Lesson 3

Know your money history


Growing up, are your money memories mostly positive, negative, or neutral?

Dimensions of Money

Using a framework from Eileen Gallo, PhD, we all have a unique relationship to money across three different dimensions. While our relationship may exhibit all three dimensions, there should be one dimension that is your primary way of relating to money.

Identify your primary dimension and identify whether you are secure, insecure, or neutral in how you express that dimension of money {i.e., if ‘Use’, then you are either U+ (secure), U- (insecure), or U (neutral)}.

Acquisition (A)

Money is a COLLECTIBLE for us to amass (Insatiable) or for us to shun as evil (Avoidant) if we are relating to money in an insecure way.

Insatiable (A-)
Avoidant (A-)

Use (U)

Money is a TICKET solely made to use for hedonic consumption (Overspender) or a ticket for us to feel safer and more protected (Miser) if we are relating to money in an insecure way.

Overspender (U-)
Miser (U-)

Management (M)

Money is a TO-DO where we are either overly organized (Micro-manager) or overly procrastinating (Chaotic) if we are relating to money in an insecure way.

Micro-manager (M-)
Chaotic (M-)

Money Genogram

Your family has a huge influence on how your relationship with money was formed.


Add Money Dimensions to each family member (including yourself):

Money Timeline

Visual representation of the place money has had in your life and helps to see the impact of all your experiences with money has had you on your life.


  • Label vertical lines to represent five (or seven) year intervals from birth to now.
  • Beginning at left use dots to mark the most significant money experiences in your life.
  • Put the good experiences above the baseline and the painful ones below. Write a brief phrase to represent the memory.
  • When you have added all the memories draw a line connecting them in time order.


Money History Video

Activity: Money Autobiography

Download PDF Worksheet

Using your money timeline and money genogram as a guide, write a brief autobiography for your partner to read. It should help “catch them up” on the past events and family patterns that have shaped how you positively (negatively) relate to money today.


Now that we have explored how your past may have influenced your relationship to money, the next lesson will go into more depth into how you are relating to money today.

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