When you think about money, how does it make you feel? What goes through your mind? Do you get anxious? Or are you filled with excitement when you think of your financial possibilities? Maybe at one point you’ve thought “I’m horrible with money.” Did you know that the thoughts you have about money will influence your money behaviours? This has to do with your money mindset.
When we reach adulthood, the way we think and feel about money has been formed in our brains. On the surface, personal finances can seem simple: don’t spend beyond your means, invest a portion of your income, etc. However, the execution is much more complicated as there are other variables like our emotions, fears, habits, and consistency that play a role in our actions and decision-making. If you are used to having thoughts around lack and scarcity, it is possible to change this to help you get rich!
What is a Money Mindset?
Your money mindset is your attitude, beliefs, and perspective about money. It’s the ultimate instructor that determines your approach to managing your finances. This goes for everything from savings, spending, and goal setting.
We have cognitive biases as part of our money mindset. These are the preconceived notions we have in our minds based on the information we have, think we have, or don’t have. These preconceived notions help us process information and make sense of our world. Our biases around money get formed at an early age as we observe and learn from our parents/guardians, relatives, peers, communities through their money behaviours and discussions. We are also influenced by the financial sector through banks, businesses, and the advice they give us.
As we get older, our biases, attitudes, beliefs, perspectives, and values become a part of who we are. The longer we continue with the same money mindset, such as that we “suck at money,” or we’ll “always be broke,” the more difficult it can be to retrain our minds or unlearn what we’ve previously believed to be true. Therefore it can take a more drastic shift to change our behaviours because we actually have to build new neurological connections in our brains. Depending on how we grew up, our minds can be FULL of thoughts viewing money in a negative light. But it IS possible to change – you have the capacity and ability to do it!
Why Does my Money Mindset Matter?
If you believe you’ll never have enough, well chances are that you really will never have enough. If you go to meet someone new and you’ve already told yourself beforehand you won’t like them, this could cause you to be less likely to talk to them or get to know them, which reinforces your thinking that you don’t like them. Same thing goes with money, if you believe you’ll never get out of credit card debt, you might be more likely to continue to rack up the balance because you’ll never pay it off anyway. Then the debt continues to grow, which reinforces your belief that you’ll never get out of debt.
Your money mindset is the leader in how you manage your money. It plays a direct part in the behaviours and actions you do. Your money mindset helps determine what kind of role money has in your life. And ultimately, managing your money is an important life skill – and the base of that management is our thinking, awareness, and feelings towards money.
How Can I Create a Strong Money Mindset to Help me Get Rich?
- Be open to learning new things. Build your knowledge arsenal! Make learning about money a part of your lifelong growth. Money will always be a part of your life! Do your own research and learn how money works for you, but also on a greater scale – economically and globally, and learn what impacts it has on you! Read a money mindset or personal finance book by an author you feel you can relate to.
- Face the numbers. The scarier confronting your numbers (income, debt, and bank accounts) is for you, the more likely that you need to do it. Continue to avoid it, and you’ll continue to fear it. We can also be afraid because when a behaviour is new (such as checking your bank account everyday), we are heading into new territory. Confidence grows with experience. Working on your money mindset involves confronting the uncomfortable. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. If you don’t do anything differently, nothing will change. As you manage your finances, you’ll notice the thoughts and actions that contribute to your growth, and also the ones that inhibit it.
- Embrace and practice gratitude. Take 5 minutes every morning to write down 2 or 3 things you’re grateful for in a gratitude journal or diary. Use daily affirmations in your life in the present tense. As you increase your wealth, share and give back to the people, organizations, and/or causes that mean most to you.
- Address and acknowledge scarcity thinking when it pops up. When you have those “I’ll never have enough,” or “I’ll never be in a healthy financial place,” thoughts, think about your experiences around money growing up. What were you taught or not taught about money? Was it discussed at all? How might what you were taught around money as a child be affecting you now, and are your current beliefs actually truly yours or what you learned as a child? Recognizing these thoughts when they arise is a step forward.
- Picture your future self and immerse yourself in your vision. Close your eyes and imagine your dream life. What truly makes you happy? What do you really want? What type of behavioural and mindset changes do you need to take to get there? Write down your goals to remind yourself of where you’d like to be. You can be grateful for what you have now but also be hopeful for the future at the same time.