Get rid of negative attitudes and behaviors about money
By Patricia Gerhardt
River Valley District Extension Agent
Childhood experiences and attitudes/emotions about money can have a major effect on how you handle your finances today. Most of us have similar beliefs about money as our parents and the culture we grew up in. While some habits we've picked up may be excellent, others may need to be examined and, if not eliminated, at least tweaked. The following beliefs are examples of financial baggage that may be distorting your thinking and financial decision making:
--The more money I make, the happier I'll be.
--Net worth = self-worth
--I'm not smart/capable enough to earn more money.
--Live for today--the future may not come.
--High debt is normal.
--The man should make all the financial decisions.
--You have to work long hours and neglect your family in order to earn a good income.
--Buying expensive gifts proves that you love someone.
--Money is a tool to use for power and control.
--Hard work is always rewarded with a paycheck.
--You're not supposed to talk about money.
--You will never have enough.
--The government (Social Security) and your employer will take care of you in later life.
Your current financial decisions and behavior have been influenced by what you've seen and heard since childhood. Once you recognize the thoughts and behaviors that are keeping you down, change those negative statements into positives. Write them down and keep those positive thoughts where you can see and be reminded of them. Also, keep in mind the affirming motto your "state of mind, more than anything else out there, determines your level of success" (B. Stanny, 1994). The following is an example of a negative financial statement that's been made into a positive message:
Negative: High debt is normal. Everyone has it.
Positive: Paying off my bills as they come allows me, not someone else, to control how my money is spent.