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The Three Things

The Three Things That Play Havoc With Your Finances

How many times have you heard people say, ‘oh money and I just don’t get on’? It’s a common sentiment. But no one is entirely rational when it comes to money – and none of us are perfect all of the time. Even those who have a budget don’t usually know where every single cent of their money goes or have all the right accounts set up to save for the future (and for that unexpected bill when it arrives!).

Let’s face it, sometimes we overspend, get a little exuberant at Christmas or birthdays, or spend more on that night out than we expected – sometimes you just need another cocktail (or two!). Our relationship with money then becomes one of guilt. We veer from the path, struggle to stick to our budget and finally decide, what the hell, I might as well just give up!

I get that. I’m the same with my diets. I’ve broken my diet, so I might as well eat that whole packet of Tim Tams now! Your relationship with money is actually quite complex. How you feel about money is something that has been built up over time and stems from your past experiences, including family and friends’ money behaviors. The good news is that you can change your relationship with money if you understand the emotions that are driving it.

Here are three things you need to understand if you are going to stop killing your financial goals:

1. Emotions

2. Environment

3. FOMO

 

Emotions

People can experience a range of negative and debilitating emotions when it comes to money. Things like fear, shame, envy, guilt and anxiety. Let’s take a look at each of these:

Fear – This is a powerful emotion and can really affect your state of mind. The fear of not having enough, the fear of not being able to pay the bills when they come, the fear of not keeping up with society’s expectations. But also, the fear of people judging you differently if you HAVE money.

Shame – Shame is perhaps the most confronting and scary emotion of them all when it comes to money, and it’s also the most common emotion people experience around their finances. They’re ashamed that they can’t pay for activities for their kids or can’t afford to pay bills when they arrive.

Some common phrases you will hear around this emotion are:

I’m not good with money

Money and I don’t get on

I spend too much

Buying things makes me feel better.

The problem with the emotion of shame is that it creates a vicious cycle. When you are filled with shame, by nature you avoid doing what needs to be done to fix the problem. People avoid tackling their money issues by claiming that they are lazy or they are procrastinators, when the reality is that the emotions triggered by shame are too draining. Shame renders you powerless.

Envy – Aaahhh envy, the good old, green-eyed monster. Many people feel that it is unfair that some people have so much and others (mainly themselves) don’t have enough. When envy raises its head, people tend to blow the budget because they want what others have and that can mean that they spend more money than they have.

Guilt – Some people confuse guilt and shame, but they are different things. Guilt arises when you perceive that you have done something wrong, whereas shame questions your whole self-worth. People most commonly feel guilt around their finances when they have spent money on non-essential items or luxury items, and then don’t have enough to pay for the day-to-day things in life.

Anxiety – Anxiety can be crippling. Avoiding dealing with your emotions around money works in the short term because you don’t have to face the situation you are in. But this approach doesn’t actually achieve anything and it’s simply not sustainable. The saying ‘short term pain for long term gain’ comes to mind.

Facing your reality and putting a plan in place for the long term may be uncomfortable to start with, but postponing this task will only allow anxiety to fester. Confronting your debts, setting up a budget and creating a plan for the future will increase your feelings of control and in turn remove the anxiety. The possible short-term discomfort is so worth it.

 

Environment

How we think about and deal with money stems from our family interactions as children. From a very early age we are shaped by family in religion, politics, culture, relationships and food. So, it stands that we would also be shaped by our family’s belief towards money.

And whilst money was probably never directly discussed in your family, the way your family dealt with money would have been absorbed through actions and observations. The lifestyle you lived growing up will have had an impact on the life that you perceive as being normal. Was money a financial stress to your family? Was it wasted or squirreled away? Was your family charitable and this has become your norm?

Many people have never been taught how to budget and save, so how are they supposed to know how to do this? Some believe that money is there to be spent, without the worry of setting something aside for a rainy day. As we grow into adults, we are also shaped by the friends we spend time with, our work colleagues and community. We see how others deal with money, which can again alter our own attitudes. For better or worse!

What is important is that whilst you can be shaped by the people around you, your finances are yours and yours alone, and money attitudes can be changed. Getting help from someone experienced can really improve your financial future, change your perspective and give you peace of mind.

 

FOMO

Ah FOMO, the fear of missing out – and the greatest budget destroyer of our times. With the uprising of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram we are now seeing and comparing what we have and what we perceive other people have. Every. Single. Day.

And, of course, as humans we are hardwired to want what others have. Marketers know this too. Some people can resist this desire to have what others have, but for the majority of us, we just feel inadequate. Imagine you have just jumped onto Facebook and there is a friend showing off their new car. You think about your old car, which runs fine but doesn’t have all the bells and whistles – and then all of a sudden you find yourself googling cars.

FOMO of course isn’t limited to social media. People experience FOMO when they get invited for a weekend away or a holiday that they just can’t afford but can’t say no to (because their whole group of friends is going, and you simply cannot be the only one not there).

While FOMO might look different for different people, there is a common thread. It almost always encourages us to spend more than we had budgeted for or can afford.

Controlling FOMO is about discipline and knowing that, with the right budgeting and structures in place, you will have the funds to join in or have the strength to say no.

If any of these are hitting a note with you, why not come and join us at Got Money Honey. Our My Money Makeover course will change your relationship with money. Once and for all.