How has our relationship with money changed over the years?

by | Mar 18, 2024 | Financial Well-being

Have you ever considered how our relationship with money has evolved over time?


This question has been on my mind since the publication of my recent article in Revista Psychologies, which sparked intriguing conversations, even within my own family.

My Mom

My mother, now in her 60s, shared with me how the perspective on money has shifted significantly compared to her youth. Back then, money was often viewed as something to be earned through hard work, to be handled with extreme caution because the money gets the worst out of you, and to be seen as a matter of luck and fate.

My Daughter

My 13-year-old daughter expressed a different outlook. She sees money as a tool to enjoy life, enabling her to pursue experiences, acquire desired things, and support loved ones. On the other hand, not having money produces stress and fear, and makes you extra cautious and mindful when handling money.

And she told me that money is not so hard to get after all. There are plenty of opportunities out there, you just need to think them through and dare to want them.

Reflecting on these conversations, I realized how our attitudes toward money have evolved over the years, shaped by societal changes, technological advancements, economic shifts, and personal experiences.

Relationship with money –  Timeline

Here’s a brief overview of the milestones that have influenced our relationship with money:

  • Barter System to Currency: In ancient times, people used the barter system, exchanging goods and services directly. Then, the invention of currency transformed the way transactions were made, enabling more efficient trade and economic growth.


  • From Cash to Digital: With technological advancements, the use of physical cash has declined in favor of digital transactions. Credit cards, online banking, and mobile payment apps have made it easier for us to manage and access money remotely.


  • Shift in Saving and Spending Habits: Economic conditions and cultural shifts have influenced saving and spending habits. In times of economic prosperity, there tends to be more spending and less saving, while economic downturns often lead to increased saving and reduced spending.


  • Rise of Consumerism: The 20th century saw the rise of consumerism, fueled by advertising and marketing campaigns. People began to define their status and identity through material possessions, leading to increased consumption and debt.


  • Financial Education and Awareness: There’s been a growing emphasis on financial education and awareness in recent years. People are seeking knowledge about budgeting, investing, and managing debt to make informed financial decisions and secure their future.


  • Focus on Financial Well-being: Beyond just accumulating wealth, there’s a greater focus on overall financial well-being, including aspects like financial security, stability, and happiness. People are recognizing the importance of aligning their financial goals with their values and priorities.


  • Impact of Globalization: Globalization has interconnected economies and markets worldwide, with a direct impact on how we can earn, spend, and invest money. It has also led to increased competition and opportunities in the global marketplace.


After considering this, can we really be surprised that my mom, my daughter, and I each have different perspectives, attitudes, and emotions toward money?

Our relationship with money has been shaped by our unique experiences and the economic climates we’ve lived through.


Our parents and grandparents witnessed economic prosperity but also endured economic downturns. Some lived through the era of consumerism, where spending was glorified as a symbol of power and status. However, this often led to so much debt and financial stress, which became increasingly difficult to manage and overcome.


Today, there’s a growing effort to restore peace in our relationship with money. People are realizing more and more the importance of financial literacy and well-being while finding joy in their financial lives. It is not an easy task; it involves unraveling deeply ingrained behavioral, spiritual, and emotional patterns. Making stability and freedom a priority becomes essential, all while staying true to ourselves.


Each generation has its own story, habits, and lessons to impart to the next.

What valuable lessons and stories do you have about money that you want to pass on to future generations?


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