Definition: A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person’s responses to and interpretations of situations.
What is your mindset around money?
Here are five quick questions, answer them truthfully. Then ask yourself is my debt a result of circumstances or poor decision making.
- Are you honest with yourself and/or your spouse about your financial purchases?
- Are you hiding on-line shopping purchases?
- Do you have a secret account?
- Are you justifying purchases that are really not necessary?
- Are you using shopping as an outlet to make yourself feel better?
The emotions that are tied to money can be very overwhelming. Before you tackle your financial situation, take a deeper look at why you are in the financial position you are. I am a firm believer that most debt occurs for one of two reasons: 1. Circumstances; or 2. poor decision making.
Sometimes, really bad stuff happens to really good people and it does not matter how financial savvy you are, or how great the communication is between spouses, or how fantastic you are at managing your finances you can still end up in financial trouble. The people who are in financial trouble due to an unforeseen circumstance (for example the loss of an income because of an ill child) just need some clear, helpful support, an advocate and a plan and they will be back on their feet financially in a short period of time.
Poor decision making however is repeated over and over until you learn new habits and change your mind set when it comes to finances. The current financial trend is to adopt an attitude of:
- “I deserve”
- “Debt is the new norm”
- “I will pay off my student loans later, for now check out my new i-phone !”
Having a credit limit is not your money, having a student loan is not your money, a credit card is not your money. Until the mindset changes, whether it is coming from, I deserve, or I will always be in debt, it is very difficult to change one’s spending habits.
Look at Money Differently
If you truly want to be put yourself on the path to financial freedom then treat the money you have earned from your paycheque as your income, that’s it. Treat all other forms of credit as the banks’ money, which you will HAVE to pay back with interest, and interest, and more interest, until you are very old, leave the country, or file for bankruptcy, (right student loans are not including in bankruptcy). OR you can start right from the beginning with a success mindset and do not carry this debt to begin with.
Yes with a little discipline, the right mind set, and a clear picture of what you want you can set the tone for a life of financial success. Take my client “John.” I started working with him when he was only 19. He was attending university and had two large student loans. He had a clear (albeit ambitious) financial goal: no debt when he graduated from university. We worked together to develop a plan to give him the best chance to achieve his goal: we divided up his student loan into needs, books/rent/travel, expense to and from school, food etc… The plan included $40 spending money per week for all other events/activities and the remainder was never used. After three year of university he took one year off and work his #@# off, following the same plan, $40 per week for entertainment and following the budget for food etc…. Four years later after implementing the plan he had graduated and he continued to follow the same plan while working in his field. Only six months after graduating we celebrated that he was debt free, all student loans paid for. What a success story! He has an amazing well-paying job in his field, and no debt. Why did he succeed? He had the right mindset and a clear goal!
Money is such a personal issue and we all carry our history when it comes to financial successes and failures. You cannot change your past but with the right mindset around money your future can be a financial success. Always wanting more, and never feeling that you have enough has everything to do with changing your mindset not your finances. Having a grateful heart and being thankful can change your outlook on your finances and your future. Take control of your money, don’t let money control you!