Traditional money advice sometimes bugs the crap out of me.
Imagine what we’ve been going through these past several months — nothing that “traditional” personal finance can really speak to there, right? So-called money experts often come up with these silly ideas that are supposed to help you get control of your money. Did you hear about the millionaire who claimed that millennials couldn’t afford houses because they spend all of their money on avocado toast? That didn’t go over well.
My favorite “tip” is the idea that skipping your daily or weekly latte (every money advisor’s favorite analogy) will have a monumental impact on your finances. Sure. Let’s say you get a $5 latte every weekday. That’s $25 a week, $100 a month, almost $1,200 a year. And yes, putting that towards your credit card debt or retirement savings would definitely add up over time. It seems like an easy fix, right?
But…what if you look forward to that latte every single day? What if sitting down to drink that coffee is your moment of mindfulness and bliss before you start your workday? What if it’s your 3 PM treat to help you get through the day? What if it’s your time to chat with friends for a few minutes? What if you don’t have the “willpower” to give it up? Does that mean you’re doomed to stay in debt and work forever?
Of course not. It just means that particular advice doesn’t fit your situation.
The idea that you can just “spend less and earn more” to solve all your money woes is about as helpful as telling someone that they can “eat less and move more” to lose weight — technically, they’re both absolutely true, but wouldn’t you already be doing those things if it were as easy as all that?Nearly every money issue you come up against isn’t about the money. It’s about your energy and the emotional baggage you’re bringing with you to every interaction with money. Click To Tweet
General money rules don’t fit everyone
That’s why most general money advice you’ll find lying around is pretty useless. It doesn’t take your personal circumstances into account, nor does it create any kind of conscious spending plan that leaves you feeling happy and fulfilled instead of grumpy and resentful every time you drive past a Starbucks. That’s because, I believe, nearly every money issue you come up against isn’t about the money. It’s about your energy and the emotional baggage you’re bringing with you to every interaction with money. The good news is, you don’t need to give up anything specific; you get to decide what works for you.
The bad news is – YOU have to figure out what works for YOU.
That means, it’s not just having a one-time budget exercise and you’re fixed forever; it means that you have to gauge your reactions, responses and energy as you move through money situations and face money challenges. You have to stay conscious of your mindset and the energy you’re bringing to the situation to achieve the best financial result.
Three steps to customizing your own money plan
People who achieve the most financial success start with mindset. They are totally conscious of how history and habits play into their current money decisions. To get on top of that yourself, you can start with these three steps:
- Take responsibility for your own energy. Here’s the thing: your money problems aren’t your parents’ fault and they’re not your boss’ fault. Yes – there might be some factors working against you (as much as we wish otherwise, we can’t control the economy), but focusing on limitations won’t get you closer to your goals. Think about what you CAN you control or influence and start there. Your energy, your issues, your mindset that you bring to your interactions with your money — that’s on you.
- Acknowledge the progress and recommitment cycle. Here’s a scary fact: you’re never done with your money mindset work. You’re just not. Old stuff gets resolved for a while, then pops back up again when you least expect it. You bust through one energy block only to find another, even bigger one waiting for you on the other side. You move eight steps forward until something sends you ten steps back. I picture it like a spiral staircase. It may feel like you’re going around in circles, but actually, you’re making progress. You must acknowledge and accept that you’re never going to be perfect. But you can commit to always working on your energy and mindset to keep making progress and keep moving forward.
- Work on self forgiveness. I’m going to tell you a big not-so-secret secret: we’ve all made mistakes. We’ve all made poor decisions that have come back to haunt us. It doesn’t matter what’s in your past — bankruptcy, massive amounts of debt, bad investments, poor choices — it’s in the past. We can’t change the past. We have to release the past so it loses its power over us. If we continue to dwell on the past mistakes we’ve made, how can we ever shift that energy and move forward?
Sometimes I think people have a tendency to self-flagellate with memories of their money misdeeds in an attempt to prevent themselves from making the same mistake, but that rarely works. The only thing that I’ve found that truly works to help prevent you from reliving those same mistakes, again and again, is making peace with them. Forgiving them. Believe me, forgiving does not mean you forget. It simply means that you can move forward without shame.
Finally, a bonus fourth thing you must do is take action. If you don’t, you will be doomed to repeat yourself. Stop looking for the quick fix that looks like a year of skipped lattes and instead buy yourself a cup, sit down, and do some of the hard work required to look at the mindset and energies that really brought yourself to this place.
Then enjoy that coffee with my blessings.
Does this resonate with you? Do you want more insights with your energy to see how to improve your money? Then you need to hop on over and get Understanding Your Money Chakras, my free ebook. You can get that here in my free library of resources.