(noun, etymology Dutch from ‘boedel’: estate, possession, inheritance, stock.). 1. Crowd, pack, lot, as in ‘the whole boodle.’ 2. a. Counterfeit money b. Money acquired or spent illegally or improperly, particularly when used in bribery for political purposes. 3. Slang for money in general.

Write your money autobiography. Try to answer all the questions that are relevant in each set of questions or at least one question in that set.

1. Spend five minutes writing everything that comes to mind about memories, feelings, ideas and attitudes surrounding money during your childhood.

2. What messages did you hear from your parents? How did your family talk about money? Were there frequent discussions about money? Did your parents argue over money or avoid speaking about it? How much emphasis did your parents place on financial success? Have you fulfilled their expectations around money and success? Has your relationship with your parents been affected by money?

3. What was your mother like with money? How did your father address money? How did they differ? Was one parent’s method for handling money favored over another?

4. Did you have many toys and/or expensive toys? How did you treat them? Were they hand-me-downs? What happened during birthdays or holidays? Did you ask for money for daily activities, clothes or special occasions? What was the response? How were vacations handled?

5. What were your family’s financial circumstances compared with others? Did you feel rich, poor, or that you were just getting by? How did you feel toward your friends and their financial circumstances? If you were wealthier, did you try to hide it or share it? If poorer, did you envy other, better off friends or think they were different due to their money?

6. Did another family member besides your parents or your cultural heritage dominate or impact your money perspective?

7. What hobbies or activities, such as sports, did you do? What talents did you have? What recognition did you get? What happened when you were sick? Were you given an allowance? Were you paid to attain things such as good grades at school, or to complete chores, etc.? When were you allowed to purchase things on your own? What did you buy with the money you had? Did you ever get punished for what you bought? Did you save any money? Did you steal anything? Did you borrow money or have money borrowed from you and how did that make you feel? Did you have to negotiate to get money? Were there any addictions that you came into close contact with, such as alcoholism, work addiction or eating disorders?

8. As an adolescent: Did you work? Were you given a credit card? Were you instructed on the how and why of saving money? Did you open a checking account? What attitudes and messages were received around career? What attitudes and messages were received around marriage? How did you feel about what your parents did to earn a living? Was there a change in financial circumstances so that you felt richer or poorer than before?

The above questions are all adapted from the following, which are excellent resources to help you further explore psychological and emotional issues around money:

  • Krueger, David W.  Emotional Business: The Meaning and Mastery of Work, Money, and Success  (1992). San Marcos, California: Avant Books.
  • McCall, Karen. Financial  Recovery Workbook (1998). Financial Recovery, San Anselmo, California.
  • Wagner, Richard. “Worth Living Money Autobiography Questionnaire” (2000)
  • Yablonsky, Lewis. The Emotional Meaning of Money (1991). New York, NY, Gardner Press.
  • Young, Jeffrey E., Ph.D. and Janet S. Klosko, Ph.D. Reinventing Your Life (1993). New York, NY, Plume.

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