Association of Military Banks of America

Your Money Mindset – Improving your Relationship with Money this Valentine’s Day

By Amy Miller, AFC®

Your relationship with money has a direct impact on almost every aspect of daily life. It goes well beyond getting a paycheck and paying your bills. Your money relationship affects how you think and feel about money and how those perceptions directly relate to how you handle your finances. It’s your money mindset.

Money mindset influences spending habits, career choices, where you live – even what you eat. A healthy mindset and money relationship can result in financial freedom and wellness while an unhealthy one can lead to poor choices, unnecessary worry, anxiety, and stress. Therefore, recognizing the relationship and mindset involving money and working to improve both is important.

With that in mind, and since this week is meant to officially recognize our love and relationships, we thought it was the perfect time to discuss steps that can help you have a healthy “money mindset”.  

Start with an Honest Assessment

Before you can change your finances, you must reflect on both your past and current situation to truly understand how they are influencing your decisions. Be truthful and take an honest look at your relationship with money and ask yourself a few questions:

            -Are my thoughts on money positive or negative?

            -Where do my thoughts stem from – Parents? Friends?

            -What emotions come up when money is thought of?

            -Do I worry or have anxiety about money often?  

            -Does money control me or am I in control of my money?  

            -How do I make financial decisions?

Outline Your Future Relationship

What do you want your relationship with money to be? Most individuals will say they want to have a good relationship with it – one that makes them feel confident, calm, and secure. 

Having a healthy relationship with money means understanding how it works, how your experiences have influenced your views and identifying what you can do to make it better. A good place to start is by thinking about your values, what is most important to you, and what you would like to achieve in the next 5 to 10 years. Make sure your financial goals are aligned with your values.

Adopt Healthy Money Habits

The truth is that there aren’t any quick fixes when working to change your relationship with money and your mindset. It comes down to the financial decisions we make daily that will either move you forward or hold you back. It’s about trying to change your behaviors, thoughts, and emotions consistently.

Here are a few things you can do to create better money habits and mindset:

-Know your Why. Ask yourself why you want to change your relationship with money.

-Take note of how you feel when making a purchase or paying bills. Does it make you happy? Give you anxiety?

-Be grateful. It’s important to take note of the things you do have and what you accomplish with money. Instead of thinking about how you hate paying bills, be thankful that you can pay them.

-Keep learning. Finances change constantly and there is always something new to learn. You never know what you may find that could make a big difference.

-Focus only on your life and finances and don’t worry about what others are doing.

Be Positive

What we believe about money truly does shape how we handle our finances and live our daily lives. Shifting thoughts and attitudes around money to a more positive mindset can be tough but is key to overcoming challenges, making better decisions, and moving toward an improved financial outlook and future. Positive thinking really does matter!

Here are some tips on improving your thoughts:

            -Leave the past in the past and focus on your future

-Look for opportunities instead of roadblocks

-Ask for help when needed

-Make decisions and take action steps (even if they seem small)

-Remind yourself that you are in control

It’s key to remember that nothing last forever – situations can be improved or fixed with time and the right mindset. You must truly believe that you can handle and/or fix any financial situation you may find yourself faced with.

Many think that successful money management comes down to discipline and simple math. However, it’s really our personal and emotional relationship with it that directly influences every aspect of our lives. Your money mindset can be the difference between success and giving up.

The new year is the perfect time to assess your beliefs, feelings, and perceptions about money. Finding ways to better/improve your money mindset and cultivate a better relationship with money will lead to better overall health and quality of life.

Remember, you are in control! Believe in yourself and just keep going!