Bad with Money? Think Again….
What’s the first thing people want to do when it comes to taking control of their money?
The logical first step is to look at some numbers. Ah yes- the exciting world of tracking expenses, budgeting, and cash flow planning.
Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely LOVE IT when people decide to start looking at their numbers (cash flow planning is seriously a fun topic for me). How else do you expect to double down on making progress with your finances without knowing your numbers first? Expecting that you’ll achieve financial success while ignoring your numbers is, quite frankly, wishful thinking.
But there’s some prep work that would do you a world of good BEFORE you dive into your numbers. It’s all about acknowledging your MONEY MINDSET and changing some of those negative, unhelpful thought patterns so that you actually WANT to start diving in and making some really amazing progress.
The following are some money mindset shifts that can truly jumpstart your path towards financial freedom:
MONEY MINDSET SHIFT #1: FROM “I’M BAD WITH MONEY” TO “I’VE GOT THIS!”
Did you happen to grow up in an environment where money was frequently discussed in a positive way?
Did you have deep discussions about how to earn money, how to build wealth, and how to ensure that you’re using your money in a way that aligns with your values?
If so, you’re one of the lucky ones. If not, don’t worry- you’re definitely not alone! In fact, being financially intentional and “smart with money” are relatively rare traits among the general population.
If you were not taught how to talk about money, and you find yourself struggling with managing your finances, it’s inevitable to come to the conclusion that you’re bad with money. Our personal experiences, plus the lack of positive money talk in society as a whole, have together created this common misconception that a lot of us simply aren’t very good with money.
It’s time to shift this kind of thinking. You’re simply putting yourself in a box and labeling yourself as bad with money without giving yourself a chance.
It’s time to come to terms with the fact that we ALL need some basic financial literacy in order to ensure that we can actually manage our money with confidence and control. How does one learn how to read? You can’t learn how to read without learning the alphabet first. The same goes for financial literacy. It’s difficult to become financially confident if you never learned the basics. This is a LEARNED skill, not an innate skill.
Once you realize that this is a learned skill that doesn’t require a “math brain,” then you can give yourself permission to stop telling yourself that you’re bad with money. Instead, you’re coming from a place of wanting to self-educate. What you’ll quickly realize is that with the right information and the right tools, you will no longer be “bad with money.” In fact, you’ll start to feel more empowered and in control of your financial situation, to the point where you can genuinely tell yourself “I’ve got this!”
MONEY MINDSET SHIFT #2: FROM “I WILL BE IN DEBT FOREVER” TO “I WILL NOT LET THIS DEBT IS HOLD ME BACK”
Unfortunately, it is much too common to graduate with six-figure student loan debt that can rival any mortgage. It’s also not uncommon to see borrowers carry other types of debt, such as credit card debt and auto loans. Finding yourself deep in debt when you’re just starting out with your career can make you feel like you’re going to spend the rest of your life digging yourself out of a hole. It puts you into a scarcity mindset, thinking that this is a fixed situation from which there is little hope for a solution. It’s giving up before you even get started.
This negative thinking can bleed into many different facets of life, such as your emotional state, your relationships, and your workplace environment. Remember, your financial well-being is intimately tied with your overall well-being.
Placing yourself in this negative mindset will not allow you to think outside the box. You will find yourself less open to opportunities and chances, and instead, you’ll have tunnel vision when it comes to your debt. You may forever label yourself as “poor” without exploring ways to increase your income and your wealth. You may double down on paying off debt, to the detriment of investing for the future. Your sense of gratitude may be dulled because you feel like you have nothing to be grateful for.
So it’s time to rethink your debt. How can you come up with a debt paydown strategy? When it comes to student loans, are you 100% sure that your debt paydown strategy is actually the best strategy for you (hint: student loan debt is VERY different from other types of debt, so make sure you’re fully aware of these differences)? How can you not only think of ways to cut back, but also ways to increase your income? Have you learned any valuable lessons from having this debt that can push you in a positive direction?
