How is your relationship with money?
Good, bad neutral?
Let's be honest. When you think of the cash in your pocket or that number in your bank account you're probably not really paying attention to the relationship you actually have with that number.
You're more concerned about the practical stuff. Like being able to pay the rent this month, finally, have enough to pay those student loans, or looking forward to being able to finally book that vacation.
But money is very emotional. And understanding your relationship with money can help you get to a better place in your journey towards financial freedom and managing your wealth.
How to have a good relationship with money
In order to build an healthy relationship with money you need to spend a little bit of time assessing and then creating a plan of attack.
Below I go into additional detail about how to do this starting with identifying your current relationship with money, where it came from, and what it means.
Followed by ideas of how to take that relationship with money and take steps to improving it and making it better.
What your relationship with money reveals about you
The first step to improving your relationship with money is understanding your current relationship with money and what it really means.
There are certain attitudes that we have towards money that we are not even aware of.
Our money mindset can sometimes really get in the way when it comes to trying to get further in our financial journey.
You can start figuring out what your current relationship with money and what is means by answering a few questions.
What kind of relationship did those around you growing up have with money?
Our money mindset or relationship with money starts to develop early on. The way your parents felt about money will usually impact how your feel about money as an adult.
So think about the attitudes towards money you observed growing up. Did you observe a lot of concern or stress when it came to money or was money never an issue.
Now think about your own attitude towards money. Do you think your attitude is similar to the attitudes you were exposed to growing up.
Think about all these ideas and attitudes that you observed growing up and you will quickly realize that you may be carrying these ideas and attitudes along with you.
What is your money mindset?
Once you've you have a chance to look at the relationships that those around you had with money it's time to attack your money mindset.
There are two types of money mindsets that most people fall into. The scarcity mindset and the abundance mindset.
They are exactly what they sound like. A scarcity mindset considers that there is an limited amount of money available to you.
Some signs that you have a scarcity mindset are as follows:
- Being afraid to spend money even when you have it
- Bitterness towards others that have (the idea is that there is a limited amount of money so if they have a big chunk you will be left with a little chunk no matter what you do)
- Putting a limit on your earning potential and feeling like no matter what you do you will never be able to make more money
An abundant mindset believes that there is an infinite amount of money available to you.
Some signs that you have an abundant mindset:
- Confidence in knowing that the money you spend now will come back to you when you need it
- Embracing the idea that your earning potential is infinite and that money will always be available to you if you dedicate the time and effort towards getting it
- Feeling comfortable with those that are wealthy or have more
- Giving with confidence and knowing that you will receive when the time is right
Having a scarcity mindset can be limiting. You may find yourself harboring negative feelings towards other people for example especially when they are doing well.
Or you may limit yourself from taking action in fear of feeling like it would be a waste of time or if you spend the money you will be screwed later when you actually need it.
Having an abundant mindset is a lot more freeing. You tend to pursue more opportunities for example. You give more and find that you receive more. And your overall attitude tends to be more positive because you're not worried or stressed about whether you will have enough.
What are your money goals and do you feel they are realistic?
What are your money goals? Do you want to pay off your student loans? Get rid of credit card debt? Buy a house? Plan a vacation?
Make a list of those money goals you have?
Now, look at that list. When you look at your list do you feel these are things that are within your reach and that you're capable of achieving? Or do you think, not a chance?
If you tend to feel like there is no way you can even achieve any of those things in your wildest imagination take a moment and think about why.
Is it because you don't have it now? Or is it intimidating? Sometimes our circumstances put us in a position where we have limiting beliefs about what we can and cannot do. And that is completely understandable.
I mean I am not buying a 4 million dollar yacht if I make 30K a year. However, flipping the script and focusing instead on the possibility and how you can do those things in the future. That is a step towards improving your relationship with money and improving your beliefs about money.
What is your biggest money fear?
Fear is such a powerful emotion. Not only is it extremely limiting but it also leads up to place negative feelings on things that otherwise should not be.
