What’s the one thing that holds all of us back from advancing in our financial lives? Here’s a hint. Google “financial advice” and you will be flooded with the following information: Save, save, invest, and save again. While this advice is definitely true, there is something that needs to happen before we can move forward with any type of savings or financial independence plan. Still not sure? It’s your money mindset.
What is a money mindset, you may be asking? Your money mindset is your overall attitude and relationship towards money. It’s what drives you to make informed and intelligent financial decisions in your daily life. When you have a positive money mindset, you feel empowered to make decisions that bring you closer to your goals. But in order to cultivate a great money mindset, you need to believe that you are worthy and capable of achieving your financial dreams. Self worth equals net worth!
The first step is recognizing that yes, you too, have a money mindset. You need to understand that there are thoughts and preconceived stories that are impacting your interactions with money today. Your current mindset may be leading you down the road of financial independence this very minute or it could be leading you into debt or poor credit. Without first recognizing your mindset, you won’t be able to make any changes on down the line. And yes, as difficult as your current financial situation may be, it absolutely CAN be changed.
If you are having trouble believing this, then you should first take a few minutes to reflect on your own money story. As you were growing up, how did your parents approach money? Were they always stressed? Where did they spend most of their money? Did you always have the latest clothes and gadgets? Did you go to restaurants frequently? Did they teach you about finances? When did you first learn to budget?
Think about these questions and write down your answers. It helps to spend a few minutes digging into the past to see where your personal relationship with money originated. We’ve provided a free printable journal page to help you jot down your thoughts if you’re looking for something quick and handy.
Once you understand your story, try to figure out if it’s trickling over into your daily life now. We bet it is! But the good news is if it’s not the money story that you want, you can change it! You, our dear mamas, are in control of your financial future.
Years ago, I struggled with money mindset a ton. I used to beat myself up over and over again for letting unexpected expenses get in my way. I can think of one very vivid example that I would love to share with you so you can see an overall theme in my life that repeated over and over again before my mindset changed.
My husband and I bought our first house in Texas. We knew it needed some work and we were excited to complete it. So over the course of a year, we dug right in and got to work. Everything was going great, until it wasn’t. We completed the renovations with practically no problems. But then… the heat pump and AC unit broke on a 20 degree night (if you live in Dallas you will understand that it’s only this cold for two weeks of the year). So there was an $8,000 bill. Then, we had a leak and it cost $2,000 to repair followed by a diseased tree dying in our backyard. We had to remove it before it fell on the house. Another $400 went out the door. Right after that we had to cut down the bushes on the side of the house because carpenter ants were attracted to the area so another $400 was spent. Then, our washer and dryer broke, so we spent $800 for new ones. In the same month I had surgery and it cost $2,000 out of pocket (thanks insurance!). But the biggest expense we had was the slab leak that cost $12,000. AND all this happened over the span of 7 months! $25,000+ of unexpected expenses. Seriously, I felt so unlucky. Like why couldn’t I just get a break?? My mindset was so negative and I felt alone and scared – like the house and life in general were against me. We were fortunate to have a savings account that cushioned a chunk of this financial setback but it didn’t cover everything. I prayed and thought about this for countless nights.
I did three things that helped me get out of a potentially devastating hole:
This is just one experience that changed my money mindset forever. Bad stuff happens. Expensive stuff happens. But there is hope, mama, and you can change your situation too!
My money mindset got a huge slap in the face when I was about eighteen. I grew up believing money grew on trees. There was no scarcity, only abundance — new vehicles, a nice house, vacations, and lots of clothing and technology gadgets. It wasn’t until my family’s financial situation unexpectedly imploded, as in “Poof! The money is ALL gone,” that I began to change my money mindset from blissful ignorance to, “Holy moly — this needs to change!”
I wasn’t taught much about saving for the future growing up. I think because it was assumed the money would always be there. I was encouraged to work a summer job, but I spent every penny on clothing and fun. I was also taught to pay bills on time and not overdraw my checking account. When I met my husband though, he informed me that making the minimum payment on my credit card bill was complete financial ignorance. He said it nicer than that but was probably thinking it 😉 I was left reeling. I remember being so angry at him, thinking, “How dare you insult my financial knowledge!” Well, needless to say, it needed insulting. Sometimes it takes a major “Oh, crap!” crisis and someone who is one (or fifty) steps ahead of you financially to help you grow and evolve as person. And even more importantly to help you become open to change. Thank goodness I was open to change. Eventually.
My money mindset has now settled into one of fierce learning and independence. I glean as much financial knowledge as I can regarding retirement, college-savings, and emergency funds so that I can avoid getting to retirement age with nothing to retire with. Because I know from first hand experience with my dad that Social Security and Medicare alone ain’t gonna cut it.
I’m also getting fiercely independent about making my own money as a working mom. I so appreciate all that my husband has provided for our family over the years, but I also want to be an income producer for our family. I want to know that, “Yes! I can earn too.” Then I can put those earnings toward my family’s financial future and toward helping my parents with long-term care expenses and in their retirement years.
It would be so easy to adopt the, “Why me?” mentality. As in, why at the age of 35 am I having to worry about supporting my parents’ future when others in my community and my own family seem to have things so easy. The money appears to be flowing and the luxury lifestyle abounds. But, we never know what is truly going on. And I am taking ownership of my situation. I care about my parents and much of their situation was created by reasons beyond their control. As a daughter who cares, I choose to help them. I know it will be a challenge but I also know that money is a plentiful resource and there is indeed plenty for all of us to earn and share. How is that for a money mantra?
-Don’t focus on what’s wrong. This will make you less motivated to change your situation. Focus on solutions! You aren’t the first person this happened to and sadly you won’t be the last.
-Find a money mantra and make it your own. Here are some awesome examples: money flows freely and there is plenty for me, I am a magnet for good fortune, I have the ability to create my success and receive the pay I deserve. Every time you think about the bad money stuff in your life, say your mantra. Retrain your brain!
-Donate your change or a few dollars to charity. This will automatically make you feel happier and you will feel better that you are helping another who is less fortunate than you. It’s all about perspective. (Psst… if you don’t know where to start… check out Kiva.org – you can lend and re-lend your dollars over and over again so it helps more people globally!)
-Ask for help. Find a professional financial planner (some banks have them for free) and ask for their opinion. They have very likely seen your situation before and can offer options. Keep your head up and be open to all the possibilities of your future.
Mamas, have you ever experienced a financial meltdown? How did you get through it? Did it affect your money mindset? Let us know in the comments!
Withing you and your family an incredibly successful financial future,
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