About Our Guest
Dennis helps people understand how they think, feel, and behave around money. He shows them how to reduce their shame, guilt, and anxiety around their relationship with money. Dennis explains how our brains get wired around money and use this awareness to build positive financial behaviors.
We all have a relationship with money. Some of us love it, some of us are terrified of it, and some of us are just really confused by it. This week on the Chasing Happiness Podcast, we’re talking about how your relationship with money can affect the rest of your life, and how to make sure that your brain is working for you instead of against you.
Our guest this week is Dennis Harhalakis. Dennis helps people understand how they think, feel, and behave around money. He shows them how to reduce their shame, guilt, and anxiety around their relationship with money. Dennis explains how our brains get wired around money and use this awareness to build positive financial behaviors that help us achieve our goals and dreams in life!
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5 Crazy Reasons We Obsess Over Money with Dennis Harhalakis
[00:00:00] Ryan: Hey guys, Ryan DeMent from Chasing Happiness Podcast. I hope you guys are having a great day today on the podcast. We have Dennis Harhalakis and I think I got that close, but I did butcher a little bit. Dennis is a certified money coach. He’s also the founder of Cambridge money. And after 30 years in financial services, he trained as a money coach and set up Cambridge money coaching to help people understand and manage the money in their lives.
[00:00:30] Ryan: Dennis, welcoming to the show.
[00:00:31] Dennis: Ryan, thank you so much. It’s a pleasure to be here.
[00:00:35] Ryan: Thank you for coming on. So my one of my favorite topics, money and how. Work with it in our lives. We tend to have some toxic relationships. We tend to associate money with happiness. There’s a lot of things to go in there, but before we go there, can we learn a little about yourself and who you are and then we’ll jump into some money topics.
[00:00:57] Dennis: Of course. Yeah. Thanks very much. As you alluded to, I’d spent 30 years in, in financial services. I worked in different countries. I primarily worked in wealth management helping people with money. I worked in, in, in the UK, I worked in Asia and that was my introduction. I actually started working in a trading room, so I was surrounded by money for at least other people’s money for most of my life.
[00:01:24] Dennis: And then I took a career change. I came back to the UK I was looking for something to do and I started to get into financial. But I also wanted to work with financial advisors because I’d spent most of my life in financial advisory territory. And I was listening to a podcast and the lady on the podcast that just trained as a money coach.
[00:01:44] Dennis: She was a financial planner. She trained as a money coach. She was talking about our money histories were a money. History is where our money beliefs come from. And I had this realization that I’d spent the whole of my life dragging around. My father’s money, anxiety, the whole of my life and all these other anxieties, there were quite a few of them.
[00:02:05] Dennis: And I suddenly realized that this wasn’t me, but it gave me an insight into why I was that way, what was driving it. And it also gave me a path forward to going, you really need to understand this stuff. Now I realize that I was. Competent, but not financially secure, not in an emotional sense. I had anxiety actually at that point in time, I wasn’t working.
[00:02:30] Dennis: So that’s always, always struggling. I was trying to build a house. That’s always a complex process. So I had all this anxiety radiating out of me radiating into my relationship with my family, making me a difficult person to be with. I was an angry person. I was an anxious person. and I was an unhappy person and I had this realization that, that wasn’t mine.
[00:02:51] Dennis: It was my subconscious inheritance, but it wasn’t mine. It wasn’t me. And now I had a path to understanding awareness and also to change. And so that’s why I trained as a money coach that was 2018. And I’ve been on a path on the journey since. To understand my money behavior and to help other people understand their money behaviors, their money relationships.
[00:03:18] Dennis: There,
[00:03:19] Ryan: there is a lot to unravel in there. You gave us a lot to go off of and I think we could talk for hours on that just alone. Can you back up just from the, almost to the beginning, not, you said you’re carrying your father’s. Challenges around when it came to money. What were those specif.
[00:03:39] Dennis: So specifically. So my father was born in 1919. So he’s quite a, he was quite a lot older than me. And he went through his Greek origin, hence the surname, which you did very well with, by the way,
[00:03:53] Ryan: come on. I butchered it.
[00:03:54] Dennis: No, you didn’t. No. I’ve heard butchering. That’s not butchering you tickled it, you didn’t butcher it.
[00:04:00] Dennis: So he thank you. He grew up in Greece. He went through the second war, actually went through the depression. Then he went through the second world war and then the Greeks had their own civil war after that. And then he finally moved to the UK in the 1950s. So he saw a lot in his, in, in his lifetime. And I think one of the things.
[00:04:21] Dennis: Relevant in this space is that the us and the UK have never been invaded. So we’ve never lost everything. You’ve never had someone from another country, an army from another country. Come in, kick your door down, throw you out of your house and you lose everything. Most of Europe’s had that the UK hasn’t the us, hasn’t never been invaded.
[00:04:44] Dennis: And when you grow up in that atmosphere where you are on the streets, you could end up on the streets and you have a similar thing with the great depression in the us where people lost everything and all the money they put in banks as well. Banks weren’t safe. That gives you a different mentality.
