Do you often blame money for your problems? Does talking or even thinking about your financial situation make you feel uneasy?
For many people, this is a very real issue. According to a report from FINRA surveying more than 19,000 U.S. adults ranging from 21 to 62 years old, 60 percent of the respondents said they felt anxious when thinking about their finances. From those same results, 50 percent also indicated that even discussing money made them feel stressed.
Unfortunately, it can be a hurdle to overcome your financial challenges until you feel comfortable confronting them first. This begs the question of whether your problem is actually with money itself or perhaps with your mindset on the topic.
As it’s often been said, when you have negative thoughts about something, then you should expect nothing other than a negative outcome. So in this post, let’s flip the script and change your perspective!
Here are seven steps for how you can fix your relationship with money and ease the stress of your finances.
1. How Did You Get Here in the First Place?
Oftentimes without even realizing it, something from your past has caused you to have this negative view of money. Psychologists claim that since the bulk of our brain development happens early in life that our outlook and money habits are set by the time we turn seven years old.
Think how you might have been influenced by a family member (like a parent) whom you watched struggle to make ends meet. Or perhaps maybe you grew up in a relatively poor environment. Your attitudes may have even been shaped by some bad financial situations you made as a young adult (such as misusing credit cards).
No matter what happened, what’s important is to focus on your “why”. The sooner we can identify what the real issue is, the sooner we can do something about it.
2. Stop Seeing Money as the Enemy
Now that you have your reason in mind, take a step back and look at the situation objectively.
- If your family struggled financially during your upbringing, does that mean you still have to now?
- If you had a friend who invested and lost their money, does that really mean that all investments are bad?
- If you made mistakes when you were young, does this mean you can’t make wiser choices today?
In every situation, the theme to realize here is that money wasn’t the culprit. Perhaps it was a lack of planning, perceiving the risk, or just plain inexperience.
Regardless, that doesn’t mean you have to repeat these same mistakes. You are an individual and have the power every day to change your fate.
3. Adopt an Abundance Mindset
There’s a famous quote that says, “The secret to having it all is believing you already do”. If the reason you think you can’t earn more money, get a better job, or spend less than you already are is that you believe there aren’t any good opportunities out there, then what you need is to change your way of thinking.
As of the end of 2021, over 10 million job openings were waiting to be fulfilled. On top of that, side hustles like freelancing, food delivery, and grocery shopping for other people are more in demand than ever.
There are literally thousands of different ways you could change your financial situation right now. But until you shed those negative thoughts, you’re never going to recognize that they exist or see one when it comes your way.
4. Stay in the Company of Positive People
Have you ever talked with a coworker, friend, or even a family member who complained all the time about their job or financial problems? When the people we interact with are negative about money, it not only alters the way we think but it also our energy to react to tough financial situations.
Dr. Richard Toney from the site Everyday Power sums this up by demonstrating that negative friends are:
- Do not have your best interest in mind
- Do NOT want you to be successful
By contrast, when you talk with someone who has found success with money, it tends to lift your morale. Since you see them as equal, you begin to believe that if they are doing okay with money, then why shouldn’t you? In other words, it gives you hope and the opportunity to learn a tip or two that perhaps you can use to change your own situation.
5. Determine What You Want
If you could wave a magic wand and have the relationship you wanted with money, what would it look it? Answers like “be rich” or “successful” are nice but far too vague. What you need is a SMART goal.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. In other words, instead of saying “I’d like to be rich”, you could be more direct and make a SMART goal that says “I’d like to retire with $1 million by the time I’m 55 years old”. See the difference?
The advantage of SMART goals is that they turn the intangible to tangible. When you assign a specific number or age to what you want to accomplish, the finish line is more clearly defined. Not only will this help you to achieve it, but also in developing a path to get you there.
6. Design a Roadmap for Transformation
Your SMART goal is a good starting point. But to get to where you’ll want to go, you’ll need to lay out the steps it will take to get there.
For instance, if you want to retire by a certain age, then determine how much you need to invest each month to get there. From there, you can break this down into smaller sub-steps like maybe finding a different job or side hustle to help you earn more.
If you need help determining how much money you’ll need for long-term goals like retirement, buying a house, or paying for your children’s college education, then let the Buxfer Retirement Planner help. You can create a scenario and the Planner will forecast your net worth over time, taking into account factors such as inflation, investment returns, and taxes.
7. Take Action!
Now that you have the right mindset, a SMART goal, and a roadmap, the final step is to go do something about it! Start taking action immediately and doing what’s necessary to get the ball rolling.
Don’t wait for the perfect time or for someone to force you into doing it. That’s never going to happen. Only you can force yourself to change your position in life.
As you get going, don’t stop there. Progress is something that needs to be checked on and tracked periodically so that you’ll know if you’re getting to where you want to go. Be sure to take a few minutes every week to check your finances and reflect on where your attitudes towards them stand. The closer you come to reaching your goals, the sooner you’ll have a more positive and beneficial relationship with money.
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