No one likes debt, but you can certainly shift your mindset around how you think about and deal with your debt. Make sure you’re not letting your debt unnecessarily hold you back from what you want to achieve in life.
MONEY MINDSET SHIFT #3: FROM “MONEY IS A CHORE” TO “MONEY IS A FORM OF SELF-CARE”
Chores. Just the word is enough to decrease anyone’s energy level. It’s because we associate chores with drudgery, additionally energy that must be summoned in order to keep life from descending into complete chaos.
Here are some common chores that need our constant attention:
- Taking out the trash
- Mowing the lawn
- Shopping (groceries, household supplies)
Another chore that people tend to dread? Paying their bills and dealing with their money.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, managing your money is a form of self-care.
Think about all of those hours you work in order to earn income. By taking care of your hard-earned income and ensuring that you’re managing it properly, you’re also making sure that you’re using that money in a way that not only aligns with your current needs and wants, but also the needs and wants of your FUTURE SELF.
Think of yourself 1 year from now. 5 years. 10 years. 20 years. What do you want to be doing? How do you want to be spending your time? Who have you surrounded yourself with?
Now, how are you going to afford that life that you’re envisioning for yourself? By taking care of your money now so that it makes a difference for FUTURE YOU.
By defining and working towards your financial goals, both short and long term, you are ensuring that this “chore” is, in actuality, an energizing way to check in with your finances and see if you’re on track with those goals. By properly caring for your money, you’re creating wins along the way, giving yourself that much needed momentum to keep moving forward so that your current self AND future self are well taken care of.
MONEY MINDSET SHIFT #4: FROM “MY MONEY’S PURPOSE IS TO PAY THE BILLS” TO “MY MONEY IS A TOOL TO LIVE A RICHER LIFE”
Why do you work?
Work can be for self-fulfillment, passion, acclaim, sense of purpose, service.
Oh, and don’t forget that work also pays the bills. If there were no bills to be paid, then I would imagine that many people would either cut back from their current job, leave their current job altogether, switch to a different job, or choose to never work again.
Many times, we find ourselves working in order to pay the bills, and then cross our fingers that maybe we’ll eventually accumulate enough money to stop working and retire someday. There is no sense of a deeper purpose or intentionality when viewing money from this lens.
Rather than working to simply pay the bills, how about looking at money from the perspective of flexibility, freedom and choices? When looking from this lens, every dollar you earn becomes an opportunity to make intentional choices around how you want to put that dollar to work for YOU. Making these choices, over and over again, puts you in the driver’s seat, curating a life infused with intention. In other words, it’s about using your money as a tool to live a richer, more fulfilling life.
As you can see, the way you think about money has an enormous impact on how you manage your money. If you manage your money with positivity and confidence, your results will show in the form of more wealth and less stress around money. Your results will be a life that you’re living on purpose.
However, if you manage your money from a place of negativity, fear, and scarcity, your motivation to keep up with your finances can fizzle out pretty quickly, similar to going on a crash diet. This is not a sustainable, nor an enjoyable way to interact with your money.
Remember that your relationship with money has been formed over a lifetime of experiences and habits. Shifting your mindset, where you’re starting from point A and aiming for point B, will require both time and patience. It is not a linear path, and there will be times when you will default back to Point A (old habits die hard).
The big picture is that you want to make progress in the right direction. These mindset shifts will allow you to move forward, versus keeping you stuck in a place that is not serving you and what you want out of life. Making a conscious effort to shift your mindset is a great foundation before you start tackling those numbers!
Do you have any money mindset shifts that you’d like to share? Comment below!
I like the mindset that money can be used as a form of selfcare. I get caught up in the hype of the FIRE community and sometimes forget that the journey today is more important than the what ifs of the future.
Whether FI or FIRE, I think a lot of people get caught up with the end goal and don’t enjoy the journey enough. Gotta enjoy that journey!
As with most things in life, your mindset will control your chance of success. I have found that taking your goals and breaking them into small, obtainable milestones, is the most effective way to create a snowball effect with achievement.
Yes- small actionable steps are SO powerful!