Money is actually quite simple – we make money to spend money. However, our emotions impact our ability to manage money effectively often causing distress.
As I continued in my financial wellness journey, I’ve discovered five money beliefs that profoundly impacted my financial decision making. After addressing these limiting beliefs, I was able to make great strides in creating and living my dream life.
I share these lessons to help you improve your relationship with money.
Improving Your Relationship with Money
In my book, You Only Live Once: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life, I shared the 3 stages that begin with Awareness. In this stage, I focus on helping you “get in the know” about your values, habits, and beliefs around money.
Money is a tool
Money is not the end goal. Your purpose in life isn’t to accumulate a stash of cash. I emphasize that money is a tool that helps you serve your purpose. When you understand and accept money as a tool, you begin to use it to build your dream life.
Think of money as a hammer. It can help you build or tear down a wall. So, money can help build or break your dreams. Money as a tool cannot control you, therefore you must learn to control – use – money.
You must acquire the skill to use the tool and that is done through lessons, reading, and learning from experts. Learn to manage money to build a life.
Money is not evil
I grew up believing money was a necessary evil. It created financial behaviors that made me spend money as soon as I made it.
If money is evil, why would I want to hold on to it? It would be immoral. If money is evil, what kind of people have lots of money? Bad people. I didn’t want to be an immoral bad person so I didn’t prioritize creating wealth. I’m sorry to break it to you, but money is neither good nor evil.
Money is a tool and how you use money says a lot more about your values. Think of money as a magnifying glass. It will magnify your values and beliefs.
Money equates to wealth
I want to focus on material wealth. Wealth is measured by how much you own of value. It’s the size of your asset and your ability to cover your living expenses well into the future. Wealth also limits the impact of financial stress because money gives you access to expert support.
Wealth is about how much you’ve saved and not about how much you’ve spent. I once believed spending equated to wealth. You cannot make yourself wealthy by spending mindlessly.
Wealth comes from an Old English word meaning to be well. Having wealth means you have more control over your time and have more options to support wellbeing. So, save more, grow income and assets, lower expenses, and spend mindfully.
Money can buy happiness
Happiness isn’t a destination but a result of choices. When you’re using your money well and working towards your vision for life the result are feelings of happiness.
Because money affords you the necessities of life: food, shelter, medicine, and clothing. Money is an opportunity to realize dreams. When you believe money can buy happiness you’re a bit more mindful of how you spend it. You even want to make more money to use as a tool to achieve life goals – things that matter and add value in your life.
Overconsumption and mindless consumption cannot buy happiness. You just end up with more stuff and potentially more debt. Learn the difference between buying what you want and need versus overindulgence.
Money can be created
Most of us exchange our time for a paycheck. We value money more than our time and many spend money on things that don’t matter. I used to believe the only way money could be created was to exchange more hours at work. That all changed when I finally realized I could make money with money.
When you believe money can be created not “worked for” you begin to find ways to make more money without allocating more time.
For instance, saving money early gives you the benefit of compound interest where you’re earning interest on interest. You also begin to invest money in the stock market, take advantage of employer retirement plans, and make money off your talents through side hustles.
Acknowledge your existing money beliefs to reassess your relationship with money. Uncovering the reasons behind your financial behaviors can help you achieve your financial and life goals.
What is your relationship with money?