How to Have a Healthy Relationship with Money
While working on our relationships with family and friends, we should also work on our relationship with money.
If you find yourself feeling anxious about your finances on a regular basis, it might be time to work on healing your relationship with your finances. No matter how much fear or worry you currently have about your funds, shift your thinking away from scarcity and toward abundance for greater control, peace, and stability.
What's Your "Money Story?"
Just as in any relationship, the first step to improving it is to figure out where you are now. And that starts with your personal story about money.
We all have stories that we tell ourselves about finances: how we feel about them, what they're for, and how much we deserve (or don't). Often, these stories come from childhood experiences. Depending on how you grew up, you may be more cautious or worried about your financial situation - causing anxiety around earning and spending.
Your financial story, whether positive or negative, plays a major role in your financial future. These narratives shape the dynamics of our spending, earning, saving, and giving in a myriad of ways. For instance, if you're always thinking about what you can't afford, you might be more vulnerable to advertising, causing us to overspend in an attempt to "keep up with the Joneses." When your relationship with your bank account revolves around a scarcity mindset, it could end up affecting your career. You could end up taking the first job that comes your way, even if it doesn't pay what you're worth - causing you to overwork yourself and miss out on crucial creative and financial opportunities. Dig deeper by asking yourself the following questions:
- When I think about money in general, what are the two main emotions that come up?
- Do I ever feel guilty about spending, or for not saving enough?
- What three words would I use to describe my current financial situation?
After you've gotten a good handle on how you think about your financial situation, get specific with what you want from it in the future. Write down the answers to the following questions:
- How much money would I like to save each month?
- What are three big purchases I'd like to make over the next five years?
- In my ideal world, I feel _________ when I think about finances.
- What one or two non-necessities do I most want to save up for?
- What are my three primary short-term goals in terms of finances?
Regularly "checking in" with yourself like this is a good way to make sure your financial path aligns with your goals. The good news is that once you discover which narratives might be weighing you down, you can start to change them. You can set clear financial goals and begin to tell yourself a different story: one with a happy ending.
Moving Toward an Abundance Mindset
A healthy relationship with your finances is based on abundance rather than scarcity. An abundance mindset assumes that economic stability is readily available to you. Your "financial story" might currently be fear-based, but a paradigm shift toward a more positive mindset is possible.
One way to begin adopting an abundance mindset about your relationship with your finances is through daily positive affirmations. Words have power. Every time you tell yourself something negative about money, you're handing the financial reins over to those limiting thoughts.
To shift your thinking, come up with a few things you wish were true about your financial situation. This could be something small: "I'm earning enough every day to pay all of my bills." Or something bigger, like "My debt is completely paid off."
Write these positive affirmations down, and regularly repeat them to yourself as if they're already true. This will cause a subtle shift in your mindset toward positivity about money and away from pain, guilt, and anxiety. In turn, affirmations can affect your financial decisions for the better without your even trying.
Another way to approach your relationship with money with a spirit of abundance is through generosity. The next time you're at a restaurant, tip your server that extra 10 percent on top of your usual tip. Treat someone you love to a movie, or donate to a cause you care about. When generosity rather than fear starts to shape your interactions with money, the emotional and financial benefits tend to come back to you tenfold.