Home - Denise Hughes Author Speaker Money Coach

Psychology and Money



Spiders are everywhere right now and cobwebs I take down one day are built in the same place the following day (those busy little spiders). Some days, I walk right into the web and get my face all twisted up trying to get the sticky web off of me. Oooooh!

Well, the truth be known, I have a similar experience with some of my thinking around money. One day, I think I got the cobwebs all cleaned up in my thinking and the next day, voila…they are there to greet me again.

Well, I’d like to stop getting caught in one particular web of my thinking about earning money. The thinking goes like this, “You got to work hard to earn money.” REALLY? Well, this is a re-occuring web cluttering up my brain and the cells of my body. My “emotional” center believes this even though my brain KNOWS it’s not true. So how do I “un-root” this belief?

A wonderful training, with Olivia Mellon, I recently did helped me up-root this belief. In my training, Olivia introduced me to “money dialogues,”  which is on page 98 of her book, Money Harmony. I thought “hmmmm,” that’s interesting. I have dialogues going on in my head all the time. Well, it is a VERY different process to actually take pen to paper and write the dialogue out…than to be mentally aware the dialogues are going on.

So, here’s to transparency with you, my reader. Just because I’m a money consultant doesn’t mean I have it all figured out. It just means I am constantly working on resolving my own money conflicts, helping others to do the same and celebrating breakthroughs!


About the belief, “You got to work hard to earn money.”


Why do you think you have to work so hard to have me?


It is what I’ve only known to be true about you. That you come through hard work and I don’t want to work harder. I am 55 and want you to come to me differently now. I want you to come effortlessly.


I am easier than you think. All you have to do is to ASK for me more. Invite me in. Get the “hard” out of your mindset. Think “FLOW” like a river NOT “HARD” like a rock. I like it better that way too.


You think you are so smart!


I am smart, so are you. I am here right at your door…now open it with ease


What you are saying doesn’t make sense to me.


No words, just a shake of his head with disapproval.


They (your parents) don’t know me like you do. You KNOW my true nature. They told you lies about me they believed were true. Let the lies go. Now you know me and we can do our own thing…our new song is “flow flow flow!” Stay open to  receiving Denise.

One of the gifts of this dialogue for me, is I’ve taken the wisdom from it and started applying it to my life. I made a vision board of “FLOW.” I am ASKING the Universe to support me in creating my new financial vision.  I am consciously bringing forth a different energy to “earning,” an energy of invitation, softness and open-ness. I FEEL this shift in my body. My nervous system has taken a deep inhale and a full exhale. You can do the same, apply the wisdom from your own money dialogue to your life if you choose. In case you wanted an abbreviated process of Olivia’s money dialogue exercise, it is below.


1. Pretend MONEY is a person. You start or have money start the conversation, whatever feels right for you. Dialogue on a specific part of your relationship. Allow what comes forth to flow and to surprise you. This conversation doesn’t have to be rational.

2. Have your mother’s voice comment on your dialogue. One sentence is good.

3. Have your father comment on your dialogue.

4. Have any other powerful influences comment on your dialogue.

5. Have God, your higher power, the Universe, or your highest self comment on the dialogue.

6. With soft non-judgemental eyes and an open warm heart, read your dialogue out loud to yourself and see if any new awarenesses come into being for you. They did for me.

Second, my business mentor, Michelle Pippin has been supporting me in moving from a “time based” model of earning to a “value based,” model of earning. This has been a BIG shift I’ve wanted to make for about three years and just didn’t know how to do it. Michelle supported me through the thinking of it as well as showed me how it could work (I needed BOTH). I am happy to say the shift is in process! In the last two months, I’ve shifted all of my new clients to a value based model. I am breathing easier. I feel great about it and it FEELS effortless! Olivia and Michelle’s support helped me to breakthrough the belief I was holding…”you got to work hard to earn money.”

See if having a money dialogue will help you to breakthrough the often conflicting internal voices many of us have in our own head. Explore the wisdom that comes forth when you invite in your highest self, the voice of God or your higher power.

OK, on to “receiving” the blessings here! Thank you Olivia! Thank you Michelle! And, thanks to me for being willing to have a breakthrough!

P.S. MONEY DIALOGUES have now been added to other tools I share with clients to uncover their money beliefs!

