Five Questions to Understand Your Money Story

Last week, I shared a money story about a young man who broke out from the common belief that high school kids should work at the fast-food restaurant for their first job, and made $100 per hour doing what he loved, instead of $100 per week from the fast food restaurant. That story has a significant impact on my personal money story.

What is money story?

Money story is how you think, feel, and handle money.

  1. What do you think about money?
    • Do you think money is the root of all evil?
    • Are you always thinking about a college fund for your kids even though you don’t have any kids?
    • Do you believe that you must have a lavish wedding since it is a once in a lifetime moment?
  2. How does money make you feel?
    • Does money make you feel safe?
    • Do you feel money will ruin your relationship with family or friends?
  3. How do you handle money?
    • Do you spend more than what you make?
    • Do you budget?
    • Do you buy on impulse?

Why is it important to understand your money story?

Surprisingly, most people learn about money when they were around 2 or 3 years old, and by age 7, you’ve formed a belief around money based on your observation and what your parent taught you, directly or indirectly. So, most likely you are not even aware of your money story.

However, it is crucial for you to reflect on your feeling, thinking, and habits on money before you can make all the necessary adjustment to improve your financial health.

For example, as a parent, I won’t serve my little girl a bowl of broccoli and expect her to eat them all when she already holds grudges against broccoli. So, I try to understand why she doesn’t want to eat her broccoli? What is she thinking, how does the broccoli make her feel? She might not like the feeling of having too much gas after eating broccoli, or the taste of broccoli. By, understanding her situation, I might be able to come with incentive or a different game plan to help her eat vegetables.

Similarly, by knowing your current belief about money, you can have a plan to overcome those limiting belief and grow your finance.

How do you find your money story?

Here are five questions to help you understand and reflect on your money story.

  1. What did your parent teach/tell you about money?
    • Did you parent talk to you about money when you’re a kid?
    • Did you get an allowance from your parents?
    • Did you parent teach you to save your money?
  2. How does money make you feel?
    • Do you feel like it’s time to throw a party when you get a bonus or tax return?
    • Do you use your money to help a charity or other people?
    • Do you need some saving to feel safe?
  3. Do you believe in spending money on yourself?
    • When was the last time you invest in yourself? (such as education or vacation)
    • How do you prefer to treat yourself? Hang out with friends after work? Spend some me time in a spa? Eat out at nice restaurants on weekends?
  4. Are you able to control money?
    • Do you have any credit card debt?
    • Do you buy everything with cash?
    • Do you have a budget?
  5. What has been the money theme in your life?
    • Has it been mostly negative or positive experience?

Try to write down your story somewhere because next week, we will talk about six strategies that I have learned from various people to change my perspective on money and improve my financial health.

Share your thought

What’s the theme of your money story?  Has it been mostly positive or negative?  If you need help to figure out your money story, feel free to connect with me at our group.

Please share this story with your friends or family that might be able to benefit from this.

What’s your money story?

During one summer break, a father told his son to get a summer job, with the intention that his son learned about hard-work. The boy didn’t know what kind of job he should apply to, and the father quickly suggested a fast-food restaurant. The boy made $100 after one week of hard-work a the burger joint. The father was proud of his son, but the son didn’t enjoy working at a burger joint.
One week later, the boy quitted his job. He started printing out flyers to teach tennis lessons for younger kids. He rode his bike and posted those flyers around the neighborhood. Little that he knew, he got 5 clients that paid him $20/hour for a group tennis lesson. At that moment, the boy realized that he collected $100 in one hour instead of one week. And, his income did not depend on one source, his employer.
Unfortunately, I am not that boy.  I learned about the importance of multiple of sources and thinking on a bigger level at later age. But, that’s the story that changes my whole perspective on money and hard work.

What is my money story?

When I was young but old enough to remember (maybe around seven years or older), I was the thrift one among all the kids in my family. I am not sure what impacted my perspective on money, but I was a hoarder. I like to save money and spend none if possible. I remembered my brothers and sister withdrew some money out from their savings to buy brand name clothes, toys, or to support their hobbies. Unfortunately, I didn’t spend any money on those things. My parents felt sorry and bought me some stuff because I just never asked for toys or clothes.

Once I graduated from college, just like most people, I believe in getting a good job, save in 401K, buy a few stocks on my own and hoping I will be able to accumulate enough for retirement. I know I can do this because I’ve been living a thrift life since I was seven years old. 🙂

I’m aware that I always have the itch to be an entrepreneur. Maybe that’s because my dad has always been a business owner, but I’ve never invested any money or time to learn to be one.

Unfortunately, my great job, which I relied on, went through new management. Our 1-year-old son is going through chemo treatment (he will finish his chemo by March 2018). Things changed. Luckily, I remembered the story that I told you earlier about the boy who teaches tennis. I realized it is time to take more control over my financial situation, not relying on just one employer.

That’s why I put my time and energy to help you, especially if you are a parent, to realize the importance of multiple sources of income.

Take Action Immediately

Don’t wait until you have no choice.

Take action now because everything that you do will have to start from zero.

Please share this article with your friend or someone who can benefit from it.


Photo by Maryna Davyda on Unsplash

Are You Stubborn or Determined

I thought the word “Stubborn” was created to be the “evil” twin of “Persistent,” “Determined” and “Iron-Willed.

