Here's a strange question, but stop for just a moment and reflect on it. What role does money play in your life? Be completely honest with yourself. Are you constantly chasing it? Are you always afraid there isn't enough? Does it intimidate you or confuse you? Does it seem unimportant? Can you never get enough? Does it provide emotional comfort?
Now, what about your finances — what shape are they in? Are you in debt? Spending beyond your means? Do you have a savings plan, emergency fund, and retirement portfolio? What about investments and stocks?
You'll be interested in this important little fact: your attitudes about money have a direct impact on the health of your financial situation. Understand the role money plays in your life, and you will go a long way in taking control of your finances. According to a recent survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, money is the No. 1 source of stress for 73 percent of Americans.
Why does it cause so much stress? Because nearly all of us look to money as a way of finding emotional and spiritual contentment.
At the root of our spending problems and money angst is a core belief that there just isn't enough to go around. But deep inside we know that this is not true. In reality, we can erase much of our pain by simply shifting our desire for having more of what we want to wanting more of what we have. The vast majority of us have everything we need and many of the things we want. And yet we continue to struggle with money — either desiring more or never having enough.
Another lie we tell ourselves is that money and things are more important than life, relationships, spiritual connection, or the world around us. And we live in a culture that supports putting money ahead of everything else. We have ruined relationships over money, cut down forests for money, and even started wars over money. Is this really who we are deep inside? Why does society legitimize this behavior and attitude?
Rather than shifting your values to accommodate your financial goals, wouldn't it be far healthier to shift your financial attitudes to support your values?
We must remind ourselves every day what is really important — what really fulfills our emotional and spiritual needs.
- Loving relationships in which we don't fight over who deserves more or who is spending too much.
- A balanced life in which we don't work so much that we lose our personal connections or our sanity, just so we can buy more things that we don't have time or energy to use.
- Peace of mind that we aren't spending more than we make, neglecting bills, and getting in debt.
- Respect from those we love who observe us showing self-discipline and making wise financial decisions.
- Self-respect from knowing that we are living in alignment with our values and our real priorities.
- Spiritual well-being as we allow ourselves the time to connect to nature or a higher power and draw sustenance from that rather than the fleeting high of material acquisition.
- Physical health which is so connected to our level of stress and emotional integrity.
- Personal growth that is fostered when we release ourselves from the bonds of financial and material desire and discover how abundant life is regardless of how many zeroes are at the end of your paycheck.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if you need to shift your thoughts about money so that you can take control of financial destiny.
1. Are you an emotional shopper or do you shop when you get upset?
2. Do you work all the time hoping to “get ahead.”
3. Do you buy more than you should because as a child you had to do without?
4. Do you think you and/or your children “deserve” more?
5. Do you buy things hoping that this stuff will fill an emptiness or void in your life?
6. Do you purchase things in order to keep up appearances or make an impression?
7. Do you worry yourself sick over money? Do you think about it from the time you get up in the morning until you go to bed at night?
8. Do you have trouble falling asleep because of money problems?
9. Are you and your spouse and/or children always fighting about money?
If you see yourself embracing an unhealthy attitude toward money, then force yourself to take a step back and give yourself a financial review.
If your life is out of balance, you are stressed out and chasing your tail, you are in debt or never getting ahead, if you can never have enough — then it's time to give yourself a financial makeover.
My friend Jeff Nickles who blogs at My Super-Charged Life was in bad need of a financial makeover about five years ago. Here's what he has written about that time in his life:
“About five years ago, I was in a hole financially. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but it was a mess nonetheless. On top of it all, I was in denial. I didn’t want to face the truth about my situation. I didn’t want to admit that I owed tens of thousands of dollars on stuff I had long since forgotten I bought. I had virtually nothing in savings or retirement. I was one financial emergency away from bankruptcy. I made a good living, but I always felt broke. I was a terrible money manager.”
Jeff turned himself around and took control of his financial attitude and his money. He is debt-free except for his mortgage, and he is saving and building wealth. Jeff's success story propelled him to write an outstanding guide to help others turn their financial attitudes around and get on the road to financial freedom. It's called The Super-Charged Guide To Financial Freedom: A Simple, Step-by-Step Plan for Getting Control of Your Money and Creating Good Financial Habits.
It is a concise, 70-page plan that you can follow to get control of your finances and start winning with money. It will walk you through exactly what you need to do every step of the way in clear, easy-to-understand terms. It is a practical, down-to-earth approach to effectively managing your money.
The guide is packed with commonsense advice on:
- Creating a workable plan for changing your financial habits.
- Effectively communicating your financial plan to your spouse.
- Getting your spouse involved in the decision-making process.
- How to overcome resistance to living on a budget.
- Developing a flexible budget that works in the real-world.
- Solutions to common budgeting problems.
- Setting goals that will help you climb your way to financial freedom.
Jeff gave me an advance copy of the course, and I wouldn't recommend it if it wasn't a stellar program for anyone wanting to take control of their finances. He does offer a money back guarantee if you don't find it useful, but I have no doubt that it will help you get your financial house in order, while you shift your attitude about the role money plays in your life.