It’s February, but we’re not thinking about romantic relationships. We’re here to ask you about your relationship with money. Do you feel like you have a positive, healthy relationship with your finances?
If your answer is “no,” you’re not alone. In fact, a positive relationship with money is usually the exception, not the rule. Most people experience negative feelings about their money, like spending guilt, debt shame, and retirement anxiety.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. It is possible to build a healthy relationship with your finances. Here are some ways to develop a positive view of money.
Reconsider Your Perception
How do you view your money? Are you focused on earning as much as possible or having a certain amount in your retirement account? It’s not necessarily bad to want to make a lot of money, but when that number becomes the entire focus of your financial decisions, negative emotions usually follow.
If you constantly feel sad or guilty that you aren’t earning or saving or investing “enough,” take a step back. Remind yourself that money is just a tool. It’s not the entire point of your life, and it doesn’t reflect your value as a person. Shifting your perspective can help you fight back against those negative thoughts.
Separate Your Decisions From Your Emotions
Do you feel anxious or guilty when you spend money or happy when you get a bonus or a raise? Do you feel a spike of envy when you think about people who have more money than you? Are you ashamed of your debt? Feeling emotional about your finances is something that most people experience, and it isn’t necessarily bad.
Money touches every part of your life, so it’s natural to have feelings about your finances. You feel secure when you know you can pay your bills each month or buy the perfect gifts for your kids. And you feel worried when you see rising grocery bills. Those feelings are normal, and there’s nothing wrong with experiencing them.
The trick is to put those feelings aside when it’s time to make financial decisions. Emotions can cloud your judgment, so you need to remove them from the equation (as much as possible) when you’re deciding what to do with your money.
Working with a third party, like a financial planner, can make it much easier to separate your emotions from your finances. A financial advisor can give you an impartial list of the options you have so it’s easier to make a practical, informed decision.
Find Your Worth Outside Your Finances
When you feel worried about your retirement funds or ashamed of your paycheck, take a minute to stop and redirect your thoughts. You are not your paycheck. Your value doesn’t lie in your retirement portfolio. Those things are just tools that you can use to live the life you want, but they don’t define you.
Building a positive relationship with money means figuring out how to use it in ways that are right for you and your family. Will this purchase support your life in a meaningful way? Can you meet this goal faster if you save a little more each month?
Questions like that are easier to answer when you know exactly what you value. Having that perspective allows you to use your money to live your life according to your priorities.
Think Beyond the Dollar Amount
Finally, it helps to find other ways to define the value of money. Think about what your finances provide in your life. For example, let’s say you have your groceries delivered each week. You can think about the literal cost of that service, or you can think about what you really get in return: more free time, less decision fatigue, fewer impulse purchases, and a lighter schedule. When you have all those aspects to consider, it provides a more meaningful view of the value of your money.
Feeling Good About Your Finances
Most people experience some negative emotions when they think about their finances. It’s easy to fall prey to anxiety, envy, shame, and guilt. But you can learn to love your money in a healthy way as long as you find the right perspective.
When you get negative feelings about your money, remind yourself of the positives. Your finances don’t define you, and earning money isn’t the end goal of your life. Rather, money is a tool that enables you to live a life that aligns with your values. Your finances support your life, and that means you don’t have to feel guilty when you spend money on the things that matter to you.
At Guiding Wealth, we help clients figure out exactly how to match their finances with their priorities. If you want help building a positive view of your money, we’re ready to help.
A Certified Financial Planner™ can help you create a financial plan that supports your unique goals, whether you’re just learning to budget or preparing for retirement. To start a conversation with our team, schedule a consultation online or call us at 214-810-3835.