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How do you feel about money?

By Brandyce Stephenson | 5min read | Published on June 22nd

Summary: When it comes to your ability to earn, invest, and create a bright financial future it's more than just the paycheck you bring home or how many zeros are in your bank account. Your thoughts could be a game changer in creating a brighter financial future.

“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.” - Ayn Rand

I think if I were to update my relationship status on Facebook with money, it's fair to say “it’s complicated." There’s so much when it comes to money: salaries, savings, stocks, tax brackets, interest rates, oh my! Not to mention there also seems to be this shroud of secrecy around money that can leave us feeling confused. So many questions, so many options, it can feel overwhelming. The thing is, the question that rarely gets asked when it comes to money, is how do you feel? 

Turns out our feelings about money matter more than we think. 

We’ve often heard that money can’t buy happiness, but turns out that may not actually be the case. A recent study from the American Psychological Association (APA) shows that when it comes to self-worth, net-worth plays a pretty significant role. That makes sense. It's easy to see how when you are able to easily pay your bills, have some spending money, and are able to set some aside for your future, you might feel pretty good about things resulting in feelings of happiness. So while happiness isn’t something you can order up on Amazon, feeling good about your finances can lead to feeling good about life. Conversely, if you are stressed out about paying your rent every month and avoid looking at your bank balance for fear of yet another overdraft fee, odds are that you might not feel so great, leading to feelings of unworthiness or sadness. 

If that last sentence left a pit in your stomach you are far from alone. 

Feeling the squeeze of financial stress is something that nearly 60% of Americans worry about. This seems to be a common thread among those from lower income families, but even the middle class and millionaires -- yes, even people that seem “wealthy” can feel the pressure of financial instability. This stress reaches beyond the everyday worry and over time can lead to both physical and mental health issues. Getting your relationship with money right is key to creating a life you can feel good about and it’s not just about how many Benjamins you have in your bank account, it’s also about how you feel when it comes to money matters. 

There seems to be a common thread that sets those apart that feel good about their financial wellbeing -- it’s their mindset. Money mindset plays a role in everything from how much you could potentially earn over your lifetime to how you view the money you do have. It’s not just about having money, it's what money allows you to do like take a vacation with your family or contribute to causes you care about. A huge factor was believing in their worthiness where money is concerned. In one study, Ramsey Solutions interviewed 10,000 millionaires and a staggering 97% of those surveyed believed they could become millionaires. Read that again. 

 97% believed they could become millionaires. 

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I know, you might be saying “yea ok, that sounds nice, but that’s just not reality.” I hate to break it to you, but that mindset is exactly the opposite of what you need to start believing in order to create an incredible financial future. Whether you want to earn six figures, ask for a raise, save for the future, or become a millionaire too. In order to get a new result, you need to change the way you currently think. 

So how exactly do you transform your relationship with money? 

The good news is that no matter your age, education, background, or current financial status it is possible to change your money mindset. For the sake of brevity, we’ll save the psychology and neuroscience lessons, aside from telling you that while you may have received some “mixed messages” about money growing up, today, we know that neuroplasticity allows us to retrain our brains to believe new thoughts when it comes to money. How cool is that?! 

One way to begin to transform your money mindset is to look at your money beliefs. 

For example, if one of your running narratives is “I’ll never be able to save enough to take a vacation” and that’s been on a loop for years then you may see evidence of your inability to ever save money for a trip. Unexpected expenses, prices always seem to increase, time is always an issue, and so on. What if you started telling yourself a new narrative? What if you flipped the script to “I’m so excited to watch my savings grow and take a vacation with my family” and started to really believe you’re worthy of saving money and going on vacation? Just like any other goal you set in life, connecting to your beliefs to achieve that goal matters -- and mindset plays a pivotal role. 

Once you’ve shifted your mental perspective, how about giving yourself something more tangible to help you in your new pursuits? Let’s continue with the vacation example -  you may start to put money away in a vacation fund and check in on your progress each week. Along with retraining your brain to believe you’re worthy of saving, checking in to see your balance grow reinforces this new belief, growing your confidence. You might start planning where you want to go and get excited about your future travel plans to help keep you accountable and start bringing your ideas to life. Just think about how amazing you’re going to feel when you’ve achieved your goal and you’re chillin’ on vacation! 

Going on vacation might be a small example, but take this idea to all the areas of your financial life.  

  • What are some of the beliefs you currently have when it comes to money? 
  • What are some of the money messages you may have been told growing up? 
  • Where are you sabotaging your money matters? 
  • What needs to change in order for you to change how you feel about money? 
  • What are some small steps you can take to start improving money relationship? 
  • How can you reframe your current beliefs when it comes to money? 

The relationship between you and your money is worth spending a little time investigating and these are just a few questions to help you get started. Having money isn’t just nice or necessary, it’s what having money allows you to do. Better access to housing, buying nourishing foods, spending more time with loved ones, making an impact in your community, leaving a legacy, investing, etc.

There are lots of ways to make money today from your salary to your side hustle but earning more doesn’t equal feeling good about money. If you’re scared to invest in yourself or ask for a raise or feel like you don’t deserve more, then your relationship with money might remain complicated instead of getting serious. 

The good news is you can start today! Right now. Believing that you are worthy of creating a great financial future is the first step. 

Say it with me: I AM WORTHY of a great financial future! 

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Brandyce Stephenson

Brandyce is a writer, content creator, and strategist for Worthy Financial.