Many people struggle to talk about money, which can be a big disadvantage in business!

We asked some of our members what they remember of how money was talked about in their family as they grew up and the answers explain why we all have such a different attitude to this tricky topic!

    • If your dad was a vicar and the family had no mortgage and free access to private schooling, you’d have a very different attitude towards money to someone who grew up being told: “Don’t kick stones, we can’t afford new shoes!”
    • If your mum kept the family stable by running a school and your Dad was a gigging musician who turned up with pockets full of cash and took everyone out for treats, you might think that money was for enjoying, not for saving.
    • If your parents got your family through the ‘80s with soaring interest rates you might decide to save as much as possible and never take on debt because you didn’t ever want to be in that position.
    • If your parents made money, but constantly talked about being happier when they were poor, you might decide that accumulating wealth is pointless.
    • If you grew up being told that money was the root of all evil and rich people were greedy, you might find yourself under-pricing your services and self-sabotaging.
    • If you grew up being told that ‘you can’t take it with you’ and ‘shrouds have no pockets’, you might not bother to save anything.

But none of these beliefs are truths – they’re just things we hear growing up that help other people make sense of their world. (And begs the question, what are you passing on about your beliefs?!)

Because we don’t talk about it, we understand very little about why another person’s approach to money might be so different to ours.

So, we have this thing that’s central to our lives, that nobody shows us how to manage, that we misunderstand but don’t talk about, that’s wired to our emotions and feelings of self-worth and when we make mistakes we end up with a lot of anxiety, guilt, shame and regret. 

Not knowing how to manage our finances is totally understandable.

Dennis Harhalakis of Cambridge Money Coaching explains it this way:

We’re taught that if we don’t understand something, there must something wrong with us.
No wonder we’re in such a mess!

Just because money has numbers doesn’t mean that money discussions are numeric discussions. It’s not about maths, it’s all about emotions. How we feel affects how we spend which affects how we feel.

Money is too often tied into our feelings of self-worth.
If we have debt or no savings, if we feel guilt from earning “too much”, if we find it hard to spend money or hard to save money, this is normal.
Our brains are wired for short-term gratification. If there’s something we want, its hard to fight the feeling that the best to time have it is now. We also try and push discomfort into the future. What’s the best time to start that training programme, get on that diet, sort out those finances, chase that client for money ……? So if we’re uncomfortable facing our money issues we keep putting it off.
Add to this that finance has become very complex and all this complexity makes us anxious. The biggest stressors for humans are uncertainty and lack of control and when it comes to their finances, most people have some amount of both.

It’s possible to develop a conscious, positive relationship with money

Firstly, we all have money issues, and that’s ok.
Secondly, there is no ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way to manage money. There are things that make the future easier, behaviours that are taking us towards the person we want to be, and there are things we do that have the opposite effect and make the future more difficult. And that’s all normal.
So, if there are things about money – how you feel about it, how it makes you feel – that cause you discomfort, take a moment to reflect on where these beliefs or feelings come from. Ask yourself if they are helpful to you. Are they taking you where you want to go, or are they getting in the way. Try not to judge your own feelings – remember you probably acquired them before you understood what was happening.
This process isn’t easy – we worry about being judged by others and we judge ourselves too. It can be scary to look into things you’ve avoided for a long time. But it can be done, and it’s a lot easier if you can find someone who can hold a safe space for you while you explore your thoughts and feelings.


Dennis Harhalakis is the founder of Cambridge Money Coaching and a Certified Money Coach (CMC)®. Money Coaching deals with the unconscious patterns, beliefs and behaviours around money that we all have. Understanding these behaviours and patterns is the key to achieving true financial independence and success. Dennis is a regular speaker at schools and is particularly interested in helping parents talk to their children about money.

Find out more at