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We are in financially turbulent times. Turbulence is energy that stirs up the pot of life. It’s the stuff that creates drama, crisis, discomfort and fear. When things aren’t working in our financial lives, some level of turbulence is present.

Checking accounts bounce, credit card debt increases, savings accounts vaporize, worry occupies large amounts of our brain space, our thinking shifts to survival, our mind-set becomes one of “lack,”  and money just isn’t working the way we want it to in our lives. These are all signs of financial turbulence.

Long periods of turbulence aren’t good for the body, mind, spirit or bank account. So, when turbulence hits, it’s best to invite the lessons in it’s trying to bring and take action to return to a more stable, peaceful place.

The spiritual energy of turbulence is a positive force in the change process. It is the energy that blows out stagnation. It is the “breath the Universe” uses to get our attention to bring light to areas of life that aren’t working so well.

If we embrace this energy, we invite in re-newed clarity, focus and grounding. We then raise ourselves to a higher level of well-being and this is how we evolve to our highest potential through the gift of turbulence.

Most of us are experiencing some form of financial turbulence in our lives today from the aftermath of the 2008 economic downturn. Some have lost their homes and/or household income has been drastically cut from job loss or illness. Companies are requiring employees take some form of mandatory time off to make it through these challenging times.

If your job and income have not been effected, consider yourself blessed. You are still experiencing higher costs at the grocery store and gas pumps. Expenses are going up disproportionately to income coming in. This too creates financial turbulence.


Financial “Hunkering Down” Skills

In order to move through the aftermath of these financially turbulent times, we need to get back to basics. Getting back to basic means practicing “hunkering down” skills.

Examples of hunkering down skills are: reducing expenses, maximizing resources and not leveraging ourselves with debt. It means using our house for shelter and not an ATM machine. It means a return to saving money before spending money.

In our home, we are practicing hunkering down skills too. We recently revisited the difference between a “need” and a “want.” We are using the definition that a “need” is something we would still pay for when income isn’t coming in.

Our grocery bill was creeping up and we needed to shave off $250 a month. So we came up with a plan to purchase most groceries at Costco in bulk (one shopping trip a month) and to supplement with quality produce at our local market weekly. So far, it’s working. Less trips to the grocery store save us money and time! Nice!

We carry out twice a month instead of twice a week. This is a substantial cost savings of $300. Yeah!

We also re-evaluated all of our insurances with our broker to make sure our coverage is adequate and cost effective. This was a savings of over $1000 a year.

Besides consciously managing income and expenses, emotional and spiritual skill sets are needed as well to navigate rocky waters.

Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Anchoring Techniques

Anchoring techniques are really about finding ways to return to our center of calm in turbulent times.

Physical movement is an anchoring technique. Movement releases anxiety in the body and turns “on” our internal pharmacy of endorphins that make us feel better. Movement gets our blood circulating and clears out the cobwebs in our thinking. It gifts us with a more expansive perspective and better solution finding ideas.

Having a trust in an energy bigger than ourselves can help stabilize our inner chemistry. Some people believe in God, Source, a Higher Power, the Divine or their own Highest Level of Being. When I am in the middle of a crisis in my own life, I try to see the blessing and lessons from the crisis. This isn’t always easy and I sometimes don’t like the lessons. I find comfort in creating a belief system that supports me however. You can create a belief system that supports you too, even if you don’t believe in a higher life energy.

You can repeat phrases or words to yourself that comfort your heart and soul. You can say these out loud or silently to yourself. One of my favorite phrases I use as a screen saver is, “When Nothing is for Sure, Anything is Possible.” Hope anchors me. What words do you use to soothe yourself?

Mental imagery is yet another powerful anchoring technique. When a worried thought appears, discipline yourself to pop it out of your head and replace it with a soothing image of your choosing.

A final way I navigate through turbulence, is I am very aware of people, places and things in my life that energize me as well as what drains me. I am conscious of my choices today, more so than ever, on what supports and feeds me emotionally. This means that I also release and “let go” of what doesn’t work. This isn’t always easy. Sometimes, my people pleasing part gets in the way of what is really best for me.

What techniques do you use that work for you? What anchors you in financially turbulent times?

Categories: Psychology and Money | 2 COMMENTS





Debt is usually a symptom of a core issue rooted in your psychology and money management skill-set. Examples of core issues are: under-earning, impulse-spending, living in a money fog, not being able to save money, and not being on the same financial page with your partner.


