Money: A Love Story


I’m delighted to be part of Kate Northrup’s Money Love Stories project as part of the launch of her new book, Money: A Love Story.

Money is a taboo topic and I’ve always wondered why? Why don’t we talk about what things cost, how much we make, how we struggle to know what is enough, how to choose where to spend our resources?  I’ve always been one of those people who want to talk about money (true, I like to talk about everything: sex, bowel movements, family stuff, I find it all fascinating – weird, I know).

Here is what else I find fascinating – two other good friends have interviewed me on my money story within 7 days of me writing this –  Bari Tessler and Luna Jaffe. Pixie Campbell is doing a great thing on money, too. What I take away from that is this: we who have money (all of you reading this have more money than most of the world) are digging into our patterns and shame around it, which is one way we can save the world. Because, in case you haven’t noticed, how we live isn’t really working for the planet.

But we can’t heal our money story from a place of shame or righteousness – and that’s what I love about Kate’s book and all the women healing around money – they are Sheros of self-compassion.

It’s with tender self-compassion I tell another part of my money story today (stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 from Bari and Luna coming in October):

My money story has been – and can still be – a story of impending doom. I’m certain everything good and profitable is about to end right about… now.

My money story has had an undertone of shame and perfectionism. “You should have done better, you should have done this, you should have known better, you had so many opportunities so early on.” Shoulds suck.

My money story has been etched with filaments of fretted worry – what’s okay to spend, to give? Buying a skirt because I want it, then leaving the store clutching the bag in worry. Writing a check for $1200 for a charity and feeling sick to my stomach, no matter how many zeros were in my bank account. Booking a retreat for myself and having the same worried stomach pit feeling.

It’s been a story of righteousness, of turning away from manipulating my readers or students for the sake of personal gain (proud of that), yet also one of harshly judging others who I believe do manipulate others, cutting off work relationships and partnerships that cross that line. Judging doesn’t feel good.

My money story has also been a story of hiding, of too often not claiming what I know as a writer and teacher, then being pissed off and jealous when someone else comes along, writes and teaches about the exact same thing, and makes buckets of more money than me. Oh sweetie, so hard.

My money story is becoming a story…

MoneyALoveStoryCover…Of listening carefully and with soft trust to what I want, checking in with 50 years of previous choices, to see if the voice of want is pointing toward something true or something grasp-y. And checking in with real numbers in real bank accounts to assuage the worry pit stomach feeling.

…Of living in reality rather than a glittery new age glided fantasy.  Reality includes how much time and energy do I have, what money do I really need to earn, what does my tribe want, and what do I want to create?

…Of money detached from self-worth. Detached from blame and praise.

…Of asking “Does this have heart and meaning for me?” and acting accordingly. No more searching for the answer out there in what others are doing or even in what I have done in the past. (Okay, mostly not.)

…Of owning what I know and (so important!) giving myself the support for creating what I want to create. Not hiding and not forcing.

Finally, my money story is becoming one of being supported by a man who loves me. Not as in he takes care of me financially, not at all, but in partnership. Bob meets me where I am, sees me, and supports me in reality.

I’m so happy about where I’m moving toward when it comes to money, and Kate’s book is supporting that. I haven’t read the whole book yet but what I have read I’ve liked, a lot.

What’s your money story? What is it becoming? What do you want it to become? Do tell!




P.S.  When you order your copy of Money: A Love Story by September 24th you’ll get free access to an exclusive 2-hour online event called A Course in Having Enough. Kate will be joined by guest experts Marianne Williamson, Barbara Stanny, and Amanda Steinberg. To order the book and get all the details visit

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Susan Seale - September 10, 2013

I think my money story may be a mini-series. Sometimes a drama, sometimes a yawn. Could be a talk show if I write much more:)

What is lovely is that it IS a story and if you take this to heart we may begin to create a new one even after the age of “shouldn’t I know by now?”

Thank you for your beautiful thoughts around this. I too have purchased the book and haven’t finished but am enjoying. xo

Gwendolyn Grace - September 10, 2013

My money story is one of coming to terms of receiving and still working on the shame of having less income than I thought I “should” have made. (“Shoulds” do suck!) As a wife and mother and nurse that moved a dozen times to support a partners career growth I would quit working outside the home to get our family settled and put our home in order. I devalued my role as a mother and wife because it didn’t earn a pay check. I felt a poverty consciousness even though my husband made a good salary and considered none of it as rightfully mine. He was baffled at my frugality.I ended up ill. I now know it came from shame. Now running my own business the shame has shone up to get examined in all areas. Whew. It is brave to be alive. Love your column, Jen.

Susan Gallacher-Turner - September 10, 2013

I really feel that your money story parallels mine in many ways. I have struggled to find a new way to think about worth in terms of my work without comparison, competition and hiding. I don’t know that I’m there yet(wishing I was).

Yesterday, walking in the woods I heard a money message…”accept abundance and flow with it”. Interesting that I was finding abundance as scary as lack.

And I love that you addressed embracing partnership around money. Very important message.

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