If you struggle with your finances – whether it’s keeping track of your spending or you’re facing major debt issues – you will know (once the panic passes), that there are concrete things you can do to change the situation.
But you may find that you’ve taken the steps (like keeping a diary of spending) then, when the immediate concern has vanished, you slip back into old habits. Or you may find that although you have no major financial issues, you just don’t feel like a money ‘person’. You don’t like thinking about money (it’s boring, it’s scary). Money is not your friend. You can think of better, more interesting ways to spend your time than on paperwork or pensions.
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, you find that money doesn’t come calling very often.
If that’s you then, like me, there might be something deeper going on than simply not keeping an eye on your receipts.
Sometimes you only have to talk out the soundtrack running in your head to realise how ridiculous it is. As I made excuses to financial coach Simonne Gnessen about why I look at money they way I do, I started to listen to my own voice, and question my attitude. There was the first step; I’d recognised there was something odd about my approach to money.
So, what's your money mindset?
These are some answers to the question, ‘How would you describe your relationship with money? – which one best describes yours?
- ‘Out of control. I feel guilty when I spend any, even for essentials.’
- ‘Uncomfortable, unsure.’
- ‘Strained. I have to juggle – I’m always borrowing from one place to fix another.’
- ‘Pathetic, deluded. Rarely have a clue about what’s actually in my bank account.’
- ‘Complex – a love/hate relationship.’
To uncover your feelings around money, write out ‘Money is…’ 20 times on a piece of paper, filling in the blank space each time as you go with whatever comes to mind.
Here are some further questions to ask yourself about your money belief system in order to clearly establish your mindset:
- What self-limiting belief do you hold about money?
- How did this belief arise?
- What do you do to reinforce this belief?
- Describe the opposite, positive belief and put it in the present tense. For example, ‘I am completely in control of my money’.
- How would you feel if you had this new belief?
- How would you change your behaviour to reinforce this positive belief?
- What actions can you commit to now to support it?
Photograph: Simon Critchley/Ikon Images/Corbis