[00:05:01] Dennis: There’s a scarcity mentality. There’s an anx scarcity insecurity mentality, and money’s really important to survival. We don’t waste money. We don’t waste anything actually in that. That gets communicated because that’s part of his hardwiring and that’s communi. To us as you grow up in that environment we learn everything about practically everything in our, in the first seven years of life.
[00:05:28] Dennis: Because that’s when we are absorbing things, subconsciously our brains are trying to create patterns, create models of the world to understand what’s going on. So we’ve got a little bit of information. It’s all behavioral and a very small understanding of the world and we’re building life. Belief systems, lifelong patterns, lifelong emotional connections.
[00:05:52] Dennis: And just to go a slight side note, people talk a lot about financial literacy for teens, and that’s fantastic. I’m all in favor of it, but most of what they believe about money and about money in themselves is already set by the time they’re seven. So if you really want to help people and this is what I do in another part of my work, I teach parents on.
[00:06:12] Dennis: To raise financially capable children because by the time they’re 17 or 18 and they’re going to college, if they don’t know how to budget, they’re not gonna learn in a
[00:06:22] Ryan: week’s course. And it’s amazing what we learn as kids and then expect, unfortunately from society. That we’re supposed to have all these tools necessary to survive.
[00:06:34] Ryan: And we don’t, and there’s a lot of failure here in the states. I’m speaking from the states and I won’t blanket the world. We struggle in the school system to where these I went to a public school and it didn’t teach me very much about financial literacy and being able to manage my life from that standpoint, it taught me sure to.
[00:06:58] Ryan: Pretty much come to school, go to break, go back to school, go to lunch. And though, and then go home. It really didn’t teach me to be a free thinker and understand how things work. And I think we, we have lost a lot of that in schooling. Like you said, under the age of seven, you’re really, you’re a sponge and you’re absorbing a lot of inform.
[00:07:22] Ryan: It just seems like we’re missing the boat here in the United States, for sure. And need to change a lot of that. And we’re so polarized whether it be left or right. I’m not, I don’t get into politics, but we’ve, we’re hurting our future generations to where they’re gonna struggle with even more issues with money, have toxic relationships with money and then don’t and not understand why they have these anxieties in their.
[00:07:50] Ryan: and then fall flat on their face and not know what to do.
[00:07:54] Dennis: Yeah. There’s a lot in there. I can take everything that you’ve said and just change the word us to UK. And we have exactly the same problems. We can divert into the educational system if you like, but fundamentally it doesn’t teach people how to think it doesn’t teach people how to listen and it doesn’t teach people how to learn.
[00:08:12] Dennis: Correct. So what you have there, if you look at the school. Is a conscious cognitive process information is presented to me as the child and I try and learn it, regurgitate it and manipulate it and spit it back out again. If you look at how we learn as infant. That’s not how we learn as infants. So the when a human being is born, it’s it doesn’t even know how to raise it’s not even capable of raising its head for the first three months of its life.
[00:08:42] Dennis: It is totally and utterly incapable of doing anything. Now, part of the reason for that is that if you left the baby inside the mother any longer, it would never be able to come out. So it can’t, it comes out at the very last possible moment. So evolution has given us. but it means that we’re used to what it means then is that if you look at an animal that’s born in the Serengeti or a horse, a horse can run after 30 seconds or 30 minutes. I dunno one of the two, but anyway, all their core survival skills are programmed into them. All our core survival skills as humans are learnt. So what that means is that the early learning process. Is subconscious, powerful and deeply rooted, cuz it’s a core survival process.
[00:09:27] Dennis: So the stuff that you learn subconsciously in the first seven years of your life is hardwired into you. The stuff that you learn at school is a conscious cognitive process. The stuff in the early years is a subconscious core survival type of process. And that’s why it’s so powerful. And that’s why you never even think about it, cuz it’s just sitting there in your subconscious and that’s where we learn about money.
[00:09:51] Dennis: So that’s learned from. Conscious messaging. So when people say to you I don’t know, Ryan, what would, so my father would say don’t kick stones. We don’t have enough money for shoes. What sort of things did you have growing up?
[00:10:04] Ryan: Money doesn’t grow on trees. Of course,
[00:10:07] Dennis: money doesn’t grow there.
[00:10:08] Dennis: Isn’t a magic money tree at the end of the garden there. So you’ve got messaging around money. And there’s also indirect messaging around money. If you grew up in an environment where there were clashes around money, where people had different views, where every time the bill came, people shouted, shouting and screaming, and they were slamming at doors and people leaving their house.
[00:10:27] Dennis: Then you all associate money. With conflict, with anger, with anticipation of distress and sadness. And that’s just hardwired into you. Not at the level of, like I thought about this, I’m thinking about money. No that’s because when you were growing up in that environment where you are subconscious learning processes were really powerful.
[00:10:48] Dennis: Those are the messages that you picked up. Because there’s an infant, you pick up on all the social environment, not the formal education system. And that’s so that’s, if I go back to my story, that’s my subconscious inheritance. That’s what I picked up. From my father a around money and the environment I grew up and it wasn’t just him.
[00:11:07] Dennis: My mother was also very good with money, very careful with money, we didn’t waste money. Money was guarded. They opened up bank accounts for me at a very early age. So there were, financially competent, but also grew up in environment of anxiety.
[00:11:22] Ryan: And, we can go to the opposite of that, to where you have people that grow up with.
