Fall Financial Inventory: Improving your Money Relationship
Fall is around the corner and more than half of the year has passed, which makes it the perfect time to reassess your financial goals for the year. In this article, I will take you all who want to take stock of their current financial approach through insightful finance-focused exercises.
As a former Money Coach for a financial company, I have heard many limiting beliefs about money which have been both paralyzing and stressful. This article will help you to move past false narratives about money so that you can successfully navigate around the space of money.
You’ll need your pen and paper for three mini reflection exercises.
You will be taking an inventory of your own thoughts about money that may be holding you back. A study by CompareCards found that about 7 in 10 Americans have cried about money. Debt seems to be the largest source of stress. It’s also the top reason for arguments in couples that leads to divorce.
According to Oxford’s definition, “money is a current medium of exchange in the form of coins and banknotes.” However, beyond this definition, we all experience money differently. From our first exposure up until now, we’ve formed our own beliefs and emotions about money. Therefore, we look at money from the lens of our experiences, not as its true definition.
Let’s look at money solely from an emotional standpoint. A mini-reflection exercise and answer these prompts:
If you were in a romantic relationship w/ money…
What would your “Relationship Status” say? i.e., dating? Getting to know each other? It’s complicated? Love Hate relationship? Other?
If your money could speak, what would it say about you? i.e., “I’m treated well!” or would it say, “I’m being taken for granted.”
Let’s pause. Write down your answers.
Were there any surprises for you? This may be an unusual way of looking at money. Before we look at money as a tool, let’s look at how limiting beliefs might be influencing or controlling how you perceive money. Perception about money leads us to behave in accordance with your beliefs, whether you’re conscious of those beliefs or not. For example, “Money is too hard to understand.” Let’s look at the emotions and behaviors associated with this belief.
Possible Emotions: Discouraged, frustrated, afraid, anxious, stressed, helpless, annoyed, apathetic, overwhelmed Possible Behaviors: Overspending money to temporarily mask negative emotions; giving up on goals that require saving money; and/or avoiding planning the future related to money.
What other beliefs do you have about money? If you believe, “People with money are greedy,” list your emotions about this belief and the behaviors you engage in that are fueled by this belief. Do you find yourself being frivolous with your money because you have negative feelings about those who are wealthy and don’t want to belong to their category?
Let’s pause here and write down your belief and then your behavior fueled by the belief.
How was it? Beliefs are impactful and powerful. Additionally, we have many beliefs about money, so you might find yourself in the middle of the spectrum or at times doing things and wishing you were doing the complete opposite. You can also hold opposing beliefs at the same time: Money is both good and bad or essential and bad. According to an article on New York Times, “Rethinking Money, Not as Good or Bad but as a tool.” It is a tool that can be used to increase your options of maintaining and/or increasing your standard of living. Another research, “Buying Time Promotes Happiness” has also found that when people spend money to save time, it can reduce their overall stress.
In summary, it’s helpful to take a deep dive into your subconscious mind to uncover your narratives. What new beliefs about money would you like to hold to fuel you in the same direction of your goal?
Exercise III: Write your new beliefs.
If you want or need help uncovering your limiting beliefs to create new narratives, we are happy to partner with you on this journey.