When my great aunt died, she left everything to my dad. 

Going through her house, we were instructed to thoroughly search every nook and cranny. Toss nothing. 

See, my great aunt was a woman of the depression era and, like others who lived during that time, had a distrust for banks and other financial systems. As a result, she and her generation learned to stash cash around their houses. (It’s most likely where the idea of hiding money in the mattress got its start.) 

Not only did we find cash under my great aunt’s mattress, but we found bills inside books, sock drawers, and other places. 

The total amount recovered was somewhere over $2,000.

This story makes me think about the fact that I always have money on me, whether that’s the $10K stack on my desk or the cash I carry in my wallet. Why? Because I can see that I am the product of Aunt Mary’s influence. 

Culture plays a huge part in how we develop as humans. The first culture we are introduced to is our nuclear family. 

I didn’t grow up in the depression era and neither did my parents. Their parents did. And yet my siblings and I have a very strong attachment to the belief that we must “save everything and toss nothing”. This belief was inherited.

But notice that it wasn’t passed down from the beginning of time. It was created two generations ago as a reaction to current events (or more specifically, society’s perspective of current events).

Which is the next culture we are introduced to as humans—society. Whatever we’ve learned in the home, our cultural ideas are then shaped and influenced through the accumulation of experiences in school, church, communities, and/or the people we spend the most time with. 

Society imprints its cultural ideas around money through all of these groups, even if done unconsciously.  

Understanding our cultural perspectives—whether inherited from family or created by society—can help us understand how we’ve come to view and interact with money. 

Inside those stories may be the key to identifying the opportunities we are missing because of the cultural ideas we have assumed are truth instead of challenging them. 


Here’s the 3-2-1 on the cultural impact on your earning potential.


  1. Cultural ideas about money can impact our earning potential. If we are told we can’t make a certain amount of money because of our gender or the color of our skin, and then systems of power and wealth reflect that belief, it can influence how we see financial possibility for ourselves.
  2. When we understand our cultural perspectives, we can see how these perspectives shaped our thoughts, feelings, and actions toward money. I call this the money story. When we can see it, we can do something to change it.
  3. Even people who society considers successful live by money stories they have internalized. The $50M earner struggles with their own inner narratives just as the person making $100K does. Money stories impact us all.


  1. Make a list of all the beliefs about money you inherited from your family or created because of society. Challenge each of them. What evidence can you find that proves the belief is NOT true?
  2. Re-evaluate your attitudes of money. Then, focusing on the attitude needing the most improvement, ask yourself what family or societal stories are impacting that attitude.


  1. What am I going to do to change my money story?

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To your impact and legacy,