Is Your Mind on Your Money or
Is Your Money on Your Mind?
By Diane Kern, Ph.D.
When Our Money is on Our Minds: We are experiencing stress in relationship to our finances.
This is an unhealthy state.
We feel as though we have no power over our money. In other words, we view ourselves as victims of our finances. Situations such as excessive debt, insufficient funds, and behaviors, such as overspending and disordered priorities cause feelings of insecurity and create emotional stress (i.e. worry, depression, low self-esteem, frustration and embarrassment). Usually, this state was created by insufficient money management education and the lack of training related to values associated with money.
This is also the state in which we operate when money becomes the "fix it" remedy for our emotional distress. For instance "retail therapy" may be utilized to address our feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. In other words, money and the things that can be purchased provide a temporary rush or a substitute for the unfulfilled needs and emotional void in one's life. In this case, the underlying distress and emotional needs remain ultimately unsatisfied, as money or the objects they buy cannot truly replace or remedy our feelings.
When Our Mind is on Our Money: We feel empowered over our finances. This is a healthy state.
We recognize that our spending is directly related to our values and philosophy about money. In addition, we view our financial decisions as choices that we make and for which we take responsibility. We possess and utilize skills, such as delay of gratification, budgeting, saving, investing, etc. This posture enables us to regard money as a tool, over which we have control. Therefore, we are much more likely to make financial decisions that work well for us and that allow us to create greater financial security; experience the societal benefits that accompany behaving in financially responsible ways (i.e. greater ease obtaining credit, lower credit and mortgage interest rates, higher credit rating score, etc.); and enjoy greater peace of mind.
Listed below are money related skills that enable us to experience this empowerment.
- Remember; Money Does Not Define or Measure You
- Monitor Your Spending and Financial Status
- Distinguish Between Your Needs and Your Wants
- Set Financial Priorities and Goals that Address Your Needs
- Create a Budget that is in Line With Your Healthy Priorities
- Practice a Balanced Financial Approach: Save Some, Spend Some, Share Some
- Identify Underlying Urges to Spend in Unhealthy Ways
- Address Emotional Needs, Instead of Self-Medicating with Money
- Seek Professional Assistance with Financial Management Skills