Financial Recovery
eBook - ePub

Financial Recovery

Developing a Healthy Relationship with Money

Karen McCall

  1. 288 pagine
  2. English
  3. ePUB (disponibile sull'app)
  4. Disponibile su iOS e Android
eBook - ePub

Financial Recovery

Developing a Healthy Relationship with Money

Karen McCall

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After healing her own unhealthy relationship with money, and transforming her financial disaster into prosperity and security, Karen McCall created a recovery program she has now used for more than twenty years to help individuals, couples, and businesses large and small. In the midst of her money troubles, she saw a need for something other than financial planners, accountants, and credit counselors. These experts could tell her what she should be doing differently, but she needed someone to help her understand the underlying causes of chronic, self-defeating overspending and credit card debt, underearning, and low or no savings. To save herself, she created practical, holistic tools that address these sources of pain and shame. McCall's program supports people as they uncover their deep-seated attitudes about money; provides simple, step-by-step tools for healing areas of physical, emotional, and spiritual deprivation; and teaches skills and strategies for experiencing lasting personal and financial fulfillment even in the midst of economic challenges and reversals.

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Understanding Your

Relationship with Money

Getting to the Root of the Problem
At the moment of commitment,
the universe conspires to assist you.
Y ou picked up this book, so chances are you’re feeling some concern or discomfort around your financial life, be it a sense of instability, chronic unmanageability, or simply a lack of knowledge about your finances. Maybe you’re worried about your future or struggling just to make it month to month. Have you been plagued with money problems for years? Are you watching your resources dwindle? Have you tried countless times to figure your way out of your financial mess, only to find yourself in it over and over again? Are your worries about money occupying more of your energy than feels comfortable? Are you keeping financial secrets, afraid of the shame you’ll feel if they’re discovered? Do you argue about money with your loved ones? Is your health, emotional well-being, or quality of life compromised by your concerns about money? Are you just sick of living on the edge?
If you answer yes to one or more of these questions — and you’re willing to commit to a process that will fundamentally change your relationship with money — you’re ready to begin your own Financial Recovery.
This process has brought transformation to my life and to the lives of those who have embraced it. You’ve likely tried many things to improve your situation and stabilize your spending or debt. People who have tried and failed in other attempts to change their money behaviors have found the practical and emotional support they need in Financial Recovery.
Many people hit rock bottom in their relationship with money before getting help. They feel desperate and unable to figure out how to change their financial circumstances. But you don’t have to wait to reverse the downward spiral and begin your process of Financial Recovery. No matter how severe your money issues are, you can reverse course and move toward a healthier relationship with money, starting today.
There came a moment for me, as there is for so many who struggle in their relationship with money, when I could no longer deny that I’d been overcome by the consequences of my financial behaviors. I realized that every attempt I’d made to fix my financial troubles and change my money behaviors had failed. Something had to change, and that something was me. I had to look at all I’d been avoiding and let go of the fantasy that I could manage things. Everything I’d been tolerating — the stress, the obsessing, the worrying, the secrecy — all became intolerable. I felt broken, isolated, alone, and ashamed. Emotionally exhausted and spiritually depleted, I had to recognize the truth. I had to let go of the illusion that I could think my way out of this problem, that I could figure it out.
Freedom comes when we reach a place of admitting that our best efforts and sincerest intentions haven’t worked to improve our financial lives. Many of us find ourselves in a troubling relationship with money, lacking the skills and tools for good money management and underestimating the emotional aspects of what may be driving our behaviors with money. This is when a freeing realization sets in: I can’t do this on my own.
If you’re someone who has struggled in your relationship with money, I’ll say to you what I say to clients: “It doesn’t ever have to be this bad again.” Your financial life can begin to improve right now, right here, with the information and ideas you’ll get from these pages. You can begin Financial Recovery right this minute.


Most people assume that not having enough money is the cause of their financial struggles. While “not enough” can sometimes be a problem, it is often not the primary problem. At the root of many, if not most, people’s ongoing financial trouble is an unhealthy relationship with money.
When I started to counsel people in the Financial Recovery process, I assumed that clients would come to me wanting simple debt repayment plans or advice on spending and saving — basically, information about money. But I discovered over time that the vast majority of my clients knew that it was not just information they needed. They wanted to understand their relationship with money and make lasting changes. People with ongoing financial challenges, cyclic patterns, and recurring money dramas usually understand that their problems with money have little to do with math — they’re about their relationship with money.
Joe and Valerie knew they had to change their relationship with money.


Joe and Valerie

Joe was a young professional. He and his wife, Valerie, came to see me shortly after the birth of their first child. Joe had been struggling for years with credit card debt. Like many of us, Joe felt ashamed. He had kept his debt a dark secret, even from those closest to him.
He had tears in his eyes as he told me his reason for coming: “When I held my baby in my arms for the first time, I realized that unless I did something different, a day would soon come when he might want a new bike or to go to a summer camp, and I wouldn’t be able to provide it. Not because I didn’t make enough money but because of the financial mess I’ve created. I have to do something.”
I assured Joe that by starting this process now and continuing the work going forward, he would be able to provide for his family. He and Valerie started working with the Financial Recovery program to address the problems of how they were relating to their money. They developed skills and practices to make it part of their lives. Joe recently called me. It had been several years since I had last seen him. He wanted to tell me all about the trip he had just taken with his son — a trip to Disneyland paid for with savings. In the past he would have used credit cards for such a trip, a practice that would compromise the future he and Valerie wanted to build for their family. It was touching to hear the sense of freedom and pride in his voice.
Joe and Valerie did not have to lose everything to become willing to change their relationship with money. For others, this realization comes only after things have gotten much worse. Some people, such as Julia, become so overwhelmed by money problems that they put their lives at risk.



