Unpacking Your Money Story

Emma Bowdler | The Women's Accountant


I’m a cheerleader for women and an accountant bursting with personality. 

We all have truths we tell ourselves, things that control our actions or influence our decisions. Often these stories originate with an experience or even just something someone said. Things like being poor at high school PE means as an adult you’re “terrible at sport” or that one time your aunt commented on your hair and you’ve been self-conscious ever since.

It’s the same with money.

We’ve all got a money story, and it plays a part in shaping how we feel about and interact with our finances – both personally and in our businesses. Remember when we were kids and we couldn’t wait to be adults? Now we are here, it’s bills, mortgages and commitments. I am a firm believer that our money stories start as kids.

Whether your family spoke about money or not, how they used it and acted about it all make an impact. Your story gets added to over time as you experience a first payday, your first debt, your first accountant and more.

Having a money story isn’t a bad thing. We’ve all got one! I want to make sure you know there is no one size fits all. Whatever your story, knowing it will help you create the story you want in your business and build a profitable business that serves you.

Emma Bowdler holding mug and phone

“Whatever your story, knowing it will help you create the story you want in your business” 


Should I go into business?

So what is your money story?

Money is emotional. We’re lying if we say it isn’t.

How do you feel when your bank account is running low? When you see the debt in your Afterpay account? What about when you make a big purchase just for you? Guilt, fear and shame are common reactions when we don’t have money (or feel we don’t), where excitement and relief are often what we feel when it’s payday.

Our money story affects these emotions and reactions. It tells us what money means to us and impacts how much we think we ‘need’. It changes how we feel about debt, what we think we should spend our money on and more. It also plays a big role in how we handle our money.

Common stories we tell ourselves about money are that ‘I’m bad with money’, ‘I won’t ever be wealthy’ or ‘I can’t save my money’. So how do you unpack and understand what your story is?

Unpacking your money story

I’ve put together a bunch of questions to help you unpack your money story. Unpacking your story is the beginning of understanding what emotions and experiences are impacting your relationship with money. Reflect on each of them (and I encourage you to write down your answers) and think about what this might mean for you now. Don’t overthink it, just jot down what comes to mind first.


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Your family and upbringing

What is your earliest memory of ‘money’ or the idea that things cost something?

How were finances handled in your family?

What were the financial expectations of you? Were they the same for your siblings?

Your thoughts on money

Do you think money is good or bad? Is it to be spent or saved?

What do you think about taking out a loan or using a credit card?

How do you feel about debt?

Your business and money

Does the amount of money you earn impact your success in business?

How do you feel about setting financial goals in your business?

How do you feel about looking at your business bank accounts/your accounting software?

Your experiences with money

What positive experience/s have you had with money? (Charging something you feel you’re worth, receiving a grant your applied for, etc.)

What negative experience/s have you had with money? (When someone told you you were bad with it, a client said you ‘charge too much’, etc.)

How did this negative experience make you feel? How did it impact your confidence?

If you were an outsider describing you/your business/your experience with money, what would you say?

How do you want to feel about money?

Should I go into Business?

Rewriting your money story

After moving through these questions you should have a good sense of what you think about money, how you feel about it and even some of why you feel this way. So what’s next? How do you reshape your money story so it serves you and the business you’re designing.

The last question, how do you WANT to feel about money, is a pinnacle one. This is a big part of building your business in a way that fills your buckets!

You can rewrite your money story how you want it, with a little bit of work. It starts with understanding where you’re coming from, acknowledging your feelings and experiences and creating new mantras or stories to keep yourself grounded.

When you’re feeling like you’re ‘bad with money’ tell yourself: ‘I’m learning to manage my money in a way that works for me.’

When you’re struggling to set big financial goals for your business, tell yourself: ‘I’m designing a path to a financially secure future for my family’.

Exploring and rewriting your money story isn’t a one time exercise or an easy task – it takes time. Be gentle with yourself and remember – you’re a badass woman forging your own path!

If you need help with direction and planning support to help you reach your goals, contact us.


I’m a cheerleader for women and an accountant bursting with personality. 

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