A Financial Fairy Tale…
Most people have an emotional tie to money in one way or another, but digging down to the root of your emotions and how they affect your spending habits could be a major building block in your quest for financial security and prosperity long term.
The three emotional traits you see below are commonly discussed in the world of financial mindset, and for good reason – the basic elements of Commitment, Fear, and Happiness can apply to all of us in one way or another when it comes to our checkbooks.
Which of the scenarios below best describe you?
While many people think of financial planning as a dull but necessary activity, Kathleen Grace, managing director of United Capital Financial Advisers in Boca Raton, Fla., and author of “Prince Not So Charming: A Romantic Tale of Financial Independence,” says fiction can be a fun way to guide people and their financial decisions.
“We’re all emotional creatures, just like the characters in classic fairy tales,” says Grace. “If you understand how you make decisions then it’s easier to step back and see whether you’re making choices based on your emotional mindset or based on a smart financial plan.”
Grace cites Cinderella as an example of someone whose mind is skewed to commitment. “Cinderella is the type of character who wants her marriage to work above all else and will make financial decisions on that basis,” she says.
Prince Charming, on the other hand, offers an example of someone whose money mindset is focused on happiness. “Most people think of women as shoppers and spenders, but a lot of men are spenders too. They may spend money less frequently, but their purchases tend to be bigger.”
Commitment. If your primary trait is commitment, Grace says you’re a giver who wants everyone else to be happy.
“If you can mix in a little fear with this trait to keep your budget on track, then you’ll have a nice balance in your life,” says Grace.
Fear. People who are fearful often live below their means, says Grace, which is a very positive trait. However, they’re also slow to make decisions, which could be detrimental to their financial well-being.
Happiness. “People who have a happiness mindset are decisive and can make decisions quickly,” says Grace. “They tend to enjoy life and live in the moment, which is fine if you have plenty of money. However, if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, that’s not so great.”
– via DailyFinance.com
Know Your Money Mind
Branching out beyond those three basic emotions means it’s time to look into some slightly more varied Money Mind Types.
Why do these avatars of spenders matter? Because knowing our own money mind – and our emotional relationship with money – will help us understand why we do the things we do. By examining your habits and the impetus behind them, you can break the hold of bad patterns and create for yourself the financial life you truly want and deserve.
You have no idea exactly what’s in your bank account or what bills are coming your way and, frankly, you don’t really want to know. If you did, you’d probably have to take some action you’d hate, and anyway, money is too dreary/incomprehensible/boring/anxiety-inducing (insert adjective of choice). Until the inevitable crisis comes.
You regularly buy things you cannot afford — and that you possibly don’t even want. The hangover hits when the bank statements or credit card bills come in. “Never again,” you promise, gritting your teeth… until the next time.
You manage your own money well, but you’re married to, or otherwise involved with, a Spender or Big Dealer. You need to be needed, so you consistently foot the bills for your partner’s financial irresponsibility, saying, “This is the last time I’m bailing you out.” Or it may be the opposite problem: You’re under the control of someone who decides how you are “allowed” to earn or spend.
You have no time to enjoy your life or your money, not yet. You will one day – when you get the right job or when the children are grown up or when you retire. Then you will live a nice, wealthy life. But in the meantime…
If you take a financial step forward, it’s only a matter of time before you are knocked back. As soon as you get close to any kind of worldly success, something happens: You mess up an opportunity, decide to leave your job, have a sudden need to make a major expenditure — and wind up as strapped as before.
Such patterns of behavior have little to do with the actual amount of money earned or spent; they occur at every level of income, from the poorest to the richest.
How you do money is how you do life.
Money is not something separate from you. You might bemoan it, disparage it, or despise it; you might pursue it, crave it, or accumulate it; you might be willing to sacrifice good relationships or good health or good values to get your hands on it; or you might give it away as fast as you can.
But however you handle your money, you two are in a relationship, inextricably hitched, until the day you die.
Wouldn’t you like to improve yours?
– via The Simple Dollar
Do you see a Money Mind type above that applies to you? Have you thought very deeply about your own emotional relationship to money – and how it affects your spending habits?