Do you ever feel like you self-sabotage with money? Or wonder if you have limiting beliefs that could be holding you back from financial freedom?
For most of you, the answer is probably a resounding, “Yes!”
The truth is, most of us have money beliefs that are holding us back in some way. And our ability to identify and change these beliefs is a vital part of our financial journey.
What Are Money Beliefs?
Money beliefs are invisible scripts that drive our financial behavior. These are messages about money that we have internalized over time. Once that happens, these beliefs drive our actions and behaviors without us even realizing it.
Most of us pick up our money beliefs during childhood, either directly or indirectly. This could be from statements our parents made or through us observing how other people act around money.
And most of us continue to hold onto these beliefs as adults, long after they stopped being useful. Let’s look at three common money beliefs and how holding onto these beliefs will hold us back financially.
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Belief #1: There’s Never Enough Money
Some people believe that there’s never enough money to go around and that the more money you save, the better. These individuals tend to be extremely frugal and save money to the point where they’re afraid to spend it on anything.
Of course, saving money is a good thing, and I will never discourage it. But just like anything else in your life, you can indulge in it to your own detriment.
People who believe there is never enough money tend to hoard their money, believing they’ll need it for some future emergency. They stress over very minor expenses, and a fear of spending prevents them from engaging in social activities.
Being frugal is not a bad thing, but if you focus too much on saving every penny, it can hold you back. It’s important to spend responsibly, but a huge part of financial independence focuses on investing, increasing your earning potential, and having a growth mindset.
Belief #2: Money Will Solve My Problems
This money belief is on the opposite end of the spectrum. People who believe that money will solve all of their problems tend to overspend.
According to Psychology Today, roughly 6% of people in the U.S. have compulsive buying behavior. For many people, this develops in their thirties once they’ve reached a more stable financial situation.
Compulsive spenders tend to make lots of impulse purchases that they don’t really need. They often try to hide their shopping habits and feel an abundance of guilt over previous purchases. This overspending is often used as a way to avoid negative emotions.
Overspending often leads to credit card debt and can cause serious long-term financial problems. That’s because overspenders often neglect things like saving and investing for their future.
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Belief #3: It’s Not Okay to Talk About Money
This final harmful money belief is more nuanced than the other two. Some people tend to avoid the topic of money altogether and feel like it’s not okay to talk about it.
In many ways, it’s easy to see how this belief can develop over time. As kids, we’re all taught to be polite and that it’s not okay to ask adults specific questions about money. How many times were you scolded for asking how much something costs?
And oftentimes, people avoid talking about money because they feel ashamed of previous financial mistakes. For instance, if you have a lot of debt, then you may not want to talk about it out of embarrassment.
The problem is people who avoid talking about money never receive the help they need. So their current financial issues tend only to get worse. And they’re never able to set or make progress on financial goals.
How to Overcome Your Money Beliefs
So what do you do if you identified with one of the harmful money beliefs I outlined in this blog post? Well, here are a few steps you can take to start changing your scripts around money:
- Look for a new belief: Before you can change your behavior, you’re going to have to find a new belief to change your current money script. For instance, if you overspend to deal with negative emotions, you may need to start by finding a healthier emotional outlet.
- Seek out different perspectives: It’s not easy to change our beliefs around money, no matter how badly we may want to. If you’re struggling to get past your limiting money beliefs, it can help seek a new perspective.
Look for people who are financially successful and have different beliefs than you do about money. Why do they think that way, and what can you learn from them? This exercise will start to open your mind up to a new perspective around money.
- Focus on your goals: Finally, what will motivate you to finally change those money beliefs for good? In other words, you need to figure out your “why.”
Figuring out your why is so powerful because it helps you find your underlying purpose. Taking action becomes easier, and you’re more motivated to continue on your financial journey.
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The Bottom Line
We all have underlying money beliefs that hold us back from reaching our financial goals. Identifying these beliefs and taking the necessary steps to change them is just part of the process. Change is a process, and it won’t happen overnight, but with small, consistent effort, you’ll be amazed at where you can end up.