🙂 I probably should not have done that, mentioned Suze Orman and karma in one breath. It’s not exactly the word she uses.
However, karma comes in various forms. Only one of them is the type where one presumes that you’re being hounded by the Curse of the Red Traffic Light because in a previous lifetime, you mortally offended a traffic officer.
Another type altogether, and a much more practical one, is the karma we accrue in this lifetime, that comes and bites us, to paraphrase the Ark, in the butt in this life. And that, though she doesn’t call it karma, is the one Suze Orman addresses.
Something is holding you back
Why is that amazing dream holiday always just out of reach? Or that house you want to buy? Or sometimes (ladies) just that desirable pair of shoes? Or (guys) that upgrade to your graphics card? Why don’t you manage to save as much as you’d like to – or in fact anything at all?
Do these questions resonate with you? If they don’t, never mind, move to the next post. But if they do, chances are that it has something to do with your money karma.
You see someone else who does exactly what you do and is making a rip-roaring financial success while you are battling to pay the bills. Or perhaps you just don’t get that job you are fully qualified to do. There are many sociopolitical factors today that throw spanners in the average person’s working life; and there is that magic thing called inflation that equals out any kind of progress you might have thought you were making, both on earning and on saving. But somehow, that doesn’t quite account for all the hundreds of little things and dozens of larger ones that go wrong in your financial life, that don’t go wrong in your colleague’s.
Why is this? Could you actually be sabotaging your own progress?
Suze Orman takes people back to significant money memories from their childhoods. These memories, often long-forgotten before they resurface under prompting, have shaped and are still shaping our attitudes to money.
Typically, people who were stolen from at a tender age, tend to be risk-averse, clinging onto what they feel is “safe”. They might be keeping cash under the mattress because they don’t trust the bank; or they’ll park their money in a savings account because they have a fear of investing. Alternatively, and this is much worse, they might sabotage themselves professionally so that they are always on the breadline – if they don’t own it, it can’t be stolen.
The same might happen to a child who was the victim of parental divorce, especially where the abandoning parent took the lion’s share of the money and ran. This is the same as a theft; not only did the child lose a parent, but also half of its future chances on e.g. a good education (costs money) or a decent boost into the world (many parents help their children with the deposit on their first house, car etc). Not only was the loss of money profound, but it was deepened by abandonment and loss of a parent.
These events are now linked firmly in the adult’s subconscious; losing money hurts; so if I don’t own it, I can’t lose it and then I won’t get hurt.
Getting rid of that bad money karma
Let’s say this strikes a chord in you. Have you found your money-saboteur? Is this true for you, that you don’t want to risk or that you subconsciously put a crimp on your earnings so that you don’t have to lose? Sometimes even just revisiting these memories hurts intensely.
So what can you do about it?
One of the simplest and yet most powerful actions to take is to forgive the perpetrator.
Was your bicycle stolen when you were 9? Did your parent leave you when you were 21 and just in the most acute phase of needing that financial boost that instead went to your defaulting parent starting a new life? Was your start in life stolen from you like that?
Write them a letter telling them that you forgive them. You might not actually have contact with that parent by now or they may even have passed on; and of course you’ll never find the vagrant who stole your bike; but write that letter anyway. Write it manually, don’t do it on the computer. Take a pen and paper. Express to them exactly all that they stole from you when they left you: Your trust, your parental home, your start in life, your belief in marriage, and your belief in being able to save for a comfortable old age. Let them know! And then, take a deep breath, and forgive them for being human and fallible and not-so-very-noble towards their own offspring. Write to them that you forgive them.
Because you’re not doing it for them. In fact you might not even care what this letter does to them. It’s not your fight. You are simply doing it for yourself, forgiving yourself for having been betrayed, for having been robbed, and letting it all go.
It might take repeating this a few times, depending on how much anger there is locked up in you. You might even go back to being that child and shed some more tears. That is alright. But some time during the process you’ll start feeling relief. You’ll start feeling the freedom that comes with genuinely letting go.
Choose a better mantra
This is the era of the mantra. A mantra is a short but powerful affirmation you say to yourself, as often as you remember; stick it on your bathroom mirror and recite it in the morning while brushing your teeth; stick it on your steering wheel and recite it in traffic; stick it on the inside of your attache case and whisper it to yourself as you open your briefcase at the office. Mantra works on repetition; you are reprogramming your subconscious mind.
“I’m the boss of my own money” might be a good one, or “money is my friend”; or the classic “Large amounts of money are flowing towards me continually”. Pick your own. Personalize it.
Set some goals
And then, having picked and rehearsed your mantra, get your financial shop in order. Get your spreadsheets up to date; pay off your debts. And set some goals! If you don’t yet have money goals, why bother? Set some selfish goals, and some that are more practical…
“Rinse and repeat”
It could be that you fall back into old money habits. Remember, your habits have decades of practice; stands to reason they have a bit of a hold on you. If you find that you do, just restart. Find another way of letting go of the past (perhaps even the “new” past of the recent weeks); find more money memories that hurt and fix them; revisit or reformulate your mantra and set more, possibly easier goals. Because achieving goals is also addictive; try it, you’ll like it.
Hope this sheds some light for you and me on money karma. I’m sure there’s lots more.
Have a sweet week.