The stories that compose our lives are historical, romantic, political, social, and spiritual; they are also financial.
Talking about money, even more than sex, is often embarrassing, shameful, taboo. Like our cultural inhibitions about sexuality, dissonant stories about money can obscure our path to personal awareness and growth.
The lounge is a space for guests and our daily staff huddle, which allows us to catch up and make sure everybody is supported in their projects.
Yet, humans are story-telling marvels, usually placing ourselves at the center of the narratives we spin. Buddhism teaches that we tell ourselves stories in order to make sense of our individual suffering. Joan Didion reminds us that “we tell ourselves stories in order to live.”
The kind of story many of us hope to live are heroic journeys which have a telos, meaning they are aimed at a goal. But if we don’t have rich, detailed, freely accessible information along with the will to be honest, then, like a writer using partial and inaccurate material, we may find ourselves at the center of a stagnant mystery. We believe that we can’t make progress toward our preferred end without an unvarnished assessment of where we are and what we want to achieve.
The money stories we internalize are often tired tropes, like doomed lovers in a florid romance novel. There’s the one about the woman who dates abusive men over and again? Unable to see her patterns, her inner strength, and the resources around her, she perpetuates the same heartbreaking pattern, endlessly.
Staying focused on what matters: lifelong learning and smashing the patriarchy!
It’s the same with money—the clichés are old and tired: the easy life of the girl born with a silver spoon in her mouth; the starving artist refusing to “sell out;” the man who can’t save a dollar for the future. These worn-out stories lack real substance and ultimately fail to teach us how to be our better selves.
Modernist Financial steadfastly believes we can live in abundance when we awaken to our money stories. Each person’s unique money story is the basis for education, empowerment, and independence. The story becomes the gateway to imagining the possible, clarifying a telos.
Listen to Georgia Lee Hussey’s Money Story
In our first chapter, is Georgie Lee Hussey, founder of MF, telling her own story. Wildfang, a revolutionary clothing store for badass women, has graciously permitted us to share this recording.
We hope that listening to Georgia’s story will get you thinking about your own. You have a story that only you can tell. Until you tell it, honestly and without judgment, your financial life planning can’t begin in earnest.
Office View from the Command Center.
This first assignment may be the toughest one, but don’t let yourself become discouraged. Our emotional relationship with money reaches to the heart of our being. Shadowy beliefs about our personality, race, gender, family, work are brought to the fore. Anxiety, fear, powerlessness, regret, envy and shame are probably bound up in your financial experience; which means you are a lovely, complicated human!
Remain hopeful. In the tradition of the Odyssey, every epic journey worth re-telling is full of obstacles, joy, self-delusion, sudden hope, reversals of fortune, colossal blunders, false friends and goddesses. Your story will have warts and wonders. Describe them in detail: understanding the ups and downs of your money story, and the money stories of your forbears is where the learning starts.
Consider using the below prompts to journal or start a conversation with a trusted partner or confidant. If you don’t like to write, use them as a thought exercise, create a mood board, collage, or record your own podcast. Set a timer if you need to work in stages. You don’t have to do it all at once. Write forward, don’t go back to edit. Most importantly, don’t judge. Allow yourself to unfurl by welcoming the breadth and depth of your story.
Money Story prompts
Choose one, or use them all—whatever resonates.
- As a child, my parents taught me that money…
- The first time I earned money, I felt…
- For me, talking about money is difficult when…
- In my financial life, I am most satisfied when…
In the next chapter, we will talk about how to use your new awareness to start making proactive decisions around your finances. We’ll bring you other money stories to serve as examples and guides.
In the meantime, check out the Modernist Newsletter to learn more--just in case you were wondering about the secret financial planning messages in Fleetwood Mac or Lauryn Hill.
Modernist Financial Helping creative visionaries structure their wealth around their values while advancing a feminist business model for the wealth management industry.
Believe in Plenty. Believe in Enough.