I have been a huge fan of Disney animated films for as long as I can remember, so I always welcome the opportunity to take my kids to see the latest release. Besides, Disney movies are often chockfull of life lessons and great conversation starters, and the new Frozen sequel is no different. From female empowerment to transformative change to emotional expression, the film hits on a lot of big topics. Many of which can be applied as financial lessons.
Spoiler alert: If you have not seen Frozen 2 yet, you may want to hold off on reading this until after you have.
In the movie, Elsa and Anna believed that their grandfather's gift of a dam for the Northuldra people was a peace offering. However, they later learned that their grandfather actually built the dam, knowing that it would harm the tribe’s lands. The grandfather then attacked a Northuldra leader when his real plan was found out, and as a result of the battle, the Enchanted Forest (where the Northuldra lived) covered itself in an impenetrable fog.
Elsa and Anna truly believed that the dam built in the Enchanted Forest by their ancestors was meant for good. They believed it because it was the story they were told. It wasn't until they realized that the story wasn't true that they were able to make a change.
So much of our mindset is established when we're growing up, and our families have a considerable influence over that. From what you value to how you handle money to how you communicate, we learn a lot from our early experiences, and we accept it as truth.
Your money mindset is generally similar to your parents' as they have a significant impact on your thoughts and feelings about money. The beliefs that you have about money may or may not be true.
How your family spoke about money while you were growing up affected your thoughts about money. If your parents believed that the path to wealth was tied to working hard or saving for a rainy day, you likely place a very high premium on working hard and not spending.
If your parents shared their worries about paying the bills or told you things you wanted were "too expensive," you may have gotten the message that you are not worthy of these things. These sorts of messages can linger in your psyche - even if you have more than enough income today.
Your parents' reactions to financial setbacks made an impression on you whether you know it or not. You may not have had a front-row seat to the conversations your parents had, but you likely knew something was up. Tension always has an impact. As a child, you may not have been able to connect the dots, but as an adult, you might have unexplained weird feelings or thoughts about money simply because you were in proximity to your parents while they were under stress.
Looking at your past can help you see if any of the stories that you are telling yourself about money may not be true. The great news is, just like Anna did in Frozen, you can undo any negative beliefs, but you have to acknowledge them in order to make a change.
The only way to lift the fog in the Enchanted Forest is to recognize the truth of what Elsa and Anna's grandfather had done. Once they realized what happened, they were able to take the actions they needed to right the wrong.
Nothing feels worse than being in trouble. The consequences of the things we fear are often unbearable. So, what do most people do? They bury their heads in the sand. Yep, they lie to themselves about how serious things are, and they hide their fears or their consequences from others.
Getting honest about money when you are in trouble feels risky. In some cases, it can cause harm, and in others, it can cause worse-case scenarios. From missing a payment and having an adverse credit score to causing financial harm to a business or institution, money problems run the gamut.
The truth is, hiding won't work. Eventually, the issue will come out, and the situation will be worse than it has to be.
Being honest about your money and any weaknesses you have with it can change your life. Just like Elsa and Anna realized that they had to right the wrongs of their past, you have to get honest and do whatever it takes to be in integrity and command of your money.
Related post: Finding An Accountability Partner
When Anna realizes that the dam must be knocked down to lift the fog, she literally has to move mountains and put her own life in danger to do it. Now I am by no means suggesting that you need to do anything that extreme to change your financial situation. However, sometimes, you have to recognize that a significant change is necessary for serious transformation to occur.
Here are some examples of big financial changes that can be difficult (and even feel like moving mountains) but can also completely transform your financial life:
Downsizing your home. Downsizing your home could mean not only a smaller (or no) mortgage payment and lower insurance and taxes but also lower utility bills. The choice to downsize can be difficult. The thought of moving, alone, can be downright overwhelming. Sometimes it's the change that has to happen, though.
Going from two cars to one. If you are used to having your own car, it can be very difficult to go from two cars to one or even from using a car to using public transportation. However, sometimes, we get ourselves into such a financial mess that we need to make some significant changes to get out of it.
Filing for bankruptcy. I have worked with many couples and individuals who are rebuilding after filing for bankruptcy. It's not an ideal solution, but sometimes there is no other alternative. You can bounce back from it, though, and it can completely transform your financial situation in a positive way with the right guidance.
"The Next Right Thing" is probably one of my favorite songs in the movie. Anna sings the song at a moment when she is feeling hopeless and alone. As the lyrics go, "Just do the next right thing, Take a step, step again, It is all that I can do, The next right thing..."
There are so many times when people come to me to discuss their financial challenges, and they feel so hopeless. You may not be ready to knock down the metaphorical dam, but you can still do the next right thing. You can still take your lunch to work instead of going out. You can still cook dinner at home rather than getting delivery or going out to eat.
You don't have to change everything at once. Just focus on that one next right thing. Success in making small changes can inspire big changes in the future.
The song continues, "I won't look too far ahead, It's too much for me to take,
But break it down to this next breath, this next step, This next choice is one that I can make..."
Learn 6 things you can do today for your financial future. Access it now.