What are your money beliefs?
No matter what they are, they’re guiding your financial choices. And they’ve already shaped your financial habits.
The more you know about your money mindset, the more you’ll know about yourself — and how your mindset affects your financial decisions and your overall financial health.
How do you make decisions about money?
Your choices don’t come out of thin air. They come from internal beliefs and the “scripts” you’re following — whether or not you’re aware of it.
Your money script is like an internal monologue that’s constantly running. It comes from your core beliefs about money.
Researchers have found four basic scripts people follow:1
→ Does money stress you out? Do you think money is the root of problems or that it’s a virtue to get by with less money? If so, you’re probably following the money avoidance script.
→ If you think money is the solution to problems or that your success depends on your earnings, you’re more likely following the money worship or the money status script.
→ Or maybe you’re very cautious with money. Do you prefer to pay in cash, instead of using credit? Do you remind others to watch their finances? If you do, you might be following the money vigilance script.
Understanding your money script is incredibly valuable because it says a lot about how you view money and what your personal challenges are.
It’s also a useful tool for recognizing potentially destructive financial patterns, so you can start changing them before they derail your goals.
Trying to reach your goals without understanding your own behavior is like driving down the highway with the emergency brake on — you won’t go very fast and you’ll probably damage your car.
How do your money habits affect your financial health?
Mindset → Habits → Choices
Your money mindset drives these habits. And the more mindful you are, the more control you’ll have over your financial choices — and your financial future.
You can take your reflections on money even further by answering these questions:
- What’s the first word that comes to mind when I think of money?
- Do I ever want to “retire” in the traditional way? What do I want to be doing with my life at “retirement” age?
- What’s my next major money milestone? What’s standing in the way of achieving it?
- Am I happy with my saving and spending habits? If not, why?
- Where did I pick up my beliefs about money?
Your answers to these seemingly simple questions are actually very illuminating because they point directly to your values and mindset around money.
If you’ve made financial decisions that you regret (or you’ve got money habits you’d like to change), the answers may help point the way to the change you’d like to see.
So, what bad money habits do you have?
What was the last bad financial decision you made? How did that impact you financially and emotionally?
At some point in life, we’ve all made a money mistake we wish we could take back. Sometimes, it’s because of a simple error in judgment or a bad call. Other times, our emotions and beliefs about money are to blame.
That’s where behavioral finance comes in. It’s about figuring out why people make the decisions they do (even when their decisions fly in the face of rationality). And it looks at everything from herd behavior to personal bias.2
Behavioral finance is an extremely complex field (because humans are complex creatures). But here’s the major takeaway: if you can put emotions and assumptions aside and focus on rational decision making, you’ll be empowered to make better choices. And that can mean better financial outcomes.
Know your money mindset. Be aware of what triggers you to stress out about money, so you can find better ways to manage your emotions and impulses.
Also, make sure you have a sounding board. A financial advisor can help you understand more about your money mindset. He or she can also talk you off a financial ledge, be a coach, and be your accountability partner. And that can keep you on track toward the financial future you’re working for.
Check out our Money Mindset Visual Insights Newsletter to discover even more about your money mindset!
Garrett German offers products and services using the following business names: Harvest Wealth Group – insurance and financial services | Ameritas Investment Company, LLC (AIC), Member FINRA/SIPC – securities and investments | Ameritas Advisory Services (AAS) – investment advisory services. AIC and AAS are not affiliated with Harvest Wealth Group.
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