Why nobody is born with smart money skills

Helping people to understand financial literacy can not only build confidence and wealth but also reduce the likelihood of expensive mistakes

People who say they lack smart money skills may also feel alone, ashamed and too embarrassed to ask for help. Getty
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Do you feel that everyone else was born with a financial literacy playbook and you missed out? I hear from many people who say that others seem to inherently know how to manage money but they don't.

And because everyone else seems to have smart money skills, they feel alone, ashamed and too embarrassed to ask for help.

Sometimes this is a limiting belief they have picked up somewhere in their lives.

Unfortunately, when they do ask for help, their feelings are compounded through a negative reaction from a friend, partner or siblings.

One client once told me how her friends laughed when she told them she was planning to work with me as a money coach.

They said it was a waste of money and they would show her what to do.

They didn’t show her and neither did they bring the subject up again to find out how she was doing, leaving me to wonder if any of them reflected on the impact their reaction had on their friend.

But two sessions into our work together and my client's limiting beliefs have shifted; she feels more confident in her money skills.

The removal of self-doubt, shame and anxiety are allowing her to be more confident in her job and relationships, while her overall stress levels have dropped.

It’s socially acceptable to ask for help with other every day life skills such as fitness, nutrition, cooking and even investing but why is it so shocking that people also need help with daily money management skills?

It’s not taught in schools and few people had parents who could invest the time to teach basic money concepts and skills to their children.

This can also be a minefield as some parents may have their own negative money beliefs, so it’s not always helpful or a healthy source of knowledge.

Why isn’t it more socially acceptable to ask for help in this area? Because there seems to be a belief that we all inherently know how to manage money. But like any other life skill, no one is born with the playbook. We all have to learn these skills somewhere

Lacking healthy money management skills can have a negative impact on so many parts of our lives.

It can hold us back from promotions at work if we are not comfortable, for instance, with managing a company's budge or profit and loss sheets.

It can hold us back in relationships as many fear telling their partners that they lack basic money management skills.

However, it is at its most harmful when it comes to debt.

When individuals either don’t feel confident with money or lack basic money management skills, they can find themselves in difficult financial situations.

It’s a vicious circle that can lead to — at best — money wastage through paying large amounts in interest and — at worst — levels of stress and shame that can have devastating consequences.

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Maan Ghaya Programme

I see debt at all levels of income, education, cultures, socioeconomic status, gender and lifestyles.

The cause of their spiralling debt situation is rarely recklessness, lack of self-control or greed as society would have us believe.

It’s more often a lack of understanding of the consequences of their financial choices combined with the undue influence bank employees still have over people.

If someone opens up to you about their feelings of inadequate money management skills, I urge you not to react in a way that compounds their shame and feelings of helplessness
Carol Glynn, founder of Conscious Finance Coaching

Many still believe the bank will always have their best interests at heart. But that is not always the case.

Yes, they are there to help and banks can be positive for society. But their number one goal is to make money. We should never forget that when dealing with banking institutions at any level.

When a confident, sales trained and, dare I say, manipulative bank employee calls to sell a credit card, loan, credit card loan, credit card instalment plan or conversation loan, then the individual who feels they are bad with money is an easy target.

So, if someone opens up to you about their feelings of inadequate money management skills, I urge you not to react in a way that compounds their shame and feelings of helplessness.

Have an open, inquisitive mind. Talk to them about their experiences with money. Ask them where they need help. And if you can help, do.

You never know, the conversation may not only help them, but you may also see gaps in your own knowledge.

Carol Glynn is the founder of Conscious Finance Coaching

Updated: May 20, 2022, 4:00 AM