yourself through this time? What did you learn from it, and what are you doing differently because of it?
Two years ago my parent’s marriage came crumbling down, mainly due to their extremely different values, beliefs and behaviors around money. It has been incredibly painful to watch two people who actually deeply love one another be torn apart by anger, resentment and years of unresolved pain. It has been terribly sad to watch as they navigate their divorce from this place.
Although my learning from this experience is still evolving, the truth about what a high-conflict part of my upbringing money was has come fully to the surface. I have gained great insight into my own internal messages and beliefs around money, many of which directly reflected those of my parents.
Being a child of a parents who had such a conflicted relationship around money motivates me to do it differently in my own marriage. It has given me courage to talk about difficult topics with my fiance and to find confidence in my voice.
Although it is not easy, I know that our communication about money is essential to the long term health of our relationship. The exciting part though….is that through our work together we have reached greater levels of trust and intimacy in our relationship!
5. Do you have a money practice? What does this look like for you? (e.g. Do you attend to your money relationship through a daily, weekly, monthly, and/or yearly practice? Do you have money dates? Do you use a bookkeeping system? Do you have a ‘budget-plan’?)
My current money practice consists of weekly dates with my Mint account as well as a monthly overview.
My fiance and I also have monthly “money dates.” Lately the dates have been predominantly focused around our wedding budget as we are getting married in November. It has been a wonderful (but not always fun) part of our engagement.
Our conversations have forced us to get even more honest with each other in expressing our needs, desires, hopes and dreams, not only around the wedding but also our future life together.
6. I believe our money relationship is never “handled”. We’re always evolving, upgrading, tweaking and expanding our money lives. What are you working on right now? What’s new for you emotionally, practically, or spiritually with money? What’s the next level for you? (e.g. Are you adding new financial support people to your team, are you learning Quickbooks for the first time, are you working on receiving in a new way?)
I am learning how to be in flow with money more and more everyday. I am also expanding my business, which has required making financial stretches and learning to trust the process.
Growing my business has also allowed me to share learning from my own money work with my clients and help them find greater intention, meaning and beauty in their life and in their home.
7. What’s the most important nugget of money wisdom that you would wish to pass on to young people? What is the Money Legacy you would wish to leave?
Shame around money affects everyone. Whether you are wealthy, poor or middle class it doesn’t matter. Shame lives in every class and we all have a money story that matters, and comes with both pain and triumph.
Money is such an integral part of our lives, our relationships and our world. It needs to be discussed, and attended to both for the practical implications it has on our lives, as well as the emotional, intellectual and spiritual ones.
Our relationship to money is so important and such an essential part of being a responsible and conscious human. Part of the money legacy I hope to leave behind is one that supports the healing and leadership of adult children of wealth.
I hold the vision both personally and in my work that this unique group of individuals will be supported in doing their money work and in turn become more impactful, inspired and authentic leaders.
As an interior life designer, Rebecca McLoughlin guides people in transition through life transformations by guiding them to create a new, more meaningful and authentic relationship with themselves and their space. Her work bridges inner and outer worlds and helps to bring them into alignment. Rebecca brings her therapeutic training, coaching expertise, and eye for design to help clients create physical, emotional and spiritual spaces within themselves and their homes that truly reflect where they are now and support where they are going.