[00:11:27] Ryan: and they have no worries in the world, but then they blow the money they have and continue just to spend a drunken sailor in port. Sure. And they don’t understand why they never have enough money and almost the same similar thing. Just, they don’t have a positive relationship with money.
[00:11:49] Ryan: Because they never really had it to work for that money in their life. It was given to them. And then there’s us on the other side that we have a scarcity in money and there’s never enough. So it’s a balancing act on both and trying to find that middle ground to build that relationship with money, but also understand how it actually comes and goes out of our lives.
[00:12:10] Ryan: And it starts up here.
[00:12:13] Dennis: It starts up here. So if you look at. The language of our money. There’s are you a spender or are you a saver, but you’ve just pointed out that the extreme behaviors sit at either end of those of that scale, the extreme. Yeah. So it’s okay to be frugal, serious money. Anxiety is bad.
[00:12:33] Dennis: It’s okay to be generous, but. Overly generous or blindly negligent is bad for you. So spender and saver are at the opposite ends, or opposite ends, but also whether where the unhealthy behavior hits sits there, isn’t a word for, we save money, put it aside and spend wisely. There isn’t a word for them.
[00:12:54] Dennis: And what that means is that we don’t associate that. If there was a word for that kind of behavior, people would say, you need to be more, whatever that word is. Instead, we have spenders. We have savers. Are you a spender? Are you saver? What was your mom? What was your dad? Were they spenders a savers?
[00:13:09] Dennis: Oh, that’s why I am. Even the language around it is polar.
[00:13:14] Ryan: so why, I’m gonna ask a deep question. We can go down to rabbit holes. Why don’t we have that language around that? Is it because of societal norms? Is it the way we’re taught? It what drives that? I’m just thinking of this now.
[00:13:26] Ryan: And it’s that’s interesting there really isn’t we’re lacking words and verbiage, to describe a, another group of
[00:13:33] Dennis: people. Yeah. So if I look at what I try and. People do is I’d like you to have conscious positive engagement with your finances. It’s a bit of a mouthful right there. Isn’t there isn’t a word for it.
[00:13:48] Dennis: So why is that? I think part of it is the taboo around money that we never talked about it and we don’t discuss it. It’s very tied into values. There’s a misleading idea that because money has numbers, therefore it’s all about maths. When in fact it’s all about emotions our brains aren’t wide for it.
[00:14:10] Dennis: We have through, the various streams of religion. Some, a very unhealthy approach to money usually, or lending money was considered. immoral for many years. Yes. We have a cultural association of lending with religious minorities, because it wasn’t allowed for, good Catholics to get involved in all of this.
[00:14:37] Dennis: There’s a very long tradition of debt and slavery. Or you association of debt. So if you go back to this will go back 5,000 years, there’s an amazing book by David grayer on debt the first 5,000 years. And when you realize that kind of lending money or borrow money It was always ended badly because you had to borrow money to to buy seeds, to plant crops.
[00:15:01] Dennis: And every five years, seven years or whatever it was, you’d lose all of that. And what did you do? You ended up either in slavery or with your kids in slavery. So it’s a long and nasty history around difficult history, I should say, around money, around debt, around wealth. And as a society we even in the us where you’ve had, you have less complicated history, at least around money and class and wealth and accumulation, even then the kind of moral norms around what we, what polite people talk about and what they don’t talk.
[00:15:36] Dennis: Still exist cuz you’ve had, so many religious, the Mayflower and all these people, they all came over with their own ideas of what was good and what was bad and what was moral and talking about money. Wasn’t that? So what’s happened over time. Is that if we look at talking about sex, for example, that used to be a taboo subject, but now by far, yeah, by far, we realize that not talking to our kids about sex, doesn’t lead to a healthy relationship with themselves with the opposite sex or anything quite the opposite. So we, it’s not just money. We haven’t talked about historically as society, sex has also been part of that and we’ve got past. We’ve got to the stage where people rather talk about their sex lives than their bank balances.
[00:16:22] Dennis: So money is the next thing. And money coaching is here to help people raise awareness of it. Because if I said to you, Ryan if you wanna get better at tennis, what would you, where would you go coach? You wanna get. A coach, right? If you wanna get better at podcasting, where do you go?
[00:16:39] Dennis: If you wanna get better at anything in your life, you find someone that can guide you and build up your confidence without judgment. And when you feel safe, . So the one thing that all of us use every single day of the year, nearly every single day, whatever it. One thing that runs through everybody’s lives, yours, mind people in Africa, wherever is money.
[00:17:04] Dennis: Why don’t we have coaches for that? We do now obviously, we, I think that’s a very recent thing.
[00:17:10] Ryan: It is a recent thing we do, but we can go down another rabbit hole and I think this will be a good place to go is why do we not use coaches? Because I had that challenge with not using coaches in the past.
[00:17:24] Ryan: I too had a toxic relationship with money. I racked up a ton of debt and didn’t know how to get out of it. So I had to find a coach that I felt safe with that allowed me to be me, but also explain to me where I was missing the boat on why I was trying to keep up with the Joneses and sure, here in the states, and it could be the same in the UK.
