Healing Money Shame

Healing Money Shame - 3 Tips from a Financial Coach

Until we journey on the path of healing money shame, we will simply keep repeating the same self-sabotaging patterns with money. Money shame is a feeling of inadequacy or embarrassment about one’s financial situation. It’s not just about the amount of money you have or don’t have; it’s a complex emotional response to societal and personal expectations around money.

In this blog post, we’ll explore what money shame is, why it happens, and how to overcome it.

What is Money Shame?

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Here’s the best explanation of money shame I’ve read so far:

“What I’ve learned is that our self-destructive and self-defeating financial behaviors are not driven by our rational, logical minds. Instead, they are a product of our subconscious belief systems rooted in our childhoods, and so deeply ingrained in us that they shape the way we deal with money our entire adult lives. And so many of you are left believing that you’re crazy, or stupid, or just bad with money. This is what I call money shame…the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love or belonging based on bank accounts, or debts, or homes, or cars, or job titles. I believe we all have money shame, whether we earn $10,000 a year or $10 million, and it’s because we give money all our power.”

Tammy Lally, Get Honest About Money Shame, TedX Orlando, June 2017

So, you see, you’re not a bad person just because you’ve made mistakes with money. We all have regrets about bad financial choices we’ve made. And, you’re not a dummy if your savings is not where you want it to be.

Why Does Money Shame Happen?

According to a NerdWallet article, “The High Price of Money Shame,”

Too often, though, people feel there’s something deeply wrong with them if they struggle with their finances. They may feel they’re stupid, immoral, lazy or “bad with money,” or ruminate on what they should have done differently.

“When we make mistakes with money or things happen to us, we tend to internalize it and make it really personal,” says Lindsay Bryan-Podvin, author of The Financial Anxiety Solution. “If you’re beating yourself up, that’s a good sign that there is money shame.”

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The root of money shame often lies in societal messages about wealth and success. We’re taught that financial success is a key ingredient for a fulfilling life. When we don’t measure up to societal standards, we criticize ourselves. Women are particularly vulnerable to these messages, as they often pursue careers that pay less than men in similar roles.

Money shame can manifest in several ways. For some, it’s avoiding managing money or talking about anything related to personal finances. Others may feel guilty about spending money on themselves for fear of running out of money. People with money shame often feel like they’re hiding, which can create a sense of isolation and anxiety.

Dealing with Resistance Around Money

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When dealing with money shame, resistance will rear its ugly head. But resistance is not bad. It’s a sign that you’re growing and evolving. You’re moving in the right direction.

Instead of beating yourself up about not being great with money, or not having enough money, embrace the new belief that says



No more shame about how you are with money. You’re doing the best you can with what you know. You’re exactly who God created you to be. You’re exactly where you are supposed to be on your journey to financial wholeness.

I love this passage from Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly:

“Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, yes, I am imperfect, vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”

The practice of positive affirmations can be effective when dealing with resistance around money.

Money Mindset Affirmations

I am enough.

I have enough of what I need, including money.

I may not be perfect with money, but I’m making progress.

I am exactly where I’m supposed to be on my journey to financial wholeness.

How Do You Heal Money Shame?

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Change Your Money Mindset

Healing money shame starts with changing your mindset and beliefs about money. But first, separate your financial circumstances from your self-worth. You are not your salary, and you’re not defined by the amount of money in your bank account. Instead, try to focus on your personal values, strengths, and what makes you unique.

Talk About Money

Talk about money with people you trust and respect like a therapist, financial coach, or financial advisor. Creating a safe and open space to discuss finances can help break down the personal barriers money shame creates.

Years ago, I held workshops called, Women, Money & Manicures. They were intimate gatherings held in an upscale nail salon where a small group of women joined me for an evening of food, wine, and talk about money.

Before I presented the financial topic of the evening, we held “money circles,” giving each participant an opportunity to share her money story. These conversations gave them an opportunity to share their deepest concerns about money.

Being witnessed while giving voice to our money stories is extremely healing. By sharing your experiences and hearing from others, you not only gain new perspectives and strategies for managing your own money, but you also learn to cultivate a deeper sense of self-compassion. You realize you’re not alone.

Working as a women’s financial coach for over fifteen years, I have found that naming money shame for what it is lessons its grip on you.  

Practice Self-Compassion

Practicing self-compassion is an important aspect of a healthy money relationship. Honor your emotions and be gentle with yourself. It’s human to make money mistakes and decisions we regret later. (I know I certainly have! Read my messy money story here.) Use your money mistakes to learn and grow, rather than beating yourself up. Remember that true wealth is about finding fulfillment and happiness in all areas of life, not just money.


What all my years of financial coaching has taught me is that money shame is a complex issue, especially for professional women. The societal and personal messages we receive about money can lead to feelings of inadequacy and embarrassment, but we can write our own empowering narratives.

Changing our money mindset, talking with others we trust, and practicing self-compassion can help us overcome these challenges so we can go on to build wealth. By breaking down money shame and addressing our finances with confidence and a growth mindset, we can create fulfilling and prosperous lives; we create a future of hope and possibilities for ourselves and our loved ones.

Are you ready to create a wealthy money mindset?

Click HERE to download our wealth mindset journal!

wealth mindset journal

You may also enjoy:

5 Steps to Heal Your Relationship with Money

20 Money Affirmations to Increase Your Finances

Commanding Your Morning: The Life-Changing Power of Affirmations

20 Biblical Affirmations for Financial Success

30 Affirmations for a Healthy Relationship with Money

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    1. Hi Debra! I recently found your comment buried deep in my comments section in WordPress (so sorry I didn’t see it before!). You’ll be happy to know I have updated the article to address your questions. Enjoy!