You will never fully understand the way you deal with money until you understand yourself. Throughout my years as a financial coach, it’s something I’ve learned personally and share professionally. It’s simple human nature. Our outlook towards money dictates not only what we do, but also how we do it. I am a firm believer of personal finance being twenty percent (20%) knowledge and eighty percent (80%) behavior. Your attitudes and behaviors towards money play a vital part in your financial past, present, and your future. The more we view our behavior as a determining factor in both our attitudes and habits, the more successful we should be. This is not exclusive to personal finance, as this stands true for most things we encounter in our day to day lives. Through my experience as a financial coach, it’s been reinforced that attitudes and habits are easier to identify and change once behavior has been addressed. So, how do you understand the way you handle money?
Here are some questions to jumpstart your quest to understand your view on finances.
- What is your earliest money memory?
Your earliest money memory usually takes a while to remember. Your first memory of money, unless something drastic has happened to change this, is generally how you handle money today. If you remember being at the grocery store with Grandma after spending hours cutting coupons, you’re more than likely looking for the best deal available.
2. How was money used in your family?
Many families don’t discuss money, especially with children. However, if you ask most children they can tell you a lot about their family financial situation. What we value can be identified by what we spend our money.
3. What was your family’s financial focus?
Did you have or do you have a family financial focus? In some of the classes held at the Excel Center, attendees make a vision board. While some of these boards may not list money specifically, you can see the impact of money and spending on these goals.
4. What were your parents’ spending and saving patterns?
Simply put, we mimic what we’ve seen in our spending and saving. Most people fall into one of the following categories of spender/savers: Spontaneous, Giving, Carefree, Security, Status, and Planning.
5. What do you expect from your money?
What are your expectations for your money? Do you view money as a goal or a resource? Your view of money determines your direction in planning or budgeting.
Let’s open up the discussion on our money habits and attitudes. Schedule a one-on-one financial coaching session, make a list of your goals, plan ahead. The best way to understand the way that you handle money . . . is by looking in the mirror.
By: Jaison K.D. McCall, Financial Education Manager