What Is a Money Mindset?
Your individual money mindset informs the financial decisions that you make in your life. Simply put, your money mindset is your attitude to spending, saving and making money.
Changing your beliefs around money can have a positive impact on your finances. By adjusting your attitude to money, you can take steps towards financial success, significantly reduce money-related stress and improve your standard of living.
People with a positive money mindset are able to feel in control of their finances, set achievable goals and have security. They do not see money as a stressful or negative influence in their lives.
People with a positive money mindset tend to be good at planning for the future, seeking out opportunities and avoiding spending time stressing about ‘what-ifs’. They will spend time planning for success rather than worrying about how to avoid failure.
A positive money mindset does not necessarily mean that you have large amounts of money in the bank; people who are in debt can develop a positive money mindset. Rather than being cash rich, it is about feeling in charge of your finances and financial future whether that is through budgeting, investing, working towards a financial or business goal or consolidating existing debt.
A person with a positive money mindset knows that they are in control of their finances. A person with a broke mindset or poor mindset feels like their finances control them.
Our life experiences largely inform our money mindset but it is also affected by the socio-economic and cultural backgrounds that we grow up in.
In some communities, for example, it may be taboo for women to be in control of the finances and this can inform our money mindset making us believe, even subconsciously, that finances are a ‘man’s world’. Similarly, if you grew up in a family or community that felt marginalized or oppressed, it can be hard to break free from the inherent belief that no matter how hard you try, you do not deserve success and are destined to forever be the underdog.
If you were raised in a household where you were made to feel financially secure, this will shape your money mindset in a very different way than someone who grew up around arguments about finances and where money was a constant source of stress.
A person who is able to work a part-time job during high school may develop a healthier attitude to money and finances than someone who did not enter the world of work until adulthood.
Parents who teach their children how to budget and save and speak openly about their finances are likely to foster a calm, positive and methodical approach to money in them as adults. Parents who instill feelings of fear and tension around money and constantly compare themselves to others are likely to have children who develop an anxious and negative relationship with finances.
By acknowledging where your money mindset came from and the triggers that have made you develop the attitude you have towards managing, earning and investing money you might start to understand yourself better.
Once you are aware of the journey you have been on to reach the money mindset you currently have, you can make the changes necessary to live a healthier and more productive financial life.
Now you have explored how your past experiences and early life might have impacted your current attitudes to money, you may want to explore what kind of money mindset you have and whether it is helping or hindering your success in life.
A poor mindset or poverty mentality is often rooted in fear. By believing that you will always be poor and never have more than you currently do, you are more likely to make unwise financial decisions. A poor mindset can also cause a lack of motivation to improve your financial circumstances and it will cause you unnecessary stress.
A rich mindset does not necessarily mean that someone is wealthy. It is about how they view money but also their attitudes towards investing, working hard, making plans and self-belief.
It is sometimes said that a wealthy person with a broke mindset is never going to live a rich life. Their mind will always be rooted in negative thought patterns, regardless of how much physical wealth they have.
Here are a few examples of how someone with a poor mindset sees the world versus someone with a rich mindset:
|I can’t afford it||How can I find a way to afford it/how much can I make from this?|
|There’s no point I will fail/I’m afraid of trying||How can I find a way to succeed/I will improve and succeed|
|Investments usually fail||I will invest in my future|
|Pays too much attention to the past and their past mistakes||Learns from the past but looks to the future and plans for success|
|It’s not my fault, it is other people in charge||I am in control|
If you are unsure about your money mindset, consider if you find the following statements to be true or not:
- I am happy with my attitude towards money and spending
- I openly discuss money matters with those close to me and feel comfortable giving and receiving advice
- I look forward to the future and feel secure about finances
- I feel confident that I will achieve my financial goals
- I feel in control of my finances and my future
- I deserve to be successful
If you can relate to most or all of the above statements then you have a positive money mindset. If most of them leave you feeling anxious or unsure, it may be time to make a change.
Once you understand what your current money mindset is and what experiences brought you to this point, you might decide it is time to make a change.
Stop panicking about what you do not have. Focus on what you do have and what you are planning to get. Stop telling yourself that you do not deserve success and look to the future rather than the past.
You could start by writing down a few simple financial goals, then go back and write next to them what has been stopping you achieving them. Go back and cross out each excuse and instead write how you are going to achieve them.
Focus on what you can and will do, not what you cannot do or have not done yet.
Go through your most recent couple of bank statements and highlight your incomings and outgoings in different colors.
Have a look through each direct debit and make sure you know what it is for and put a mark next to any unnecessary ones. Cancel them immediately. You are in control of your spending – make sure you know exactly where your money is going.
Check through all of your memberships and subscription services and identify any that you no longer need. There is no point paying for something that you get no use from. Focus on something else you would like and imagine the money you are wasting on them going towards that instead.
Living in an organized environment can also help. Clutter is not good for the mind and it can lead to chaotic thought patterns. If you want to become more focused and organized you may want to have a clear-out.
It will help to tidy up your home as well as your mind – you could also make some money by selling your unwanted items. Decide whether you want to save or invest this extra money you now have – try to integrate your positive money mindset into other aspects of your life.
Do not confuse having a positive money mindset and striving for success with frivolously spending what you do not have then trying to will it into existence.
Live within your current means, plan for the future and tell yourself you will accomplish your goals but try not to buy items you really don’t need just for the sake of it. Part of the positive money mindset is to focus on yourself, definitely not to impress others.
Also do not spend emotionally; be practical and look for more positive coping mechanisms in times of emotional difficulty rather than buying material possessions.
Practice gratitude – Be grateful for what you have rather than bitter for what you do not have.
Stop comparing yourself to others – Your money mindset is subjective and success for you may look very different to success for someone else. Focus on yourself and reject feelings of jealousy or inadequacy.
Set achievable goals – You may have one overarching financial goal that you want to achieve but try to break it down into smaller, achievable targets and do not be scared to celebrate your success each time.
Let go of the past – Try not to punish yourself for old financial mistakes. Similarly, if your parents taught you negative thought patterns around money, let these go too. You are now in charge of your own financial future.
Believe that you will succeed and that you deserve to – Self-belief and self-worth are inextricably linked with having a positive money mindset.
Lose those negative thoughts – If you find thoughts like ‘There isn’t enough money in the world’ or ‘If I am rich that makes me a selfish person’ creeping into your head, try to refocus. You could try saying positive affirmations to counteract them; journaling or a creative outlet may help too. If the thoughts are extremely intrusive, try the elastic band method (place an elastic band around your wrist and ping it each time a bad thought encroaches).
Immerse yourself in expert advice – Read articles online about how to develop a positive money mindset or achieve financial freedom. There are countless books or audiobooks available about business, finance and the money mindset: The 4-Hour Workweek is often cited as an inspiration to those with an entrepreneurial spirit as it offers a fresh, modern take on the work-life balance. There are a large amount of podcasts such as The Money Mindset Podcast that has episodes dedicated to offering practical money mindset advice or the BiggerPockets Money Podcast that tackles issues such as fixing bad credit and making smart investments.
Be generous – You will never truly have a positive money mindset if you are hanging on to negative thoughts about money. You need to love and appreciate money: give freely, do not be miserly, donate to charity and help others. If you are struggling to break free from negative thoughts about money, focusing on the good things that money can do will help.
Money is an integral part of modern-day living. By understanding your money mindset, where it originates from and what it means for your life, you are able to begin a journey to having a less stressful and more productive relationship with your finances.