Turn Your Financial Fear Into Financial Freedom

By Terri Cole   |  14Comments|

When you think about your finances, what word immediately jumps into your mind? What feeling do you get in your body? What visuals do you see? Does money have the power to constrict you?

Recent studies confirm that financial distress remains the top stressor in Americans’ lives and is the number one reason for marital discord. As a therapist in New York City for 14 years, I have learned that having money does not necessarily equate to achieving happiness. In fact, many of my more privileged clients have major issues with money that create guilt, dependency, low self-esteem and an array of other issues. Money in family relationships is never as simple as dollars and cents. It can be used to love, punish, control and reward. The financial culture in your family has informed all of your financial choices.

The first step to decoding your relationship to money is to understand your financial culture. You have a blueprint of “How It Really Is,” according to your family of origin, which was downloaded into your subconscious mind as a child. I use the term “blueprint” because your internal financial belief system is like the architectural blueprint for a house … that someone else designed. If you came from a culture of financial fear and lack, you may pinch your pennies, be wary of investing and, regardless of how much money you save, still feel there will never be enough. However, just like the architectural blueprint, you can change your mind’s framework. If you want to move from the fear of financial lack into the freedom of financial abundance, the first step is to understand your current blueprint and what you can do to change it. Answer the questions below to gain clarity.

  • What was your family culture about money?
  • Who controlled the finances?
  • Was money used as a reward?
  • Was money withheld as a punishment?
  • As a child, did you worry about money?
  • Were your basic needs met?
  • Did your parents fight about money?
  • What were you taught about money from your parents or caregivers?
  • Was there an open or closed dialogue about money in your home?
  • Did your family consider themselves wealthy, middle class or poor?

Take time to really marinate on your answers and allow yourself to dig deep and really feel what the financial climate was like growing up. Once you write down your answers, you will gain insight into your downloaded money myths.

The second step in creating a healthier relationship to money is to realize that there is no “reality” about abundance. Your parents taught you what they did and that became your reality about money. That does not make it reality or a permanent belief. Many parents pass their money fears down to children thinking they are protecting or preparing them for “the way it is.” The way it was for your parents does not have to be the way it is for you. Family systems that teach children money-management skills, a strong work ethic and concrete tools create a more abundant blueprint. Financial fear creates constriction around money. Since we are all made up of energy, feelings of constriction block your flow of abundance and cloud your ability to see potential opportunities for financial gain.

So if you don’t like what you have discovered about your inherited money blueprint, fear not. The best news is that you have the power right now to re-draw it.

Below are the first action steps for your New and Improved Money Blueprint.

Be Here Now. By creating the ability to be present in your life, you create the opening to catch the fearful thought before it gets filed in the “reality” bin. The only way to change ingrained thought patterns is to be aware enough, in the present moment, to stop and change the thought. You can achieve this through breathing exercises, daily meditation and awareness. Changing anything on purpose is almost impossible if you don’t have internal stillness and silence daily. You need to slow down enough to become the observer of your thoughts, to sort through them and figure out which are fear-based and not serving your purpose and which are opportunities for you to create the life of your dreams.

Words Have Wings. Be aware of the way you talk about money and change all of the language that is not in line with your goals. Use positive words of abundance instead of negative words of fear and scarcity. Change “We have to pay off debt” to “Our abundance flows with ease.” We create change with the words we use, the thoughts we hold in our mind and the feelings they inspire.

Manifesting Nightly Ritual. As the last thing you do before you fall asleep, take time to think about what you want to create in your financial life and conjure the feelings of having it. Then release it (don’t hold onto those feelings or begin to worry about how you’re going to become wealthy, debt-free, etc.) and doze off into la-la land.

Seeing is Believing. Create a vision and feeling board of what you want in your life. Look at the board a few times a day and engage all of your senses to create the full experience of actually having what is on the board.

Changing your mind about anything is work. The realization that you can change your mind and your fiscal lot in life is the start. This is not magical thinking, but science. New neural pathways are formed in your brain as you change your habitual thoughts, language and feelings from fear to freedom. So quiet your doubting mind, try something new and see what transpires.

There are a plethora of other factors that go into the psychology of money and abundance. If you believe that your financial dysfunction is too deep for you to negotiate on your own, find a good psychotherapist to guide you on this journey.

Whether you go it alone or hire a professional, trust me, changing your mind is the first step to transforming money fear into money freedom.