[00:17:47] Ryan: A lot of people out here are trying to keep up with the Joneses and they’re over buying on a lot of things and they don’t know why they’re broke and it’s, they have to finally realize sitting down that it’s their spending habits, their relationship with money and not realizing that they need to have a different set of skills when it comes to working with money.
[00:18:11] Ryan: And coaches are a great place to go. But guess. Coaches are a four letter word to most people because, oh my God, I go to a coach. Guess what’s gonna happen. I become a I grow four heads and I become this bad person because I need help. Oh my gosh. And that’s that? That’s how I felt. Sure.
[00:18:32] Dennis: And that’s a hard space to find yourself then it is,
[00:18:36] Ryan: but that is where I want to go with you is how do we overcome and how do we help people understand?
[00:18:42] Ryan: Finding the right coach is a great thing because he or she can help you get out of whatever pinch you’re in and be, and also give you the skillset to grow as a human being.
[00:18:54] Dennis: Absolutely. So let’s explore that a bit. Let me ask you a, an opener on that one. Okay. Do you know how to use a chainsaw? Yes. Oh, okay.
[00:19:05] Dennis: there’s always one somewhere. Do you know how to fix a boiler? Okay. Do you live in fear and shame around that? No, I do not. Okay, great. So no one ever showed you how you can’t do it, but you’re not racked with shame around it. No. Oh, you shouldn’t be actually, most people can’t use a chain, so I can, but most people aren’t racked with fear and shame and guilt around the chain.
[00:19:28] Dennis: So even if where I’m going with this is that yes, we get trapped because we can’t do very well, or can’t do something at all that no one ever showed us how to do. Yeah. And because it’s money was stuck because we approach it. So my clients generally come from, how do I do this to why is this so hard to what’s wrong with me?
[00:19:53] Dennis: Because guess what, when you were growing up, people would say to you, Ryan or Dennis, let’s say, why did you do that? What’s wrong with you? Why don’t you understand that? What’s wrong with. Yes. How could you think that’s what’s wrong with you? And so when we bump up against things, I don’t know why I’m this is not working.
[00:20:12] Dennis: I don’t know what the problem is. It must be me. We bump into, up against guilt and shame because once we think there’s something wrong with us, it’s the shame piece. And the shame piece means I’m gonna keep this to myself. I’m not going anywhere with it. Maybe I’ll work it out. And maybe I. I don’t know. So some of my clients, when I talk to them, it takes a while to get them in the door because they come from a dark place and I talk about it and I talk about how I’m gonna help them.
[00:20:41] Dennis: And I get where you are at, and it’s really hard. And then guess what, maybe a week later they’re feeling a little bit better. It’s ah, nevermind. I won’t cut that and then two weeks later, they’re back in the dark space and they go, oh my God, I need to do it. I need to do it. I need to.
[00:20:55] Dennis: So it is hard. So let’s tease a few things out a around why it’s hard to manage finances. Cause I think it’s really important to start with that a little bit. So the first and probably most important thing is your brain is not wired for it. Your brain, my brain and re Manor’s brain is wired for short term gratification and immediate response to danger.
[00:21:19] Dennis: If there’s something I want, when is the best time to have it Ryan now, right now. Right now, why would next week be better than having it now? Why would in 40 years time be better than having it now right now is if it’s good, I want to have it now. That’s just how we’re wired and the reason we’re wired that way is because it’s kept us alive for 200,000 years.
[00:21:42] Dennis: You. If you’re wondering, if you don’t have steady supplies of food or steady supplies of energy, which we didn’t have until about 12,000 years ago, when we started domesticating foods and plant plants, and also sorry plants and animals, and also let’s face kind of steady supplies of food.
[00:21:58] Dennis: In the way that we understand in the world is only, still a couple of hundred years old, but 12,000 years ago, you didn’t walk past an apple and go, ah, I’ll save that for later. No, you ate it. You ate it and you ate it now. Especially if it contained energy. So the two main energy sources are sugar and fat.
[00:22:16] Dennis: So you are wired to consume and store energy supplies whenever and wherever you found them. . As well as wanting the good thing now, wherever possible, we try and push the discomfort into the future, because magically that makes it less less painful. When are we gonna start that training program?
[00:22:33] Dennis: When are we gonna get on that diet? When are we gonna sort out my finances? Anywhere, but right now So that’s just our wiring. And it’s really important to understand that because you need to work with it and understand it, and also be self compassionate around it. It’s not, you’re not designed for this stuff.
[00:22:50] Dennis: You’re not designed for long term thinking or healthy eating or financial planning. Finance has got fairly complex in the last 70 years. It when your parents growing up, even when I was growing up, you went to the shops when you had the money and only when you had the money, you didn’t have very many shops and you had to make a.
[00:23:08] Dennis: and you handed over some cash and you got something back. So that process is registers in the brain as a micro loss process, but it’s, fundamentally there was friction in there. There was a limited amount of choice. There was friction in there. And right now I can say that my computer as can you and I come buy anything in the world.
[00:23:29] Dennis: And guess what? If I don’t have the money something’s gonna pop up at the end and offer me credit. So this frictionless spending frictionless credit, frictionless returns. If I don’t like it, I send it back. I order five. Cause I dunno which size is gonna fit. I’m gonna send it back so this is makes it, really hard to resist stuff.