It seems like the core value of “Stubborn” and “Determined” is absolutely the same. They are the characteristics that keep you going when you feel like fighting against the world. Whether it is starting a business, going for a higher education, being a movie star, or losing 10 pounds.

We know for sure, the haters will call you stubborn right off the bat for not listening to their idea. But, more importantly, what do we call ourselves?

Stubborn or Determined Test

What do you think about the following statement?

People do NOT need to breathe to live.

What was your first reaction when you read that statement? Do you agree? Disagree? Start thinking “why am I reading this blog when the writer is so dumb?” Or intrigued?

What if I rephrase the statement to “people over 3 years can hold their breath for 2 seconds and stay alive.”  Do you agree with that? If you still don’t agree or you might argue they are totally different statements; I respect your opinion on that too.

I am here to help you explore and understand yourself. I’m not here to judge you. So, whatever decision you made based on the above test is right.  It just depends on how you see it, and how effective we use language to communicate.

Are You Stubborn or Determined?

Based on my research, personal experience, and reflection, the main difference between “stubborn” and “determined” is in your ability to listen and analyze other people’s opinion when it is different than what you believe. Stubbornness indicates the resistance to change under any circumstances. Determination signifies a process of completing something by considering other’s advice, research, or taking calculated risks.

However, the lines between “stubborn” and “determined” become unclear when you are taking a big leap of faith to new and breakthrough ideas. The best way to go through this path is by surrounding yourself with people who made those “leap of faith,” and learn about the struggles, mindset, and the environment to be successful.


While “stubborn” and “determined” might share the same characteristics in achieving a goal, the main difference lies in the process of taking feedback from others to help you achieve your goals. Determined people consider other people advice. Sometimes, you’re stubborn because you are in the wrong environment. Do you have the right people around you that share similar goals?

Share Your Thoughts

What thought or feeling did you have when you took the test? Did you agree or disagree? What’s your thought on stubborn vs. determined? What’s your definition of those two words? Please share your thoughts and comments below.

Please share this article with other people who can benefit from this


How I Started My Blog

Back in March 2017, one of my TVs just stopped working. The TV was only four years old, but unfortunately, many of the “smart TV” channels/features have been discontinued and it stopped working. So, it might be time to replace the TV anyway. However, instead of buying a TV immediately, I set a challenge to myself. I want to sacrifice something that can save me money to by a new TV. After reviewing my expenses, the only place that I can trim is eating out for lunch during the workday.

The Prize
The TV that I like cost less than $400 with tax and shipping fee, but I set my target to $500 just in case I change my mind and want to upgrade my TV to 4K resolution, or a slightly bigger size.

The Plan
When I go out for lunch, it cost between $8 to $12 per day. But for simplicity of the math, I assumed all lunches are $8. I estimated the cost of the meal I packed at home is $3 per day. With $5 saving per meal, I need to pack 100 meals (or 20 weeks of home cook food) for lunches before I can purchase a new TV.

The Execution

1. Ask for support from others

The first thing I do is talked to my wife. My wife is the one who prepares food at home. So, I told my wife about my plan, and I asked her to cook extra food so I can pack it for my lunch.

2. Create a supportive environment

I also make sure that I have a lunchbox or two. Remember, the environment is stronger than your will. For example, how many of you are motivated to run in a freezing 40 degrees F (well, I live in Texas… 40 degrees is freezing) at 5 o’clock in the morning if you don’t have the right running shirt, pants, and jacket?

3. Plan ahead

Every morning, I need to help my daughters to get ready for school; from telling them to eat breakfast, brushing teeth, helping them dress up and get all their stuff ready. To ensure I won’t forget my lunch, I prepared it at night before I go to bed and put it in the middle of the fridge where I can see it easily. When I wake up in the morning, I just grab it and ready to go.

4. Get the reward

I’ve made a deal with myself to get the TV once I packed 100 meals…. and I DID. So, I’m going to get the TV that I’ve been longing for since March. Yeah!!
Some of you might be thinking why don’t I use the money to pay a debt or donate it to some charity instead of buying a TV.

While it is good to use the $500 for charity or pay-off some debt, it is also important to keep a promise to yourself. When you reward yourself for all your hard work, you have much more appreciation for the reward. And, it will motivate you to do another good job the next time you challenge yourself.

That’s the picture of the TV that I’m getting from Amazon. I did my research, and it seems like this TCL brand is not bad. Do you have a good or bad experience with this TV?

What’s the real prize?
The TV is unquestionably a nice reward for all my hard work to pack lunch for 100 working days that span over six months.

However, when I reflect on the whole experience, I realized the real prize is my new habit.

I’ve been able to pack lunch from home more often now, but not for the sake of saving money.  I’m doing it to save time, so I can go home a tad early to avoid the rush hours traffic and spend more time with my family.

Share Your Thoughts

If you want to build a new habit, you can follow my execution plan above. And, feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions. It was not easy to create any new habit but I did it, and certainly learned a lot from the experience.

What’s your biggest challenge when starting a new habit or project? Do you have more tips to make it easy to start a new habit?

Don’t forget to share this article with your family and friends who need a little motivation to start a new habit or project.