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Is Your Money Mindset Working For or Against You?

Written by Anne Papmehl

Friday, July 14th, 2017

People think about money in different ways. Some think of it as an idol, some as the root of all evil — and some just don't think about it at all.

Some experts say our "money mindset" influences our money behaviour. There are articles, books and quizzes galore on how our thoughts and beliefs about money affect how we handle it.

What's Your Money Mindset, and Is It Working For or Against You?

Here are some extreme examples:

At one end of the spectrum are the big spenders — folks who think money is for enjoying right now, whether they have any or not. Though they might wear expensive clothes, drive fancy cars and live in luxury homes, they tend not to think about saving for their future and often carry large debt — which they'd rather not think about, either. To relieve their money anxiety, they go out and spend more.

At the other extreme are the money hoarders, who perpetually think of ways to avoid spending money — on themselves or anyone else. Though they may have amassed a fortune through their frugal ways, their unwillingness to let go of it has people thinking of them as misers, cheapskates and Scrooges.

Then there are people who avoid the topic altogether — folks who don't want to think, talk or deal with money issues. They may be perpetually broke, in overdraft at the bank and in arrears with their bills and taxes because they don't want to think about it.

Think About How You Think About Money

If you see yourself in any of these examples, you may want to give some thought to how you think about money and why.

For example, if your spending and debt are getting out of control, consider whether there's another area of your life where you feel you have no control. Does all that "buying" actually make it better? Perhaps in the short term, but what's it doing to you in the long run? What would your life look like if you made a conscious effort to curb your spending? Maybe you'd improve your credit score, reduce your debt and increase your savings — and feel more in control.

Or if you have a hard time letting go of your money, ask yourself what you're afraid of. It's great to have self-discipline and grow your net worth, but are you doing so at the expense of your basic needs, health and relationships? If your money isn't bringing you peace of mind or joy, maybe it's time to loosen your spending grip and show yourself and others some generosity.

Finally, if you're avoiding dealing with money, why is that? Maybe you want to learn more about how money works but have been afraid to seek out answers. That's okay, because there are loads of books, courses and websites to help you learn the basics. What would your finances look like if you started to pay attention to them? Would you start paying your bills on time, avoid late fees and penalties, and find ways to save and invest more?

Becoming a Better Money Minder

There's an old saying that money makes a good slave but a poor master. If your money behaviours are not empowering you, examining your money mindset might help you become a better money minder — and master.

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