*The following is an article that I wrote in partnership with Digital Federal Credit Union, DCU*
If you want to reach your money goals like saving & investing more, paying off debt or buying your first home, improving your actual relationship with money is key. Your relationship with money comes from how you feel and think about money, essentially it’s your money mindset.
- Identify your limiting beliefs about money
We all have different beliefs about money. While some can be good beliefs, some can actually be counterproductive to achieving our goals. First, we need to be vulnerable with ourselves and identify our true beliefs and thoughts about money. Not what we wished we felt about money, but what we actually believe and feel about money. To do that, we need to be honest and self reflective. When you think of the word “money”, what are the first words or phrases that come to mind? If you think about someone who is wealthy or has a lot of money, what assumptions do you make about their character? For example, the first word that may come to mind when you think about money is “hard” “complicated” “bills” , or maybe the first words that come to your mind when you think about someone being wealthy is “selfish” or “untrustworthy”. Are your first thoughts and feelings about money positive or negative? If they are negative, then you most likely will have a more contentious relationship with how you earn, spend & manage money. Many of our money beliefs come from how we were raised with money , from our culture or environmental influences. You won’t be able to erase these limiting beliefs overnight but awareness and the truth about how you feel about money is an important first step. We can’t change what we don’t know or acknowledge.
- Reflect on Your Positive Money Experiences
While you may have had some negative experiences when it comes to money like getting into debt over something you regret or not feeling like you earn enough, to help improve your money mindset, it’s key to think about the positive experiences you’ve had with money. Was there a time in your life that having money (and it doesn’t have to be a lot of money) helped you in some way? Were you able to pay for something important , help a friend in need? Even if you can’t pin point a specific thing- think about what having money now does for you. Does it allow you to have a safe place to sleep every night or are you able to put your kids into a sports program that they love? You may not be exactly where you want to be as it relates to your various money goals but you most likely are benefiting in some way from the money you currently have. When we can appreciate the positive aspects of money, we can help change our behavior and mindset around money.
- Surround yourself w/ positive influences that motivate you
Are the people around you or the messages you hear about money on a day to day basis positive or negative? Do you have an in person or virtual support system where you feel motivated to reach your goals? If not, it’s important to seek out these positive influences so you can feel encouraged in your money journey. In your real life, is there a friend or family member that you can share your money goals with? Sometimes, opening up and mentioning a goal or new thing that you learned about money to someone will help them open back up to you. You can also seek our positive money influences online. There are tons of money focused facebook groups or people on social media who are sharing their debt pay off stories and financial journeys that you can connect with. You can also start listening to podcasts or reading more books around money and personal development. This allows you to have accountability and encouragement on your journey and helps further improve your money mindset.
Where we bank also impacts our relationship with money. Is it somewhere that you feel seen & heard, do they have your best interest as a priority? I don’t know about you but I want to bank where I feel supported and appreciated. Knowing that I’m putting my money in a place where my money matters and there is a commitment to helping me and the community is important. When banking with a credit union, like DCU, you are joining an institution committed to putting people first and making a difference in the communities where their members live and work. They have over 950,000 members nationwide. It’s a win-win situation, a win for your wallet and a win for your community.
Overall, how we think & feel about money matters a lot. By exploring & improving the inner workings of our mind & feelings about money, we are able to accomplish our external money goals.