For more on living fearless and free, visit

Photo credit: Don Buciak II

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


14 responses to Turn Your Financial Fear Into Financial Freedom
  1. fabulous Teri. Amazing how much you offer in so few words. As I read through your post I thought about the times when I truly do feel abundant, regardless of finances, and how in those times money always flows in more easily.

    It’s amazing to me that given that knowing, it is still so easy for me to return to thoughts of scarcity!

    Thanks again for an insightful and helpful post.

  2. Aaaaaah!!! I l absolutely love this!!!!
    I’ve been feeling broke from the age of 16 and only realized that about a week ago. My parents were above middle class but the lack of money (or the feeling of it) was aIways a big problem causing conflicts and arguments and a lot of pain. I am now working towards financial freedom now so this post is very, very helpful!
    I’m so happy!! Thank you for this post!

  3. Great article. It’s so true that how we see money now is so embedded in culture and how we grew up and many of us never take the time to consciously create beliefs that empower us. It’s funny because we talk about money less than we talk about sex which doesn’t help undue any of these beliefs. The more people talk about and share their stories and beliefs the more freedom for everyone! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Daphne!
    Hi thanks for the comment-shifting our fear mind about anything is an on going process but the amazing fact is that- IT IS WHAT WE SAY IT IS so we might as well say, money flows with ease and grace or I am a money magnet, right?

    love love love,

  5. Hi Tami!
    What a powerful truth to realize that the “reality” of $ has much less to do with how abundant we are and much more to do with how we FELT and learned about $ from our parents!

    Now you have the key to your financial castle! Whoooo Hoooooo!!!
    love love love,

  6. This article has come at a perfect time for me. Thank you Terri!

    I have been thinking a lot lately about the lack of financial abundance in my life and getting frustrated at myself for not working hard enough. Growing up my family didn’t have much money but they used it in place of love and attention for me. I think this makes me feel resentful towards money and the things done to attain it.

    I have never thought becoming more mindful would help me overcome this but it makes a special kind of sense. Here’s to new beginnings!

  7. This article could not have come at a more perfect time for me. My car recently broke down and just got word that it will cost over $4,000 to fix. I have been pretty upset about it and complaining to my husband that we just got out of credit card debt and now we’re sunk back in and how it’s going to take us a year or more to get caught back up. He just hugs me and tells me that we’ll get through this and it’ll all be ok. Wish I could be more like him!

    I will make a point to think positively about my situation. In all reality, I am very wealthy since I have a job, food, clothing, a warm home, and abundant love. Really, what else do I need? :)

    I really enjoyed the questions about finding my blueprint. I didn’t realize how much my family’s money situation influences me even today after being on my own for years. I will definitely put more thought into this and work to change my views!

    Thanks so much for the post, Terri! :)

  8. How timely, as I’ve just figured out I don’t have to choose between my money or my mojo:

    Thanks for the additional insight!

  9. Thank you so much for all of the thoughtful comments! I am so happy this resonated with so many. The realization that YOU actually have the power to create total financial abundance is so liberating-I am doing a jig right now!(even tho you can’t see me trust me I AM!)

    As I understood and then changed my blue print, my family started to feel threatened and at one point my amazingly loving mother actually said,”Terri I think you are worshiping at false Gods with your obsession with money.” Um…really? Wow! I replied.”You know what mom, I think you believe that being poor equates to being righteous and I disagree. I will not try to take your poverty thinking away from you or judge you for it so please extend me the same courtesy!”

    Of course at the time I was crazy pissed and going off to my husband, “She knows me better than that! Does she think I want $ freedom to buy a Hummer??? Or to do good works in the world??? AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!”

    So it is normal to get some push back from your family…God love ’em!
    Stay YOUR course to financial freedom and it will come.
    love love love,

  10. I don’t know how I feel about this one actually. If you are poor and over 200,000 in debt, yet have a masters degree, but know realistically that you will never be able to pay off this debt, which in turn, makes me feel I am missing opportunities that I want to achieve in life. I don’t care if I live in a cheap cold freezer as an apt. I do however, want to give back, and still do; even though I have no money to give. I try to save….for travel. You never know when life is going to end, and unfortunately without the financial capabilities, it takes time. I would rather work to travel & help others then to own a beautiful home or have a new car. Also the little savings I have goes to needs not wants. i want to plan a trip but am fearful, what if one of my car breaks down both are over 12 years old. Any suggestions for that one.. That is what my parents always told me, to save for an emergency. I would preffer to just to plan my trip, but I lso have to pay for medical banktruptcy….help me please..what am I middin from this article?? thank you, Laura

  11. Laura-
    I understand what you are asking. I will ask you to actually do the exercise and see what comes up for you. When you start to really understand the origin of your limiting $ blueprint things will start to shift. I do not believe you will regret going on the trip. Experiences and doing things we love brings a different more expanded energy into our lives. The cars will break down anyway at some point (I have had one new car in my life and all of the rest have been used so it was always just a matter of time.) But if you take the trip and feel grateful and fulfilled, that energy will bring more of the same.

