Before I get started with my article this week, I’d like to ask you to please forward these articles to anyone you think might benefit from them. I want to spread the word that a truly healthy relationship with money is possible!
When we are working with a subject as important as money, it can sometimes be hard to even know if you have a problem. How can you tell if you are doing well, or if there really is something that you could do better? In this article I want introduce the top three symptoms that can help you identify if you need to improve your relationship with money.
Feelings of guilt or shame around your spending decisions
Do you spend emotionally? Do you horde money because you’re afraid to make the wrong decision? Feeling guilt or shame around your money is your body and mind telling you that there is something wrong. I like to say that guilt and shame is often a symptom of a lack of alignment of your money decisions and your life values. The further your spending is away from your fundamental values, the stronger the feelings of guilt and shame will be. As I work with clients, we do a lot of work on releasing guilt and shame both by exploring their money stories as well as working to more deeply understand their values and realigning your spending with those values.
But at this stage, it can be a useful indicator: If you feel guilt and shame around money, it probably means your relationship with money is currently unhealthy. The next step is become forgiving to yourself, while understanding what your current money situation is, so that you can make decisions that are more aligned with your values.
The paycheck-to-paycheck cycle
Ahhhhh, the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. For those of you that have experienced it or it’s bruiser cousin the debt-spiral, I probably don’t need to say very much here. If you are just squeaking by every month, if you are relieved to see your paycheck come in every month, or you know that a delay of even a few days could sink your whole financial house of cards, then you already know how stressful and nerve-wracking being in this situation is. And the thing is, while it is sometimes a problem with too low income, it is just as often an issue with over-spending, or (here it is again!) lack of clarity about spending.
If you find yourself in a paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, often the first step is getting clarity. I’m not trying to say it is easy. I know from personal experience that it is so much easier to say than do. But I can tell you, it is possible to do!
Lack of clarity
Do you know how much debt you have? Do you know the minimum you need to spend each month to survive? Do you know how much you are worth? If you have a business, are your business finances separated from your personal finances?
Having a lack of clarity surrounding your money is my number one symptom of an unhealthy relationship with money. It indicates that you might be pushing away your finances, and not looking deeply into whether you have a plan in place that is working for you.
What can you do about it?
Being able to look at your finances clearly is also the first step to healing your relationship with money! You might be surprised how gaining clarity on your money will actually bring you relief from money stress. Even if the overall picture is not what you hoped, just knowing helps you understand what you can do to bring yourself forward to the financial goals you have.
The first step is knowing you want to improve how you work with money! Now that you know, you can narrow it down a bit. Do you need to focus on debt? Do you want to stop compulsive spending? Do you want to let go of guilt and shame and have a healthy relationship with money? Once you know what the first step is, you can start working on healing your relationship with money, one day at a time. In an upcoming article, I’m going to talk about my philosophy for a healthy relationship with money. Stay tuned!