Everyone has a relationship with money, whether you are consciously aware of it or not. Similar to your relationship with food, exercise, or other habits in your life, your relationship with money can be anywhere on the scale between good, needs improvement, and toxic.
What is a relationship with money? It combines your mindset about money and wealth, the actions you take, your morals surrounding the concept of money, and any other patterns of thought about finances. It is really important to understand what your current relationship with money is before you can start building a better one.
Signs of Having an Unhealthy Relationship With Money
Not sure if you need to improve your relationship with money? There are quite a few signs of having a bad or toxic relationship with money or making money that you might not be completely aware of. Some common signs include:
- Feeling guilty every time you spend money
- Looking down on people who either have a lot of money or very little of it
- Connecting a certain amount of money with happiness
- Resenting people who were born with a lot of money
- Feeling as if your money controls you
- Experiences a lot of financial anxiety or shame
Reflect on Where Your Money Mindset Comes From
To start improving your relationship with money, you first need to understand where your money mindset comes from. Believe it or not, it typically starts in adolescence, often the result of what your parents or other adults you are around told you about money.
Get out a journal or notebook and start writing down how you feel about money, whether you think it helps or hurts you, its impact on society, people who have money, and anything you can think of. Once you do that, go through each point you write down and consider when and where it came from.
Was it something you picked up from your parents? Did the news or social media convince you it was true? Is it based on your own life experience or feeling of lack?
When you can figure out where your mindset about money comes from, it gives you a better idea of where to start.
Be Open to Changes In Your Financial Situation
If you want to have a good relationship with money and improve your financial situation, you need to be open to it. Some changes will probably have to take place, whether that is with your budget, how you view money, saving vs investing, and many other changes. If you are not open to doing things differently, nothing will ever change.
Improving your relationship with money is different for everyone, but for you, it might mean sticking to a tighter budget and saving for financial goals. It may mean a career change, going back to school, or finding a second stream of income. It might be more about shifting your mindset itself and having a more positive outlook on your future financial situation.
Set Small, Achievable Money Goals
A good way to improve your relationship with money is by setting small, achievable money goals. These are goals that won’t take too much time or effort but can start increasing your confidence in making and saving money.
What you need to see is that you have control over your own finances, from making money to how you spend or save it. If you can create some money goals and figure out a way to achieve them, you will start to really see how much control you have over your own financial situation.
Focus on How Money Benefits You
A really important practice is to consider the ways in which money benefits you the most. What GOOD is it doing for you? Don’t think about your lack or anything negative, even if you don’t have a lot of money right now. Just focus on all the benefits of money.
Make a list of all the amazing things money can do for you. If you don’t have a lot of it right now, come up with an amount you would love to have, then write down how it would change your life. What would you do if you won the lottery? If you had a career that paid 7 figures a year, how would you spend it? What would improve your life if your financial situation was better?
Try These Money Journal Prompts
The last recommendation we have is to start writing in your journal about your money mindset. In addition to writing down what it is and where you think it comes from, there are some writing prompts that can help you get started on shifting your mindset and improving your relationship with money.
Here are some to start with:
- What do you spend your money on the most?
- What in your life is negatively impacted by lack of money?
- How would more money in your life improve your situation?
- What are your beliefs about people with money?
- Do you think it is hard to earn money?
- How are you about saving your money?