These Five Questions Will Improve Your Relationship with Money
It’s Time to Un-Complicate this Long-Term Relationship
When it comes to the subject of money, do you practice avoidance? If so, you’re not alone. Money is a complicated subject matter, and your relationship with it will likely change at different stages in your life. We all tend to have residual money memories left over from childhood, that mix with our adult experiences as earners and spenders. The result is often a convoluted mess that leaves many people baffled and anxious about money topics in general.
So, how do you “get right” with your money relationship and begin making smarter financial decisions for yourself? Believe it or not, it’s as easy as answering the following five questions:
1. What is your earliest memory involving money?
You’ll have to take a journey back in time to answer this one, but it’s important to lay the foundation for a healthy money relationship going forward. We are all influenced by our upbringing, and the money management you saw from your parents and other close family members matters in how you view money now. Did you grow up in an affluent home where money was no cause for concern? Did you watch your parents live paycheck to paycheck or struggle to provide for the family? Maybe your experience was somewhere in the middle – a fairly financially stable household that scrimped to make a yearly vacation possible, for instance. Regardless of your experience, it laid the early foundation for how you would relate to money as an adult. So, it’s important to think back and identify where your views on money originated.
2. Who’s wearing the pants in this relationship?
You need to ask yourself whether money is running the show, or whether you’re in charge. The answer often comes down to whether you feel caught up in always chasing financial security, or whether you’re able to slow down and consider how to put your existing money to work for you. When you take a breath and think about the future, you’ll often find that you don’t always need to be chasing the next dollar because making smarter financial decisions about your existing money can provide you with more security than you realize.
3. What is the first thing you would do with more money?
It’s very common to believe that more money will improve your life. In some cases, if you’re barely scraping by, this is true. However, it’s also true that money can’t buy happiness. So, consider what you would do if you got a sudden windfall tomorrow, then ask yourself what your answer means. For instance, if your answer is that you would quit your job, you may need to think about seeking out more fulfilling work. Likewise, if your answer is that you would buy a new car, ask yourself which of your values that purchase would serve and of course-correct as needed. Keeping up with the Joneses isn’t as important as saving for a comfortable retirement. In this way, answering this particular money question can assist you in making financial decisions that better serve you in the long-run.
4. If you had an extra hour in your day, how would you spend it?
Picture this: the clock freezes for one hour each day, and you can spend that time doing whatever you want – all without losing a single second of productivity. How would you spend this magical time? Would you work on hobbies? Would you make travel plans? Would you spend more time with loved ones? Unfortunately, these are all things that fall by the wayside when you get too busy chasing your next paycheck. If you don’t allow yourself time to focus on things other than earning money, you’re likely in need of a work-life balance adjustment.
5. At the end of your time on Earth, what will a life well-lived look like to you?
This one’s a biggie: chances are, your answer is not going to be “working nonstop to earn endless money to buy more things.” No, at the end of the day, living a good life will have meant accomplishing life goals, spending time with people you love and having meaningful experiences. If your current outlook on money is anything other than using it as a means to meet these non-financial goals, then your relationship with money needs a tune-up so that you can begin living your best life.
So many experiences and beliefs converge to create our complicated relationships with money. However, if you take the time to answer these five questions, you can begin to improve your financial health and contentment.
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About the Author
As a Co-Founder, Craig brings years of hands on experience helping clients make informed investment and financial planning decisions. Craig takes great care in understanding his clients near and long term goals and implements an investment strategy around those goals.