[00:23:48] Dennis: And look at our finances. So cash has practically disappeared. We have direct debits. We have standing orders. I hardly get any bills anymore. I just get an email with something saying, here’s a link to your utility account or here’s this. And I don’t know what’s going on unless I click on the link or log into my utility account.
[00:24:06] Dennis: I don’t even know what I’m paying. I don’t know what the, whether it’s gone up 10% or, and we have fewer guys have four OHK S and 2 0 1 Ks and stored cards and credit cards and debit cards. And you’ve got. By now pay later all this stuff. And also we have to take look after ourselves the days when you’d work for 20, 30 years for a company and get a pension and shuffle off, those are gone.
[00:24:32] Dennis: So all this stuff is hard and no one’s explaining to it, to us. So this complex complexity makes it anxious. The two biggest stress you meant for humans and or mammal uncertainty and lack of control. And that pretty much applies to everyone. I. Around their finances. And as we talked about, we don’t get shown this stuff and we don’t start with a blank slate.
[00:24:54] Dennis: We have a subconscious inheritance and a belief system from other family origin where we grew up the environment we grew up and that often includes self-limiting beliefs around ourselves and around around. We grow up, we see people spending money. We don’t see people saving money. We don’t see people investing.
[00:25:13] Dennis: We just see them spending cuz that’s the visible side of it. So even if you were given some money for a piggy bank, and even if you were able to save, 20%, 10% of it, life’s a lot more complex than that. That needs to be modeled for you in your childhood. And people need to show you how to do.
[00:25:32] Dennis: And people save money, but very often they save money for a specific event. Whereas saving as a concept is really much better thought on you don’t need an excuse to save. You just need to save because we live in an uncertain world. And so when you have savings, you’ve always gotta buffer against future uncertainty and UN unless the world becomes any more certain, which it doesn’t seem to be and saving is a core life skill for protecting you against future uncertainty.
[00:26:01] Dennis: And there’s plenty of it.
[00:26:03] Ryan: So how do you help those clients that are potentially in those dark places? Do you have any type of. Of referrals cuz on my side I help people and so forth doing financial coaching through our nonprofit. And one of the things that I can tell you within five minutes.
[00:26:22] Ryan: Is that individual gonna be able to make the leap and change in their relationship with money? Typically they have something that’s a little more, as you say, darker rooted. I’m not a psychologist, never gonna play one on TV. So we have some individuals that we can refer out to those in those type of people to help them with that relationship.
[00:26:41] Ryan: Cuz sometimes it’s deeper than just what’s between your ears. It’s could be emotional. It could be physical. There’s other issues. How do you handle that on the front end with your clients when they’re in that dark space?
[00:26:55] Dennis: The money coaching process that I use starts with self-compassion and self-awareness and self forgiveness.
[00:27:02] Dennis: You, you, the reality is you didn’t make most of the choices. that took you where you are. You have to live with the consequences, but they were not conscious choices. No one consciously chooses to be in debt. No one consciously chooses to be anxious or ashamed or angry or any of those things. So these are subconscious, the.
[00:27:24] Dennis: Emotions that they pop up. They have messaging in there. They do but we are not consciously choosing it. So I start with, this is how your brain works. This is how it gets wired. This is why you are where you are. Most of that is not your conscious choice. Some of that is subconscious inheritance from your parents.
[00:27:43] Dennis: So if your parents were no good with money and you are no good with money, that’s not your fault. You have to live the consequences. I can’t, it’s not a, I don’t have a magic wand. I can’t change your financial circumstances, but I can stop your shame or help you to get past your shame and guilt so that you can engage
[00:28:03] Ryan: with it.
[00:28:05] Ryan: They really have to be engaged, but also take ownership of that. Yes. I agree. What we learn in the, what we learn in our early ages is really. It’s not our responsibility, cuz that’s what we were exposed to, but how you react to it and how you evolve as a human being with that relationship with money, you have to own, like you said, that shame and that guilt, you have to say, okay, it’s time to stop.
[00:28:30] Ryan: I’m ready to make a change. And I’ve gotta start thinking a different way and reacting or having a better relationship with money.
[00:28:38] Dennis: And so part of that is realizing that you actually have a. Yes. If you don’t understand why you keep doing something, if you don’t understand why every time you get a little bit, your head above water, all of a sudden you find yourself with, a set of unexplained purchases or a car you don’t really want, or you can’t afford.
[00:28:55] Dennis: Then let’s look at that and understand what’s driving that process. because if you don’t understand it, you can’t change it. So we go into the mechanics of it. How do you feel about yourself? How do you feel about money and how do you feel about money in yourself? The cornerstone of your relationship with anything including money, but it could be could be religion.
[00:29:15] Dennis: It could be exercise, it could be food, it could be other people. It could be work. The cornerstone of all of it is how do I feel about myself if I don’t feel worth. If I don’t feel if then my net worth and my self worth get confused or what I can show to other people get con get confused. So part of learning to take control of your finances is to realize that you can, and that you need to, as opposed to stepping back and going well, that’s just who I am.
