Unlocking Money

When you become financially responsible, you take control of your money and make it work for you. If financial responsibility is absent, then money stress, fear, worry, and what I call the “money spin,” creeps into your life and grows. When you look at your current money situation, with eyes wide open, you begin to take charge of your money and your life. You can unlock what has been holding you back because you have the key.

Begin Where You Are Now

Wherever you are right now with money is where you are and that is okay. What does not work is to be in avoidance or denial about your current money situation. I know if you are having money concerns, living paycheck to paycheck, or going into debt, you may not see the light at the end of the tunnel. I understand that can feel frustrating and limiting. Yet, what is certain is if you remain in avoidance or denial, your money situation will remain tangled, lack clarity, and will cause you stress.

Mindset Matters

Your mind is powerful and the words and stories you tell yourself matter. Does your internal dialogue about money tend to lean on the negative side? For example, do any of these sound familiar?

🔒 I will always be poor.

🔒 I do not make enough money to invest.

🔒 I do not understand how money works.

🔒 Money only causes problems.

🔒 I cannot get out of debt.

🔒 I am ashamed of my financial situation.

If so, these internal messages you give yourself become reinforced by the actions you take, or do not take, with money and then your stories around money get stronger. Yet, the story you are telling yourself is just that, a story. You created the story and you can write a new one.

Writing a New Story

If I had believed the money story I was told and shown as I was growing up, I would not be financially free, as I am today. I chose to rewrite my story. At a young age, I knew deep within that lack of money meant a lack of choice in life.

I had dreams and aspirations and wanted to see the world. I knew I must figure out money and I did. It did not happen overnight, it was a gradual process. I got on the path to Financial Freedom, by taking responsibility for my money, and kept walking.

One of the best things I did on my journey to Financial Freedom was start investing at age 23. It changed the course of my life. Even though my salary was less than $25,000 at that time, I was still determined to pay myself first.

I automated my investment and had it taken out of each paycheck. In addition, when I obtained a raise, I took a portion of the money and increased my investment. I never saw the additional money and did not miss it. This simple and effective method was an essential element of my reaching Financial Freedom at a young age.

I retired from my career as a Senior Special Agent with the Department of Justice two weeks after my fiftieth birthday-the earliest possible time I was eligible to retire. As I walked out the front door, I knew I had created the freedom I was experiencing. Everyone has the power to believe in themselves and take positive actions to begin creating freedom in money matters.


How do you begin to rewrite your story, if it is not serving you? First, it starts with reframing your thoughts and your self-talk. For instance, those six negative money mindset examples above, would now look something like this:

🔑 I have much for which to be grateful. Money is not stagnant, it flows. In addition, when my mindset changes, opportunities will arise.

🔑 I can start investing a small amount of money now as money grows over time. As I earn more money, I will invest more money. Additionally, I can analyze my expenses and determine if some of the money that I spend on discretionary expenses, I could invest instead. When I invest, I am paying myself first. I am worth the investment.

🔑 Money can be understood. I am capable and smart. There are many resources for me to learn about money matters. I can start healthy money practices in my life.

🔑 Money is a neutral. Money does not cause problems, I put the positive or negative charge behind money. It is up to me to define how money shows up in my life.

🔑 I can get out of debt. Once I take the first step of fully acknowledging my debt, I can subsequently come up with a plan to pay it. If I do not know how to make a debt reduction/elimination plan, I will seek assistance from a reputable and trustworthy source.

🔑 I accept where I am now in my money journey. I will learn and expand my money knowledge and experience if I stop blaming/shaming myself. I will take a proactive positive money step today.

It is a Journey

The path to Financial Wellness and ultimately, Financial Freedom is a journey. To begin the journey you have to take the first steps. Let your brain work with you, not block you. Mindset matters. The words and stories you tell yourself impacts your life greatly. Always remember you have the keys to unlock money, they are within you.

With gratitude,

Susan Howell, The MoneyMaestra

Susan Howell
Written by: Susan Howell, The MoneyMaestra.

Even though I grew up without money, I was able to retire at 50 based on my financial practices. I worked for the Federal Government for 26 years, with 6 of those years at the IRS and 20 at the Department of Justice, which included investigating many money-related cases.

I created MoneyMaestra to share what I know and to help people get on the path to Financial Freedom.


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