For example I am afraid of heights. Which is why I never ever ever thought I would find myself ziplining in Alaska. Yet, there I was, ziplining and having the time of my life. If I let fear overtake me I would never have had that experience that I have to say I talk about all the time. It was awesome.
But let's focus. What are your biggest money fears? Are you worried you will run out of money? You won't be able to pay the bills? You'll lose your house?
Now think about those fears and consider how they impact your day to day. For example I've heard stories of people not taking a job because the pay was lower even though the growth potential was higher than their current position.
Or the person that doesn't invest in a new roof (even though they can afford it) because what if they need the money later only to then end up with a bigger bill because of water damage and having to replace later on when the whole roof goes bad.
The fear that we have can actually cost us more than we realize. So it is time to identify those fears, figure out where that lack of confidence is coming up from and work on ditching it.
How do I change my relationship with money?
Changing your relationship with money is not going to happen overnight. You will have moments where you slip back into comfortable thoughts and old habits. However, there are plenty of ways and things you can do every day to get to the point where you have a great relationship with money.
You have probably seen some of these in our post about money mindset. Because our relationship with money starts with mindset.
- Flip the script
Pay attention to the things you say and think when it comes to money. Every time you find yourself saying something like “I can't afford…” or “I don't have…” or “I never will” trying to flip the script and make it a positive statement. So for example you can replace with “I will…” or “I look forward to..” or “I am taking steps to…”.
You will be surprised how this little exercise will make a huge impact.
Gratitude is everything and reflecting and showing gratitude for what you have is incredibly important. However, take it a step further.
Think about all the positive experiences you have had with money. And reflect on them. How did you feel? How did you react? Channel that feeling. And remember it every time you start to feel those negative money feelings creep in. This gratitude journal is a great place to start.
- Treat Your Self
When you're trying to get a good grasp of your financial situation we tend to forget about our well-being and our happiness. It is undestandable. There is a certain guilt that is associated with spending money frivously when we are trying to pay off a mountain of debt.
However, no matter where you are in your financial planning journey it is very important to not forget to treat yourself. It doesn't have to be anything big or major. But it has to be something.
For example if you love ice coffee then maybe you can work out something where you treat yourself to a coffee every so often.
Or set a savings goal to put a few bucks in a jar to go towards something like a manicure/pedicure or maybe lunch out. Focus on something that you truly enjoy and try not to forget to treat yourself.
- Focus on Having
It's easy to focus on what you don't have. It's easy to lean into the whole idea of never being able to afford the things that you believe will make you happy. It's what we know and what we are most comfortable with.
However these thoughts, ideas and conversations can be very limiting. Instead start to think about what you do have. So you paid all your bills and now have $5 in your account. That sucks.
However can we focus on the fact that you were actually able to pay those bills. That you had enough money to pay those bills. The money was there and you are able to go home to a warm bed, roof over your head and food on the table. Those are things to definitely be thankful for.
How does money affect your well-being?
You wouldn't think that having a good relationship with your money has anything do with with your health. However you will be surprised to learn that it does.
Financial wellness leads to not only peace of mind for a lower stressed life. And we all know what stress can really do to us.
When you have a good relationship with money your experiences with money are all positive.
You don't feel stress when you pay bills. Instead you see money as a tool and realize that you have the privilege of paying bills.
When you spend you don't see money going out. You see the return and the value you get from what you're spending and you know that you will get that money back.
In the end, you feel confident in having and the direct benefits of this will start to follow.
For example you focus more on value than cost. You have a good handle on your debt (if you have debt at all). You have started a savings and you're working towards putting more towards it.
How to have a better relationship with money
You have taken the first step towards having a better relationship with money because you're here. Take in some of what you have learned and commit to improving your relationship with money day by day.
While you may not see or feel changes overnight eventually you will start to find yourself look at money with a completely different lense.
You got this. Think rich. Be rich. Cheers.
And if you haven't already check out our wealth tracker which you can download for free here.