Money causes people a lot of grief. Chances are it has kept you up some nights. But does it really need to be this hard? Does money management need to be so painful to think about, talk about and deal with? Placing yourself in a comfortable and happy money place is not easy, but it’s no different than our desire to do the right thing in other areas of our lives: floss, eat right, exercise, get enough sleep and what ever else Dr. Oz is telling us to do this week. We are all striving to live a balanced, healthy life and money management is a part of that.
The basics of money management don’t change but people still have trouble following the established guidelines and advice. Why is this? Because a lot of the advice out there is “one size fits all” advice. We may know the basics: budget, spend less than you earn, invest wisely, etc. But if it were that simple, most of us would be in money management bliss. But we know that’s not the case. Many of us have financial demons that we are constantly struggling to defeat.
So how do you master these financial demons? Examine how you interact with money. You’re a person, not a robot and you will manage your money in a more successful manner if you understand why you aren’t treating your money with more respect.
Now, I generally don’t believe in finding the answers to life through online tests. But, there is a money personality quiz that I think may be helpful for people who want to think a little harder about who they are from a financial standpoint. It’s based on the book “It’s Not About the Money” by Brent Kessel and it can be found here: http://bit.ly/20JACq (scroll down through the article to find the link to the quiz). Don’t just take the test and go about your business. Sit down and really think about whether the results are accurate and whether there are ways for you to address any negative behavior that you identify as a result of the quiz.
For example, if you find out that you’re “The Star” who uses money to improve the way people view you, you might want to think about where that comes from and if there are other ways to satisfy that need that do not involve overspending. Or maybe you’re “The Innocent” and you ignore your money with the hopes that everything will work out in the end. You might want to think about why you avoid managing your money and figure out ways that you can interact with your money on a more conscious and knowledgeable basis.
FYI: I’m primarily “The Saver” who seeks security through accumulating assets. I have to remember that at the end of my life, I don’t want to be known as the woman who hoarded money. I want to be able to enjoy my life and help others enjoy their lives with the money I have earned.
If you take the quiz, realize that is only the first step. Start thinking about your relationship with money and ask yourself the following questions:
1. When do I find myself practicing my worst money habits?
2. What am I feeling when I make my worst money decisions?
3. What is it about the situation that leads me to treat my money this way?
4. What can I do differently to improve the way I deal with my money decisions?
Stop looking at your money situation from the eyes of generic guidance and advice. Start by taking a long, hard look at your life and how it has shaped your money behavior. If you understand your relationship with money, you can understand how to change your relationship and your actions in order to move yourself into a better place.
Kimberly Allman, Esq. is a financial planner and the President of Allman Financial Planning, LLC where she assists individuals who are seeking to improve their financial health. She is also the Manager of Homeownership Preservation for the New York Mortgage Coalition where she provides assistance to homeowners in distress through seminars, informational workshops and one-on-one counseling. She started her career as a corporate lawyer where she advised clients on a variety of investment products including hedge funds, mutual funds, structured products and real estate investment trusts.
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