[00:29:48] Dennis: You, you can change everything. Yeah and I get it. So if we look at the work done on the full, positive financial behaviors that build wealth and I wealth doesn’t mean like millions of dollars. Wealth is anything that I’ve saved put away and invested. It could be a hundred dollars. It could be a thousand dollars.
[00:30:07] Dennis: It could be, 10 million, that wealth creation process is based on four. Frugality is the first one, which is don’t spend everything that you earn. I know that’s really hard right now, so I’m not, there’s no judgment attached to any of it. It’s just, these are the mechanics of it. The second one is confidence.
[00:30:29] Dennis: Learn how the system works, engage with the system. Don’t pay overdraft fees. Don’t pay charges that are unnecessary. Don’t pay charges for going over your credit limit or bouncing checks or whatever else it is. Learn how the system works. Engage with it. The third one is. Responsibility, take ownership and responsibility for your financial outcomes.
[00:30:51] Dennis: Don’t blame the system don’t blame the government don’t blame the patriarchy or whatever it is, right? These are all things you can’t control. So it becomes easy to blame them. But as soon as you start blaming outside factors, you lose not only your will to change it. You also, lose the ability to do it.
[00:31:10] Dennis: It’s internal now. Very much a message about who you were growing up. If you were told you were useless and you would never achieve anything and or, there was, there’s a lot of misogyny around this. So if you were brought up saying, just find some guy who’s with money and get married to him, don’t worry about it.
[00:31:27] Dennis: You just putting yourself up and paraphrasing and here, you can see how that, or just get yourself a good job. Be a doctor, be a lawyer, be this, whatever else it is, you. You can understand how people can feel like they don’t have control, but they can have control. So work out what you can control.
[00:31:45] Dennis: Can I control inflation? No. Can I control the trade deficit? No. Can I control the price of electricity? No. What I can control is my spending. Yeah. So work out what you can control and learn to make good decisions around it.
[00:32:00] Ryan: And. Before we go to the fourth one just no. It’s okay. So that third point of the ownership I really think is critical in this process.
[00:32:10] Ryan: Me personally, and the people I help or people I interact with. There’s not a lot of ownership going on or going around nowadays. Everyone wants to blame what goes on in society for their woes. And for me, I struggle with that because that’s one of the core values I. I live by, as I create my own life, I create my own world and if I do something wrong, I have to be the first person that raised my hand and said, Hey, I messed that up or I screwed up.
[00:32:41] Ryan: I’m gonna fix it. Or I overspent on this. So now I gotta go back and make sure I take care of my finances. So I’m not in the hole to make sure I can pay my mortgage and my utility bills. This. There’s not a lot of that going around. How are you seeing, what are you seeing in your practice?
[00:32:58] Ryan: And then how do you address that?
[00:33:01] Dennis: Part of it is a self-belief issue. So some of it is so there’s, it’s really easy to get trapped in. There’ll never be enough money. I don’t care. Why should I care? That’s an easy thing to go into. And then we go back to childhood messaging. Who are you? Are you any.
[00:33:20] Dennis: When you look at childhood experiences there, there’s often a lot of negativity around people’s choices. Why did you do that? That’s just dumb. So we as adults, we forget what it’s like to be children. And when you criticize your children, when you belittle your children, even with the best will in the world, like you want them.
[00:33:41] Dennis: I’ll give you an example around financial literacy. If you give the way, the best way to teach financial literacy is to give your kids an allowance, pocket, money, whatever you want to call, it starts with maybe a few dollars a week and works up to an allowance. This is not free money. This is saying I’m not gonna buy you any sweets anymore.
[00:33:58] Dennis: I’m not gonna buy you any books anymore. I’m not gonna buy you any clothes anymore whatever you are prepared to level of responsibility you are. To hand over. Let’s just start with, I’m not gonna buy you candies anymore or ice cream anymore. Here is some money we’ve done it. This is the calculation of how much I spend on you.
[00:34:15] Dennis: Now you have ownership of that. Here’s your $5. Putting money aside for saving is a separate discussion. Now children then have this $5 oh, great. What am I gonna do with that? And they go out probably go out and blow it. Yep. What can typically happen in that situation is parents get freaked out.
[00:34:32] Dennis: They go, oh my God, they’re gonna be a Spinif for life, whatever da. So they get involved because it’s money and it’s super serious and we’re all anxious about it. Don’t waste money. You can’t do that. What were you thinking? Jesus, what’s wrong with you? So we end up then pouring a whole bunch of stuff into what should be a process.
[00:34:51] Dennis: Children learn how to make money. Last they learn what happens if you take $5 and spend it all on Monday or Sunday, and you don’t have any for a week. And they learn that process because they’re gonna have to do that for the rest of their lives. It’s a core, it’s a core thing that you need to learn, how to make $5 last a week, a hundred dollars last a month, 10,000, $10,000, whatever $5,000 last a month, whatever that number is, but what happens.
[00:35:17] Dennis: If you criticize people’s or kids spending decisions, it’s really unsafe for them, they learn the message they’re getting is you make crap decisions and that undermines their self-worth. And they always struggle with making decisions. And they’ll always struggle with self-worth and we do it with the best intent in the world, but we pour our own anxieties on our own fears into this process.
