Transforming your relationship with money can influence almost every part of your life. This is because your relationship with money goes beyond receiving a paycheck or paying bills. It is about how you think and feel about money, and how those thoughts and feelings contribute to how you use money. There are even different money personalities, which makes your relationship with money unique. There’s everything from savers to spenders and those who don’t want to think about money at all. Regardless, your relationship with money is important. That said, in this article, we’ll cover how you can transform your relationship with money by understanding your current relationship, setting goals and intentions for the relationship you want, and taking the steps to establish a healthy relationship with money. Let’s get into it!
Why is it Crucial to Have a Healthy Relationship With Money?
Whether you’ve noticed it or not, you’ve already built a relationship with money. This relationship with money influenced your career choices, created certain spending habits, and even influenced where you ate for dinner. This is why a healthy relationship with money is important as it positively impacts your interactions with money. Having a healthy relationship with your money means understanding how money works. It means using your money to help you maintain good health, live a life with less stress, and invest in things that will support you long term. A positive relationship is what leads to financial freedom and wellness.
What an Unhealthy Relationship With Money Can Look Like
Having an unhealthy relationship with money often leads to a stressful life because of poor money choices. This can look like this:
- Impulse shopping
- Maxing out credit cards
- Avoiding managing your finances
- Refusing to talk about money or seek financial support
- Disliking or displaying anger toward financially secure people
- Being afraid to spend money even on necessities
This poor relationship with money also affects the other relationships in your life. For instance, finances are a big cause of divorce for many people and can cause money conflicts in families.
How a Healthy Relationship With Money Can Look
When you have a healthy relationship with money everything seems to fall into place. The sun shines brighter, the birds sing a little louder, and you appreciate life more because you’re not worrying about money. A healthy relationship with money includes:
- Having a spending plan or budget for your money
- Feeling good about the money you earn
- Having a strong savings plan or emergency fund
- Living debt free or actively paying off debt
- Being able to make purchases without feeling guilty
If you have a relationship with money that could use some improvement, here’s more about transforming your relationship with money into something that is healthy and sustainable.
Steps to Establishing a Healthy Relationship
It’s important to know that transforming your relationship with money will take time. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to unlearning the false beliefs about money and creating better habits. Yet, with a little time and effort, you’ll start to see a difference.
1. Take an Honest Look at Your Current Relationship
The first step is to really take an honest assessment and not a judgment of your current relationship with money. Remember that no matter where your relationship is, it doesn’t make you a good or bad person. To understand your relationship, ask yourself the following questions.
- What are my thoughts about money? Are they positive or negative?
- How have I made progress with money over the last year?
In addition, here are some more in-depth questions to help you with transforming your relationship with money.
What are Your Parents’ Relationships with Money?
How you’ve been raised plays a big role in how you interact with money. Even if your parents didn’t teach you about money, you still learned through observing how they talked about and used money. If your parents were extra frugal and only spent money on what was necessary, in turn, you may have this same relationship or an opposite one. The opposite would be a relationship where you overspend money because you didn’t have certain luxuries as a child.
Are you Mimicking the Money Relationships of Those in Your Social Circle?
Who you socialize with affects your relationship with money. If your social group complains about money like it’s a plague, your behaviors and thoughts will begin to mirror those same negative beliefs. This can cause you to feel less optimistic and practical about money. Your circle of influence has a bigger influence than you might realize.
Create an Honest Assessment of Your Relationship
Reflecting on your current relationship isn’t a ruling on whether you’re good or bad with money. When you’ve reflected on your current relationship, try to describe it in one or two non-judgemental statements. For example:
- My relationship with money is one where I often worry about money.
- In my current relationship with money, I overspend.
With a solid understanding and statement, you can take the next steps toward transforming your relationship with money.
2. Identify How You Want Your New Relationship To Be
Now is the time to leave the past in the past and focus on the future. What do you want your relationship with money to be? Do you want your relationship to be fun yet responsible? For example, you can spend money on things you enjoy but also build savings. When you identify this relationship, try to focus on what this relationship will look like in your life. How will your life, behaviors, and thoughts be different because of this new relationship? How will this new relationship feel? A simple place to start is to think about your values and make sure your relationship with money aligns with them.