Go Macro

Go Macro means, get down to the finest details of where you spend your money, what you spend it on, why you spend on what you do and compare that to how much money is coming into your checking account each month. This in itself is an eye-opening exercise. To help you get to this macro level, you might want t purchase the MoneyMinder on the Financial Tools Blog.

Uncover Financial Genetics and Psychological Blind-spots

Examine your financial genetics, your psychology! Often, we live in behavioral blind-spots and this gets us into real trouble. Your early money training may be ruling your money habits. If you feel that money is controlling you rather than you controlling your money, this is a tell tale sign you are living in a blind-spot.

Examine behaviors that keep you in debt. Examples of debt behaviors are ways you think, feel and act to support staying in debt and growing your debt. Here are some examples of psychology and debt behaviors: (1) using your credit card to purchase what you know you can’t afford and what will become a revolving balance on your account (2) telling yourself you deserve things, you work hard and you should have what you want (3) that you “can’t take your money with you when you die” (4) that saving money isn’t important because you are going to work until you die.

Identify Your True Needs

We all share four psychological needs besides the physiological need of survival. Those four psychological needs are: love and belonging, fun, freedom and power or influence in our lives. Ask yourself what psychological needs (which are internal self-esteem needs really) you are financing with your money. This is important because you will need to learn to finance these needs in a different way, with different skills rather than with your money. The reason is, money doesn’t fill the need, it only grows the “emptiness” you feel inside and empties your bank account at the same time…so you then are growing a bigger emotional and financial hole.

End Dependency Behaviors With Your Card

You have a relationship with your credit card whether you realize it or not. Most likely, your card(s) have been there for you in times of low cash flow. They’ve been your back-up in tight situations, maybe they’ve saved you from embarrassment when you’ve been out with your friends. They allowed you to live beyond your means and actually have given you the illusion that you have more to spend than you do. They’ve allowed you to purchase your wants regardless of the amount of money in your checking account.

If you think you don’t have dependency issues with your credit card, then take all of them out of your wallet and observe how you feel. See if you can live life one day at a time without your cards.

As a final thought, mind your psychology and debt behaviors and be willing to do the footwork to regain basic freedoms in your life.

Categories: Psychology and Money | 1 COMMENT




Psychology and money are deeply woven together and most people don’t understand how important this relationship is to their overall happiness.  Your financial picture is greatly influenced by your internal attitudes and beliefs (your psychology) you hold to be true about money? Most people don’t know this and live in their sub-conscious blind-spots way too long.

Do you know your intelligence has little to do with how financially successful you are? Your financial success is more determined by how well you can break through emotional blocks, limiting beliefs and patterns of behavior that distance you from your relationship with money.

The thing is…most people don’t have all that great of a relationship with money, because they project onto money negative thinking and emotional states. Negative thinking and emotions are fueled by fear. Fear causes us to avoid, neglect and procrastinate. Are you beginning to see the link between psychology and money?

Some people earn great money but can’t keep it. It’s almost as if they have a teflon coating with money. Others have a hard time earning and receiving. Some people struggle with saving money. Others spend beyond their means. Some people have chronic patterns of getting into credit card debt, getting out and then going back into credit card debt…never seeming to be able to live debt-free, even if they are high earners. These are examples of money problems fueled by one’s psychology.

Sometimes, we try to finance our internal self-esteem needs with money, which doesn’t work and only grows a deeper empty feeling inside of us. If we don’t know how to truly meet our internal human self-esteem needs (love and belonging, freedom, personal power, and fun) then we can spend enormous amounts of money trying to finance these needs. Here yet is another link between psychology and money.

Your Psychology and Money Portfolio

Your unique Psychological Portfolio is made up of your beliefs, money history, attitudes, experiences and current day behaviors you practice that help create your current money picture. Your Financial Portfolio is made up of your investment and savings account, debt balances, net-worth and earnings. Your psychology and money are linked by an invisible umbilical cord. Your psychology is the blood flow that feeds your money picture. The blood flow is made up of your money mindsets, emotions and financial habits.

Psychology and Money Questions

Ask yourself these questions in order.

  • What behaviors am I willing  to let go of in order to create the financial picture I desire?
  • Would letting go of this behavior help me to reach my full potential?
  • What support and resources do I need to reach my goal?

If you want a different financial picture, begin to examine the relationship between your psychology and money!

Categories: Psychology and Money | 1 COMMENT