It might seem trivial to work on your money mindset when you have practical obligations that need to be figured out.
But your money mindset is an important factor in how you view your financial life. That includes reconciling mistakes made in the past, coming up with solutions to present problems and defining your goals for the future.
Your money mindset develops throughout your life. Some of your money mindset develops from what you are intentionally taught by parents and mentors. Some of your money mindset develops from observing other’s interactions with money.
We accept these observations and teaching as fact and they become part of our inner psyche. But as adults, it’s up to us to learn how to re-examine the money mindset beliefs you have learned or observed to see if it’s for you, or against you.
It’s hard work! And you have to take it one piece at a time. But you CAN shift your mindset around money. You can become positive, hopeful and 100% responsible for your financial life.
The easiest place to start is with your language.
When you start to notice the way you are talking about money, you might be surprised at how many negative phrases or connotations you have on the topic. I could write a book about it!
But the #1 thing I ask people to do to improve their money mindset is to stop saying, “I can’t afford it.”
On the surface, saying you can’t afford something seems like good financial practice, right? You’re being responsible, saying no to something you want but don’t have the money to buy.
But let’s break this down a little further.
Saying that you can’t afford something is giving away your power and responsibility. It puts the blame on not being able to do something or have something on the money. It’s moneys fault! It didn’t show up for me!
In reality, YOU have complete control over how you choose to spend money and how you choose to earn money.
Being able to “afford” something or not comes down to your priorities.
Priorities are responsible. Priorities give you your power back.
Maybe you are buckling down to pay off debt, so you “can’t afford” that girls weekend. It’s not that you can’t afford it, it’s that your priority is getting the debt taken care of.
So instead of saying you can’t afford something, try saying, “That’s not a priority for me right now.”
This isn’t just for people on a tight budget. This works for big ‘wants’ as well.
For example, my husband and I really want a boat that we can take to the San Juan Island’s (near where we live) and sleep on. Nothing crazy fancy, but still, boats you can sleep on don’t come cheap.
One day, we were walking at the marina and my husband, admiring one of the boats we would love to have, said the dreaded words, “But we just can’t afford it.”
Hold the phone!
I explained to him, it wasn’t that we couldn’t afford it. It was that we weren’t prioritizing a purchase like that right now. We had just prioritized buying a nice house. We prioritized working fewer hours while our son is small. Those choices didn’t leave room for a boat. But they were our highest priorities and matched our values as a family. If we had made different choices, maybe bought a smaller house or increased our working hours the boat might have made the cut.
The point is, it was a question of priorities. It is ALWAYS a question of priorities.
Take back the power and eliminate “I can’t afford it” from your language.
Just because you aren’t prioritizing something right now, doesn’t mean you can start to plan, dream and prioritize it for the future. The possibilities for what you can create for your life are endless. The important thing to remember is that you always have options and you are 100% responsible for your mindset and your life.