[00:35:38] Dennis: So if that’s your experience around making decisions in your. And I think all of us have had some of that at some point, oh yes. Then you’re gonna have, you’re gonna go no adulthood around. How good a decision maker am I, can I trust myself? Do I feel safe with my decision making process? Do I feel safe?
[00:35:57] Dennis: Do I make good choices? Did I buy good things or did I buy crap and was like, shouted that for it. And then guess what? In order to make myself feel better, I’m gonna need to buy something. Cause I’m gonna get a little dopamine hit for that. And I’m gonna feel good for. A minute a day or whatever it is, or even twice cuz when the Amazon parcel arrives, I’ll feel great.
[00:36:16] Dennis: And then guess what, I’ve gotta bill that I can’t pay. And I’ve got this stuff that reminds me of all of their decisions I’ve made. So this can produce a very toxic environment for people and undermines their, that belief that they can be responsible. They can take ownership and they have control.
[00:36:35] Dennis: So a lot of it comes back to childhood and a lot of it is about I’m picking that for people and going, you know what? You can do this. You were just never shown how no one gave you. Good modeling, no one supported your decision making process at an earlier age. No one showed you how you can take responsibility safely because when something’s unsafe or has been unsafe in the past for.
[00:37:00] Dennis: You run and it’s been a bad experience. You’re just gonna avoid it going forward. Yeah. That’s hardwired
[00:37:06] Ryan: and we never can get around that. Until we actually learned that we can make these changes in our lives with the right support and mechanisms in place through a coach and coaches are there for that purpose?
[00:37:19] Dennis: Yeah, you can coach yourself. You can read books. There’s a whole bunch of access to it, but it’s very ways of accessing, but it’s very hard to do it when you are on your own, because very often you don’t feel safe on your own. You need someone to create a safe space for you.
[00:37:33] Ryan: True. But the other piece that for me is I had to own.
[00:37:39] Ryan: I had to finally come to that realization that I created this. Now I’ve gotta do something about it. And then I started, putting thoughts together, reading, like you said and looking out for myself and saying, okay, here’s what’s going on in my life around money. And I started, I actually started journaling every single day about some items that were going on in my life about money.
[00:38:01] Ryan: And it allowed me to at least understand my thought process. Yeah. And then. Came to a point I wanted to hold myself accountable with goals. Yeah. And then I walked my way into, okay, now I’m accountable to some goals. Now, can I take that to another level with a coach and started doing my research on the coaches and understanding those pieces and it, that was a journey, but in itself I look back on it.
[00:38:27] Ryan: I can say one thing is I wish I did it sooner, but I didn’t. And all I can do is learn. yeah, it’s that time and that aha moment where you’re inner and you’re out or matches what you’re looking to do. And you’re ready for that change, whether it be money or anything else we’re talking about. Sure.
[00:38:44] Ryan: You’re ready for that change, but it starts with you saying I’m ready and I’m ready to own that piece of my life.
[00:38:51] Dennis: And I can see a way forward if you can’t see. And I
[00:38:54] Ryan: can see a way forward. I like that. Yes. Yeah.
[00:38:56] Dennis: You need to know that it’s possible for. To move forward and you need to know that if you are in debt, if you have no savings, if you can’t control your spending, if you can’t spend any money at all, all of that stuff is normal.
[00:39:09] Dennis: There’s nothing wrong with you. Let’s get, let’s start with that. Self-acceptance and self-compassion and then get clear on what you’re going to do to change it. Yes.
[00:39:23] Ryan: We didn’t get to number four. So you want get to number
[00:39:26] Dennis: four is the number four is the real,
[00:39:28] Ryan: sorry. It went down a rabbit hole
[00:39:29] Dennis: number. No, not at all.
[00:39:30] Dennis: There’s no rabbit holes here. Number four is oh, I lost the word for it. It’ll come to me. It basically means don’t be influenced by the spending behaviors and material possessions of other people, endless messages from the media. Around what you should buy, what you should wear, what you should drive, what you should spend, what you should invest in all of that stuff.
[00:39:53] Dennis: Social indifference. That’s the word for it. And it’s really hard because we are social hierarchical mammals. So we’re hard wired to care deeply around what other people are wearing or driving or saying. And for me, there’s a couple of pieces that I really want to share with you on this. First of all, what’s most insidious is not.
[00:40:14] Dennis: Just that. If you buy this where this drive, this you’ll be happy, rich, successful, beautiful. All those things, the message here, Ryan is that if you don’t, you’re not good enough. You’re not good enough in yourself. That’s why you need to buy this and where this would drive this, cuz you’re not good enough.
[00:40:30] Dennis: And that horrible message taps right into our deepest insecurities that we carry from childhood. When we learned that we were not. Not because there’s anything wrong with us and not because there’s anything wrong with our parents, because it’s the way the world is. And so this really bugs me because anything that undermines people and their sense of self-worth undermines their sense of locus of control, their sense of a ability to take responsibility.
[00:41:02] Dennis: And so it’s all wrong. the second thing is that is really obvious. If you step back is why is it that apparently it’s none of the things I already own that will make me happy, but somehow the very next thing I buy will tip me into a state of profound bliss. now how fundamentally flawed is that?
