We all have beliefs about money that we cling to, and when those beliefs get challenged, our reality also gets challenged. One of the fundamental, and in many ways “unspoken” beliefs about money has to do with the “socio-economic strata” that you and your family belong to.
There are places in the world where which level of society you belong to is crucial. For example, England still has the House of Lords. Other places practice less obvious but equally strident categorizing. I noticed when I lived in the South that the first question I was asked by new acquaintances was what housing development I lived in. The answer to this question told people what strata to put me in.
We like to think of ourselves as a “democratic” society, and in many ways we are. But when it comes to neighborhoods—and money—we have many levels.
There is an exceptionally strong internal compass to stay in our lane, and certainly to not rock the boat!
What if the only thing that actually kept us in our class or strata was the belief that a given strata was somehow where we belonged? Guess what? That belief is the only thing that really does keep us there, and it’s incredibly powerful. There are amazing statistics about people who win the lottery being back to the financial status they were in before winning within just a few years. Mismanagement and lack of financial acumen can be part of that, but I think it’s much more about being pushed into a money “strata” you don’t understand and aren’t sure how to fit into. These people somehow feel they don’t belong in the new place, so they find ways to sabotage themselves right back to where the came from, to where they think they “belong”. I remember once being reluctant to buy a house in a particular neighborhood. The voice inside my head said: “You’d have to get dressed and put on makeup to get the mail!” Definitely a step above my comfort zone.
Mostly, when we step outside of the norm, what comes with that stepping is a disruption of the old systems. Part of what holds many families together are common beliefs and practices around money. Many Depression Era families are proud of their ability to “keep body and soul together”. Being able to “get through the hard times” is a part of how they see and value their family. If someone in the family goes off and suddenly “makes good”, what does that say about the ones left behind? It might just say that they could have chosen differently too! And wouldn’t that be awkward? What if everyone had a choice?
In what ways does your “strata” keep you stuck, and what would you choose if you could? Have you even thought about how your clan and class keep you from pursuing new ideas? What if you could decide what you wanted, and go after it?
Shell Tain, the Untangler
If you’d like to explore the challenge of your Money Strata give me a call 503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com