What Dreams Mean About Personal Finance

Until recently, it had never occurred to me that dreams could offer insights into financial and career dilemmas. Then I had a dream that revealed a financial fear, and finally discerned that a recurring dream had been sending me a message about my career.

Finding Possible Meanings of Dreams

Here is my approach to discovering what unusual and recurring dreams might mean.

Note elements of the dream

A message is often embodied in very specific objects. You may not encounter these items frequently in your everyday life or one of these items may be particularly prominent or memorable. These elements provide clues that are just as or more significant than the feelings that the dream evoked.

Discover meanings of the elements

Use a dream dictionary (such as The Dreamer's Dictionary) or online sources as references. Analyze how the element appears (water might be clear or murky, calm or rocky) and find meanings that match your dream context.

Realize that some meanings are straightforward (green leaves mean growth and happiness while brown, withered ones indicate despair and loss) while others are obscure (a radiator can mean "remorse over an alienated friend" according to my dictionary). Many are obstacle dreams (a curtain indicates "hidden opposition"). Certain elements have a contrary or counterintuitive meaning.

Study common meanings of recurring dreams

Many people have the same recurring dreams as you do. Online sources, such as this top 10 list of recurring dreams, can give you hints about their meanings.

Fit the meanings of elements into a complete picture

Think about what's going on in your life at work, home, and school as well as outside groups. For unusual dreams, recall recent events, business transactions, or conversations. For recurring dreams, consider ongoing issues, such as patterns of behavior that you are trying to change or concerns about a relationship.

Interpreting My Dreams

Bus Accident = Need to Budget

In a recent dream, I was a passenger in a car driven by a friend. We were driving down an unfamiliar but pleasant city street on a sunny day. Just as we were crossing an intersection, I saw a bus heading toward the same intersection. The bus driver didn't slow down or swerve, and my friend wasn't able to react in time to avoid the accident. Our car crashed into the bus and the dream ended.

The disturbing nature of this particular dream prompted me to dig for meaning. The obvious, scary element was the accident, which indicated a warning. What intrigued me was the bus, an uncommon sight in my day-to-day activities. Using online sources, I found these explanations:

  1. To dream that you are in a bus accident, suggests that it is time for you to move away from a group setting and venture out on your own. You need to be more independent. — Dream Moods

  2. Being in a bus accident shows the dreamer will have a period of frustration due to financial embarrassment. — Mimi - Dreams

The first suggestion seemed generic, though might be significant for a recurring dream. The second was both puzzling and promising, making me think deeper about the dream. It occurred to me that the car's driver was significant. She was a friend whose daughter had recently become engaged and, just a few days prior, I had offered to host an event of some sort in the coming months; we hadn't pinpointed exactly who, what, when, and where. I had dismissed waking concerns that the cost of the shower, or luncheon, or whatever might get out of control but realized quickly that I needed to be more upfront about setting and keeping a budget.

Driving Backwards, Unable to Brake = Redirect Career

In my recurring dream, I was driving a car that traveled backwards and wouldn't stop when I put on the brakes. When I did my research on dream meanings, I realized that there was a period in my life when I needed to making changes in order to progress in my career.

I haven't had this dream in a few years, so I must be moving forward now.

Beyond Personal Finance

You may be inspired to delve into the meaning of your dreams or dismiss discovering their messages as frivolous, but I've found that some dreams are worth a few moments of research and reflection.

A few years ago, my husband retold a story about a man's dream that intrigued me. The man was battling alcoholism but wasn't convinced of its negative impact on his life. Then he dreamed that he was swimming happily in the ocean, when he became attracted to a beautiful woman in the ocean's depths and was lured to her side. He was enjoying her touch when he realized that he needed air to breathe but the woman wouldn't let him go. Staying with this enticing woman meant certain death. Upon waking, he recognized that his attraction could destroy him and made the decision to become sober.

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Guest's picture

I've also read that dreams are basically our brains passing gas while we sleep. BUT I do believe our subconscious does try to work things out during the night, however, I don't put a lot of faith in the random interpretations that allegedly mean the same thing for everyone.

Guest's picture
Abby P.

Very intriguing/interesting article. I'm a believer that dreams signify other situations that are going on in your life. I encourage people to look up their dreams in a dream dictionary, because I have one, but most are hesitant about it. In my history with my own dreams, they often signify an underlying issue/aspect in my life that's going on in the present moment. It's good to know that other people analyze their dreams and try to make sense of them too!

Guest's picture

Great article

However, if I ever start having any of these "nightmares" that are related to my personal financial situation, then I think it simply means that I'm worrying too much.
I had serious worries when I was knee-deep in debt and couldn't keep my phone on or buy new work shoes.

Any issues that I have now are peanuts compared to back then.