3. Establish an Intention or Goal For Your Relationship
Now it’s time to zero in on your new and improved relationship and create an intention or a goal. To do this, consider what types of outcomes you want for your new relationship. Do you want to increase your savings? Feel confident in making more money? Or do you want to pay off debt? Having an intention or intended outcome will help you to stay focused on building your new relationship. It will help you change habits and create new routines that will help you to fulfill this new goal.
Some examples of financial goals are:
- Positive habits such as paying yourself first
- Living below your means
- Creating a budget or a spending plan that is aligned with your values
4. Start Setting a Foundation For This New Relationship
This is when you start putting steps into practice. When you think about the foundation of a house, it’s the strongest part. What can be the strongest part of your new relationship? The easiest way to start building this foundation is through education. Understanding how money works, how to use money, and understanding the financial structure can help with transforming your relationship with money. Clever offers hundreds of free educational courses to help you build this foundation.
5. Remember To Give Yourself Grace
It’s important to remember that you’ve had this negative relationship for years. It’s ok if you don’t change things overnight. The next time you think about giving yourself a hard time, try these techniques for giving yourself grace.
Forgive Yourself For Your Past Money Mistakes
Even some of the wealthiest people have made mistakes with money, so you are not alone. Instead of dwelling on the mistake, forgive yourself and allow yourself to learn from the unfortunate situation.
Keep Trying Until You Get it Right
No matter if you’re budgeting for the first time or trying to speak positively about money, you may not get everything right on the first attempt. When you fall back into old habits, take note and ask yourself how you’re going to do better next time.
6. Celebrate Your New Relationship
We often celebrate other relationships in our lives, such as a new romantic partner, a new job, or becoming a parent. Why not celebrate your new relationship with money? A relationship that will indeed affect every other relationship we have in our life. Here are some ways to celebrate:
- Have a dance party at your house
- Give yourself the afternoon off
- Treat yourself to your favorite dessert
- Visit your favorite outdoor space
How to Avoid Having an Unhealthy Relationship with Money
Like a romantic relationship, there is no going back to the lazy unappreciative partner. Here is how to stay out of the cycle.
Avoid Bad Money Habits by Creating New Money Habits
Bad habits are always difficult to break. Instead of using your energy to try and change the bad habit, focus on creating new and better habits. Better money habits can look like automating your savings, so you’re not waiting until you spend most of your paycheck to save. Another new habit to incorporate is a money date. A money date is when you dedicate a certain amount of time to go over your finances. The key to this is to make it fun. The goal is to create habits around money that are enjoyable and easy, so you don’t think too much about doing them.
Pay Attention to Your Thoughts and Your Beliefs About Money
Do you think money is evil? Do you think people with a lot of money are bad? If you find yourself thinking that money is a bad thing, try on a new perspective. Start to see the good that can be done with the money. When money is in the hands of people who have good intentions, it can provide shelter, food, and resources. Money can support you in getting what you need. When you start to change your thoughts around money use, you can see that money is a tool, and you have the power to use that tool how you want.
Remove Things in Your Life that Don’t Support a Healthy Relationship
Like creating new habits, try eliminating things in your life that don’t support a healthy relationship with money. This can look like switching from credit cards to using cash to stopping mindless spending. You can also stay off social media, so you aren’t tempted by influencers who are trying to persuade you to make certain purchases. Even limiting your television viewing can be helpful when transforming your relationship with money by freeing you from the temptation of consumerism.
Transforming Your Relationship With Money is Achievable
With these steps, you will create a relationship with money that is healthy, supportive, and thriving. Remember that this transformation will take time. By starting with the simple step of understanding your current relationship with money and setting the intention of how you want your relationship to be, you are setting yourself up for a major change. It’s important to stick to your goal, and give yourself grace. Strong relationships take time and can last you a lifetime. You can take things a step further by reading more articles about money and mindset and by taking free financial courses!