Money Bullies

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Money Bullies

Who bullies you about money?

As we all know, shame can come in many forms; but for a topic which is often not talked about (such as money), that shame is more internalized. It’s more felt.

For me, though I’m not sure about you, my biggest “money bully” is …


And it’s been that way for most of my life. I would look at someone’s financial situation and immediately feel terrible that mine wasn’t better. I would wear certain clothes and assume that someone was going to judge me for not having a fancier appearance. I would laugh off judgemental opinions about money even if they applied to me.

Money is such an emotional topic. And that’s why it’s so important for us to discuss it.

When we financially compare ourselves to others, we are internalizing any shame we feel.

When we assume someone else’s thoughts about our financial situation, we are the ones responsible for igniting that shame.

When we twist someone else’s words to further abash our financial scenario, we are actually shaming ourselves.

Now, this isn’t to say that people around you aren’t going to be bullies. I mean, if you’ve spent any time in a public space (whether virtual or not), you’ve seen bullies in action.

But I’m not talking about everyone else.

I’m talking about you.

I’m asking you: who bullies you about money…

And the reason I’m asking you is because if I had been asked this question before my wife and I decided to finally flip the script of our financial story and change the way we talked, thought about, and felt money, I would have been able to tell you that my biggest money bully was myself.

But the problem is that I never would have wanted to say that out loud. I would have been too afraid to verbalize it.

So I’m not even sure that I would have answered it correctly…even though I knew the answer.

When someone else hurts us, we’re more inclined to share that with others; because the blame can be put on somebody else. We’re off the hook, essentially.

But when we are the ones hurting ourselves, it’s more difficult to be vocal about it. It’s more difficult for us to admit that we are the bully - which puts the onus on us to find a solution.

I have absolutely felt shame about money from others, don’t get me wrong. And I’ve watched as several well-respected financial experts make a great living off of shaming their audience for their financial choices.

I’m convinced that this is why we don’t learn about money in school - because there are simply too many opinions. Nobody can agree on anything. (Though I still don’t understand why we can’t simply agree on the fact that at least something needs to be taught in schools about money.) Instead, we just sit around and shame someone for making a choice we wouldn’t have made.

And so I’m willing to challenge that most of us exacerbate any shame we feel around money by bullying ourselves about money.

In general, most of us have difficulty setting boundaries when it comes to finances. It’s like hosting an open house without locking the doors - anyone and anything can freely enter and leave, which just causes complete chaos and uncertainty.

But while setting boundaries can absolutely help us establish healthier financial relationships with the world around us, it doesn’t quite solve the issue of us bullying ourselves.

So then, how do we pave the way for a healthier INTERNAL relationship with ourselves about money?

Like any habit we are trying to break, we have to take steps that involve a blend of self-compassion and practicality.

I refer to this as “spiking the kool aid.” It’s where we take the two sides of a scenario and find the balance between them.

What we have to do is empower ourselves when it comes to money. Because once we’re able to empower ourselves with our money, we will come to understand that this “bully” doesn’t actually speak based on facts. It speaks based on our insecurities.

So in order to achieve financial empowerment, there are four main keys we can look to as guides:

  • Grace
  • Support
  • Hope
  • Decision


If we were to look up the definition of the word grace, we would see that it means “courteous goodwill.”

My wife and I would not be where we are today, financially speaking, without giving ourselves (and each other) grace around money.

Now, this doesn’t mean apologizing to yourself about your financial situation or previous financial decisions. This just means that there is an internal understanding, in your core, that money is neutral. It is neither good nor bad. Money is simply a tool. Our financial scenarios are representative of circumstances outside of our control as well as circumstances from how we’ve utilized this tool. So, no regrets.

Remember: regrets are simply choices we haven’t learned from.

When we give ourselves grace around our money, we are allowing the opportunity for growth. And that’s critical for establishing a healthier internal relationship with yourself.


One of the largest and strongest horses in the world is the Belgian draught horse. If you take one of these magnificent animals and test how strong they are, you’d see that they are capable of pulling around 8,000 pounds which is incredible.

But what about putting two of these horses together? How much weight can two of them pull?

You’d probably assume they’d pull 16,000 pounds, but it’s more like 20,000-24,000 pounds. They are almost three times stronger together.

Now, here’s the real kicker…

If you raise and train the two horses together (unify their goals), the pair of Belgian draught horses can pull 30,000-32,000 pounds, which is almost four times as much as a single horse.

Finding the right support system is going to catapult your progress. Stephen Covey describes this as “synergy.”

You can find synergistic relationships in family, friends, a pastor, coach, online community, etc. The most important thing to remember is that you want this support system to be unified with you on your goals. It will inspire you to remain consistent, even when times get hard, and prove to be an invaluable resource.


Let me ask you a question.

If you knew for a fact that you would never be able to achieve your dream, would you keep pursuing it as passionately?

I would have a hard time believing that anyone would say yes.

The same is true for our money goals. When we’re turning our financial lives around, we need to be able to see that it’s possible.

What helped me with this the most was not just having faith in my abilities to execute a financial plan. It was also about being able to see the numbers laid out in front of me. Once I was able to see the math of it all, I was able to very quickly realize that achieving my financial goals was not a matter of “if.” It was simply a matter of time until “when.”

You need to be able to see, feel, and trust that there is another side, a better side, to this process.


Deciding that something is important to us is different than simply acknowledging that something is important to us.

When we decide, we are committing to taking action. There’s movement toward something. This key is all about you and what you are going to do in order to accomplish your goals.

By this point, we’ve given ourselves grace and allowed for the opportunity to grow, we’ve found a support system we can trust and lean on, and we’ve laid out the game plan so we can see that this is all possible.

Now, we have to decide to execute our plan.

And this means that we have to decide to choose ourselves.

Because, my friend, YOU are the hero of your financial story. You always have been.

It’s so much easier to say this, but don’t beat yourself up about money. Don’t bully yourself about your financial situation. And don’t let others dictate your worth.

The journey to financial empowerment isn’t just about practical steps; it’s a profound inner shift. Remember, the biggest money bully often resides within us. And by acknowledging this truth, we uncover the power to completely transform our relationship with money.

Through grace, we accept that money is a neutral tool, freeing ourselves from the weight of regrets. Building a supportive network akin to harnessing the strength of unified Belgian draught horses amplifies our progress. And hope fuels our endeavors, reminding us that the goal isn’t a matter of "if" but "when."

Yet, it’s the decision - the pivotal moment of commitment to action - that truly propels us forward. As the hero of our financial story, this decision to choose ourselves is where our journey truly begins.

So, in navigating the complexities of money, let’s grant ourselves the grace to grow, seek the support that magnifies our strengths, foster hope in the inevitability of success, and, above all, make the resolute decision to embrace our financial empowerment. You've always held the pen to script your financial narrative. Now, it’s time to craft a story of strength, resilience, and triumph.

You have been designed for the journey you’re on.

You’ve got this!

Stay Curious,



Kyle Fowler

Founder of Financial Flippers

The personal finance world is packed with TONS of information. And while it's not all bad, it's not all good. I work hard to make sure I am sharing helpful content that keeps you on track while still providing different perspectives. If you ever have questions, want to share ideas for other topics, or want to know more, shoot me an email:

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