Early in my practice I had a client named Julia. As Julia was driving one day, her mind was focused on the numbers she was running in her head. She added up the costs of the bills she had to pay and the things she wanted to buy — only to get confused and start the process again several times. Engrossed by the numbers, Julia didn’t realize she’d run a red light until a police officer pulled her over. This was her second ticket in the same day, and for the same reason. “I was completely out of my body,” she explained. Her preoccupation with money troubles could have killed her.
Julia spent hours obsessing over her finances. “I feel worn out from trying to figure out how to pay for everything each month,” she said during our first meeting. “I’ve tried doing budgets. I’ve tried putting money in different envelopes, that sort of thing. A couple of times in desperation I put a check in the mail unsigned so that it would have to be returned — just to buy myself some time. My brain is eaten up with bargaining, excuses, and panic. I spend my days feeling angry and ashamed. I’m exhausted.”
Stories like Julia’s and Joe and Valerie’s are fairly common among people who are struggling in their relationship with money. You might be thinking, “I can’t have a relationship with money. It’s just there. Money is just a thing,” or, “I don’t even want to think about money, much less have a relationship with it!”
For many of us, our relationship with money is similar to the one we have with our car: we don’t really want to understand what’s going on under the hood; we just want it to work and take us where we want to go without any trouble. And hey, we’re realistic. We know the car needs gas. We realize we have to put a little fuel and care into the thing, but beyond that we don’t want to hassle with it. That’s our wish with money too.
Others want money to be like Santa Claus, a benevolent force that asks nothing of us but still shows up with a bagful of goodies. We want money to appear when we want it and need it, to grant our desires, get us out of trouble, and take care of us.
I understand and have felt this way too. I once thought my trouble with money was that I simply didn’t have enough of it. That was true in my childhood and young adulthood. More would certainly fix things, I thought. I felt empty and deprived when I had nothing. Then, when I got money, I ended up spending it recklessly and still felt empty and deprived. This behavior said a lot more about my relationship with money than about how much of it I had.
It has become clear to me that absolutely everyone has a relationship with money — whether they want to or not, and whether they know it or not. The relationship may be harmonious or it may be acrimonious, distant or obsessive. It may be conscious or unconscious, supportive or abusive. Undeniably, money is part of our lives. Every time we earn money, spend it, borrow it, save it, win it, or lose it, we are relating to it, ascribing meaning to it, and deriving meaning from it. Money affects how we live, our relationships with others, our community, and the world.
The meaning we attribute to money largely determines our relationship with it and results from all our personal history, culture, and experience. If I were to interview ten people, money would likely mean completely different things to each of them: freedom, security, importance, accomplishment, self-esteem, adventure, sex appeal, and so on.
In his book The Secret Language of Money, my friend and colleague David Krueger describes our relationship with money as the “longest-running relationship in our life.”1 Even before we are born, our parents’ financial circumstances and attitudes lay the groundwork for our first experiences of the world, influencing what kind of prenatal care our mothers receive and what our resources, education, and opportunities will be as we grow. Similarly, after we die, our estate (or lack thereof) lives on. Our children will likely be influenced throughout their lives — consciously or not — by whatever we teach them, intentionally or unintentionally, about money. They may then pass on those lessons to their children, giving our relationship with money a multigenerational impact.
I’m not implying that money is the most important thing in life, and certainly it’s not more important than the people we hold dear. Interestingly, though, the healthier your relationship with money, the less likely it is that money will distract you from the things you value most. But money, and our relationship with it, is an undeniable force. Ignoring it doesn’t change that. In fact, when we choose to be ostrichlike in our relationship with our finances, hiding our heads in the sand, money exerts an even greater, and usually more negative, influence on us.
Money colors so many areas of our lives — health, education, lifestyle, career, family, self-image, political influence, and so on. Doesn’t it make sense to have as healthy a relationship with it as possible?


Anyone can have a bad romance, and even solid, healthy relationships have their rocky moments. But when someone has a long string of disastrous romances, it becomes obvious that the situation is attributable not to a particular choice but to a pattern of choices. The same is true in our relationships with money. Anyone can have a situational financial problem due to extenuating circumstances — a job loss, a failed business, a medical condition. But when money issues crop up over and over, or when the same financial predicament only grows more and more destructive, an unhealthy pattern of behavior with money exists; our financial challenges are not merely situational but reflect an ongoing patt...

Indice dei contenuti

Stili delle citazioni per Financial Recovery

APA 6 Citation

McCall, K. (2011). Financial Recovery ([edition unavailable]). New World Library. Retrieved from (Original work published 2011)

Chicago Citation

McCall, Karen. (2011) 2011. Financial Recovery. [Edition unavailable]. New World Library.

Harvard Citation

McCall, K. (2011) Financial Recovery. [edition unavailable]. New World Library. Available at: (Accessed: 14 October 2022).

MLA 7 Citation

McCall, Karen. Financial Recovery. [edition unavailable]. New World Library, 2011. Web. 14 Oct. 2022.