Money is rarely about money. Money is all about behavior. Your habits, thoughts, and feelings about money are going to determine how you spend money and what your financial goals are. So what’s a financial mindset? A financial mindset is a predetermined set of beliefs about money. We all have them. Even if you can’t verbalize what your mindset is, it’s still there unconsciously. Some common money beliefs are ‘life’s all about what you own‘, ‘retirement is far away‘, and/or ‘my financial problems are _______’s fault‘. Recognize any of these in your own life?
It’s important to take time to identify what your financial mindset is. Why? Because your financial mindset will either help you succeed or it will hold you back. It’s an either-or situation. And it’s not enough to just label old financial mindsets as false, you have to replace them with a new mindset.
Here are four common financial mindsets, with the best replacement options:
Your life is about what you own Your life is not about purchases
Americans are consumers. This isn’t new news. We easily get caught up with what’s new, next, and just beyond our price range. We justify like it’s our job. But this cycle of constantly upgrading is hurting your financial life. I talk about cutting your dependence on your income a lot because of how important it is, but cutting your dependence on things is vital too. Learning to be okay with an older model of car and phone will make your financial life a lot less complicated.
Saving money is for people who have extra Understand the importance of an emergency fund
Your financial life boils down to spending less than you make. It’s really simple. But what often happens is people spend up to the very last penny they make which doesn’t leave room for error in the future. Emergencies happen and you may not have an extra $500 this month to cover the appliance that was fried by lightening. This is how debt happens, so turn your mind to a saving mentality. Saving a portion of your income not only lessens your dependence on your income but it also prevents you from going into debt in the future. Your first goal is $1,000. From there, work up to three months worth of expenses.
I can afford the payment Adopt the phrase “I can’t afford it”
Being able to afford the payment doesn’t mean you can afford the item. Making the phrase “I can’t afford it” an every day part of your life will prevent unplanned spending. It will also foster a mindset of spending less.
Someone/Something is to blame Don’t waste your time looking for others to blame
It’s possible someone stole your identity or something, but outside of some crazy scenario, you and only you are responsible for your financial life. All the decisions, big and little, you’ve made along the way are what have led you to your financial spot. The less time you waste blaming others for where you are, the faster you’ll be able to move on.
What beliefs are you willing to stand by? And what beliefs need replaced with something new?
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.