Early in my career, I sat in a room with a few hundred fellow financial planners at a large conference. The presenter asked us to participate in an exercise unlike what you may imagine occurs at a conference filled with financial nerds. Our activity was to think back to our first money-related memory and draw a small picture or icon representing that memory on a sheet of paper. Working our way up the paper, continue to add these small pictures as memories come to mind of receiving money, giving, earning, saving, or borrowing. The memories could be fond ones or difficult ones but add them nonetheless. When done, add a small “+” sign for positive memories and a “-” sign for those with negative connotations.
This exercise is interesting (if you need an arts and crafts activity for your next date night, feel free to steal this idea!), but it becomes most helpful when you share and discuss your final “mosaic” with someone else. You gain insight into your own experiences and likely find others had both similar and very different experiences from you. Ultimately we may find connections between our money mindset today and some of our earliest money memories.
However, what stood out in my mind from that conference session years ago was another statement the presenter made. When the group of financial planners in the room was asked to tally the number of positive and negative memories (using the plus and minus signs we had denoted), overwhelmingly, each had more positive than negative. The presenter said his research showed this would not be the case had the room been filled with our clients instead. More often than not, clients representing the public, in general, have more negative than positive memories.
Negative feelings and experiences about money can take many forms, small or large, minor or traumatic. That leads to apprehension, anxiety, and sometimes fear of financial topics.
This lesson leads me here as we begin National Financial Planning month. It is no coincidence we, as financial planners, share the month of October with Halloween, scary movies, and an array of frightful characters. Bridgeworth advisors are hardwired to be the unlikely heroes of what you may see as a financial horror film, and our years of experience have prepared us to battle even the most menacing money monsters. October does not have to be scary, and likewise, neither does your outlook on your financial future.
Over the month, you will see blog posts from some of Bridgeworth’s advisors on topics that may strike fear in your financial heart. No need to hide your eyes, though, as our authors will shine some much-needed light into these seemingly dark places to help provide clarity in addressing these not-so-terrifying topics head-on.
Bridgeworth Wealth Management is a Registered Investment Adviser.