How To Have Better Personal Finances in Three Steps (Part 1)
Have you ever wondered how other people seem to always have more money than you? Why you can never seem to save more than $500, yet other people in your situation find a way? Does asking for payment make you a touch queasy?
Having better finances doesn’t start with balance sheets, or monthly bills, or any math at all. It starts with understanding your relationship with money, how money and your lifestyle are related, and how to get to the lifestyle you want to live. Mastering these three steps will give you the tools you need to transform your personal finances.Today, we will be taking a look at the first step, understanding your relationship with money.
STEP ONE: UNDERSTAND YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH MONEY
Personal finance starts with understanding money; but, to understand money, you must go all the way back to your parents and the financial attitudes you learned at the knee. When you grew up, how did the adults around you interact with money? Chances are, money wasn’t in abundance. As a child, there were things you couldn’t have because your family didn’t have the money. Whether that feeling happened occasionally or every day, you grew up in a home where money was a scarcity.
Talking to your parents about money, you may have come away with some negative feelings about rich people or being rich. Maybe you were told having too much money would “spoil” you anyways, or rich people made their money by being greedy or cheating people. An offhand comment to an adult can have a lasting impression on a child, to the point where many people own their own business, provide a product or service, and still feel uncomfortable asking to be paid. Money is a resource for everyone to use. That discomfort signals a skewed emotional relationship with money.
If you drove down to the ocean with a big truck, two big trucks, even a small fleet of tankers, and if you filled them with water, could you stand on the shore and see a difference in the water level? No, of course not, because there’s so much water in the ocean that even a large amount of water to you hardly makes a difference in the big picture.
We live in an ocean of money all around us. If you say to yourself, “I just want to make enough money to cover my bills,” it’s like you’re saying, “I’m just going to fill up this bucket from the ocean.” You’re limiting yourself despite abundance. You aren’t allowing yourself money to save, money to travel, money to experience your life. You won’t be able to live the lifestyle of your dreams because you limit yourself to a single bucket. Limiting yourself can have concrete effects of turning away opportunities out of fear or not pursuing a new line of income because you feel like you’re asking for too much.
Imagine $1 million dollars in your checking account right now. Did you just get a little pang of anxiety? Do you feel like you could be the one to put it there? Or did an alarm go off saying, “you’ve never made $1 million before, and you’ll never be able to make that kind of money?” Instead of shying away, push yourself to see what you could accomplish.
TALK IT OUT
The easiest way to start thinking about your relationship with money is to talk it out with someone who will ask the right questions. If you need help getting the conversation started, contact us today to schedule a free strategy session. An hour phone call can help you hurdle the first obstacle of better personal finances: understanding your relationship with money.
In Part Two, we’ll talk about the relationship between your income and your lifestyle. Understanding how the two need to work together will help you make sound financial decisions.