[00:41:26] Ryan: It’s very,
[00:41:29] Ryan: And I’m laughing because I did that. So I can relate to it and I understand all that. It’s very challenging. And to say that things make me happy anymore is crazy. It’s ludicrous. My mind cannot go there. I’m all about experiencing life, spending time with my family, spending time with my dogs, going to experience life, going out and seeing new.
[00:41:52] Ryan: But it doesn’t revolve around buying the next thing that the Joneses are buying, because that just does not work
[00:42:00] Dennis: for me. You don’t keep up with, don’t keep up with the Joneses they’re bankrupt. yeah,
[00:42:04] Ryan: they are totally bankrupt. And they’re living paycheck to paycheck and in the hole with all the inflation that we have going on, but people don’t see that in.
[00:42:14] Ryan: I, I think that can lead us into another piece here and we’ll wrap up the podcast is. Why can they not see the spending habits that they have in front of them that I should back that up. How do they not see the things that they’re buying are not creating that happiness in their lives and bringing them to the next level, to where saying I’m evolving as a human being.
[00:42:37] Ryan: It’s just creating more anxiety in the long run. It’s
[00:42:42] Dennis: very easy to fall into the trap of thinking. This didn’t make me happy, but the next one will, the next pay rise will that I need a bigger car. I need a bigger tennis route, drag it, whatever, I need a bigger newer shinier piece.
[00:42:56] Dennis: Maybe that will do it. And we get trapped into that because that’s the messaging that we get. We’ve been sold completely the wrong route to. We sold this and it’s really pervasive because if you spent your life on that ladder going, oh, maybe it’s the next one. Maybe it’s really hard to step back and go, hang on a minute.
[00:43:19] Dennis: Maybe everything I’ve been told everything. I believe everything I’ve thought is actually wrong. Maybe I’ve got it the wrong way around. There’s actually too much of this because nothing. In terms of the messaging from society and it tells you that yeah, there, of course there’s lone voices as people going, less is more, and there’s a whole bunch of stuff around that.
[00:43:42] Dennis: . But if you spent your life getting dopamine hits from something, not lasting happiness, no short term, dopamine hits, it’s really hard to do that. And you’ve got to be able to look at yourself and go, ah, actually, I could be wrong on all of this. Why is. And at that moment in time, find someone that can go, okay, it’s not your fault.
[00:44:04] Dennis: This is what the system tries to do. This is, this has been actually, very conscious gov policy by various governments in the world, so that we’re not just up against our own reptilian brains and proative brains. We’re up against a machine that is telling us that more is more and it’s all.
[00:44:22] Dennis: And it keeps us tracked in attention seeking and social status games and social hierarchy. Cause you do need money, right? I’m not here to tell you that actually just stop worrying about money and you’ll be fine. That’s just diluted that doesn’t work either. What I’m here to hopefully share with your audiences, take conscious positive control of your finances.
[00:44:44] Dennis: Or your weight or your health or whatever it is conscious positive choices. And it gets so much better when you have financial security, when you have financial stability, you are gonna feel so much better about yourself. Oh yeah. Than anything that you buy your wear or drive, create that wellbeing for you, create security for yourself, your family, understanding where you are now and where you are and going to be in the.
[00:45:14] Dennis: And get control. And you are gonna be much happier about it. That is the route to happiness, not any of this other stuff that’s undermining you and ruining the planet.
[00:45:24] Ryan: I love that. That’s a great way to wrap this up. This has been a great conversation, Dennis. So how can the listeners get a hold of you if they wanted to reach out to you and talk to you more about money coaching and
[00:45:37] Dennis: fabulous. Thank you. So you can find me at Cambridge money, coaching.uk. That’s all one word, Cambridge money, coaching.uk. Okay. There’s my website. There’s contact details. You can book a meeting with me. If you go to other sectional resources, there’s all of my podcasts that I’ve done. I’ve been on about 20 podcasts.
[00:45:54] Dennis: So if you wanna listen to other stuff that I’ve done with other interviewers or just. Get a little bit more depth on some of the topics that we talked about. It’s all in there. Please reach out. Please take ownership. Please know that my job is to create a safe space for you to talk about things that are really hard and that’s okay.
[00:46:15] Ryan: Yes. And I will also link your website in the show notes when your episode goes live. So we’ll have that out there, Dennis. Thank you for coming on the show. It’s been a great conversation and love talking about money and happiness. So we need to continue this conversation and bring you on again and go a little bit further and start digging down even deeper.
[00:46:35] Ryan: We
[00:46:35] Dennis: do. That’ll be fantastic. And thank you so much for all your sharing as well. Ron, that’s really helpful and really empowering to.
[00:46:42] Ryan: It’s fun. It’s a passion. And I enjoy this and it’s great to have guests unlike yourself that have a great approach to money. And what you’re doing is great.
[00:46:50] Ryan: You’re helping people overcome that, that obstacle they have with money. Yeah.
[00:46:55] Dennis: We gotta get this, right?
[00:46:56] Ryan: Yes, we do. And we need to have, start having the conversation. It doesn’t need to be
[00:47:00] Dennis: taboo. No, we need to have that conversation. We need to show people, we need to message people that it’s okay.
[00:47:06] Dennis: Yes. And this is how you.
[00:47:08] Ryan: Yes for sure. Thank you, sir. For coming on. Great conversation. Take care. .