By Jane Young, CFP, EA
The first step toward attaining financial security is the desire to become financially secure and the belief that it is attainable. Our attitude about money is formed by our childhood and past experiences. You may be unaware of your money beliefs and the associated emotional responses that can impact financial decisions. Your view of money may trigger emotions of fear, jealously, greed, guilt, satisfaction, or jubilation. It is essential to recognize your money beliefs to take control of your finances and prevent a negative money mindset from sabotaging your financial future. Your attitude toward money was learned over time and can be reshaped once you become aware of the negative thoughts and behaviors holding you back.
The start of a new year is a perfect time to focus on positive changes to your financial attitude and behaviors. Embrace new habits that will lead to financial success.
Start by looking at the opportunities ahead and forgive yourself for previous financial missteps. From today forward, take responsibility for your financial situation and hold yourself accountable. Create a financial plan to reach your goals. Focus on solutions and baby steps to improve your finances. Celebrate small wins as you achieve milestones. When you take control of your finances you will feel empowered to proactively manage your money resulting in a greater sense of optimism, confidence, and self-esteem.
Establish a budget and create goals to measure your progress. Do not compare yourself to others, focus on your goals. Comparing your finances to others is like viewing an iceberg. On the surface they take extravagant vacations, have a shiny new car, and live in a big fancy house but below the surface they may be drowning in debt and hovering near bankruptcy. You know the positive and negative aspects of your situation, but you may not see the ugly truth behind your friend’s or neighbor’s financial habits.
Maintain an attitude of abundance, where there is enough money and success to go around for everyone. Do not begrudge success in others, gain inspiration from, and celebrate their success. Avoid an attitude of scarcity where one individual’s success negatively impacts the ability of others to succeed. An attitude of abundance leads to generosity, enthusiasm, and strong personal relationships. An attitude of scarcity leads to jealousy, resentment, envy, and discouragement.
Stay focused on the future. Be willing to make small short-term sacrifices for a much a greater return in the future. Do not let temporary disruptions lead you off track toward your long-term goals.Once you genuinely believe you can achieve financial security you will make it happen.