I grew up not fully understanding what money is and how it can be used and abused.
Like all well-brought-up Chinese girls, I grew up in a home where money was never discussed. There was no need to discuss or worry about it. As a child, I had everything I ever wanted. My single Dad was always ready to indulge me.
But little did I know that Dad had serious debt and cash flow problems which he hid from us. His business failed and the stress brought a heart attack that killed him at age 49. Our comfortable life and security was shattered overnight.
Losing Dad early did not transform me into a financially responsible woman. From age 30 till my early 40s, my career was growing and I spent money as if there was no tomorrow – on fashion, food and fun. I was trying to fill an emotional void. I did not know what I wanted to do with my life, or how my money should serve me. In my head was this message: “You need to meet the love of your life. Find Mr Right and he will take care of you!”
But Mr Right didn’t show up! My 40s loomed before me and so did my mid-life crisis. I hated my stressful work (though the money was good) and I wanted a change. Reality sucked: I did not have enough savings that would allow me to make any radical changes. I needed to work.
So I did the next best thing I could think of – I became a financial adviser and learnt all about financial planning. For the next 14 years, I tried to share the importance of financial planning with my clients. I encountered another hurdle.
Some clients heeded my advice but many didn’t. I realised that they had the same avoidance response and excuses that I used to have when it came to money – “Someone else is taking care of it” or “Yikes!”
This was my Aha moment!
As I have discovered so painfully, there’s a price to be paid for denial. There’s stress brought by chronic debt and uncontrolled spending; work addiction due to fears of not earning enough and shock when when our investments fail. Sadly, when we are not aware and present with our money; we also shortchange ourselves in pursuing our dreams.
I decided to become an agent of change rather than an agent of financial products. After embarking on rigorous study for my Professional Diploma in Psychotherapy (NCP, UK) and Financial Recovery ℠ Coach training, I founded moneyfitcoach.com to guide and support professional men and women in their quest to have a more meaningful life and healthier relationship with money.