    I changed my mind and language about money in 2007 after I saw the movie The Secret. Prior I was obsessed with us'”Getting out of debt.” which continued to not happen with three kids in school etc. As I changed what i believed was possible and enrolled my husband to also get on board with using positive language and to feel the expectation that we were abundant (and we were in love and other things) our financial situation started improving and stays on that path.

    I can tell you only what I have seen in my practice and what I experienced myself, which is that when you change your mind about what is possible, those things become possible. How bout pick a date for the trip, see yourself there and have faith that the way will be provided?

    I am not suggesting that any of this is magic only that since we are all made up of energy, our feelings have energy. When my feelings were angry and frustrated about my financial situation, I continued to have that experience. When I changed that and continued to take steps towards my dreams daily-it all shifted. Yes it took time but it happened.

    I hope this helped.
    Sending you abundant light and energy! Keep me posted.
    love love love

  12. Thanks Terri, i really appreciate your feedback. I guess I need to let go of worrying about other peoples fears regading money. My husband & parents. I guess I feel angry & frustrated; let down that important people in my life are doubting me For years would save for vacation and spend it, and did not worry about it. It’s actually my husband that has the negative thinking. My plan was to go to Negril, jamaica in January. Then plans for costa rica in the fall of 2012, then Europe in 2013. I have many plans, and really don’t care that I can’t pay off my student loans. I want to live and enjoy life and travel. I have never had a new car, & don’t ever plan to get one. Seems of a waste of money to me;rather travel then ever have a new car.

    It’s hard to have doubt from the most important people in your life. Usually i will want to do it more & prove them wrong. Maybe it was just the timing of the article. My husband is stressed about finances among other things. I can’t change other people, only myself, but what do I do with the negative words from them? It hurts. Even if it was a friend or other family member it wouldn’t hurt so much. But when it’s my husband & mom……I am making baby steps in changing my lifestyle, diet everything. eating organic, buying whole food supplements, vegetarian, meditation, yoga, etc. I need to be healthy before I return to work to a physical job. Again, they doubt this too, it’s time to go back to work they say, but why? I know I am not ready. They think I am depressed, lazy…well those types of comments make me want to curl up in a ball and hide under the covers for a while. They think it’s going to give me a push, but it feels more like a punch in the face. I need kind words & support. And once again…the money & work thing.

    Sorry, I think I got off topic here. There are obviously other issues going on. but it is hard to talk about them. The only place I feel safe to talk about this is in journals, but the journal doesn’t give me feedback. Clarity for me, but need better communication from my husband. Cancer just doesn’t go away even if you had surgery. They want me to be normal again…never was normal, nor did or do want to be normal…what does that mean anyway??

    thanks for listening, Laura

  13. Laura-
    I totally hear you on all that you have written here. As a survivor I agree that even when the cancer is “removed” the trauma needs to be processed. What came to me as I was reading your letter was advice that I got from Deepak Chopra. He said, “Remember-you never have to convince anyone of anything ever.” And his words freed me and I hope they help free you as well. this is your life mama and no matter who we love it is a solitary journey. stay on your path and give yourself the love you seek and others will follow suit and if they don’t you will decide what is right for you.
    There is no normal mama just extraordinary, which you are.

    There is now and will only ever be one you Laura-Live Your Life on Your Terms and you will find your happiness and freedom cuz only you can.
    Sending you love and light

  14. As a kid we had sufficient to enjoy a decent life. However Pa wanted us to learn the value of earnin a livelihood and always put us on a budget so that we could economise the expenditure of our pocket money and fit ourselves into it without splurging. The same discipline continued even in later life when we learnt to save more so that we could help others. Granma taught us to genuinely care for the needy surreptiously and not overtly so that their dignity would remain with them. We became Santa types.I am old now and a my folks are no more and the family no longer exists but I still play Santa and have fun and trust in God. Love begets largesse