When we think of the word “relationship” we inevitably associate it with our SO, (significant other), our family, our friends etc.  In fact, we have a relationship with everything in our life:  from our love of chocolate, our dedication to our caffeine addiction, to our fav sneakers or our need to exercise.   What may be a little less obvious is the fact that we have a relationship with money. 

“The subject of money often engenders a strong emotional response.  One of the reasons is because of our association with it.  Money is and of itself is actually neutral but depending on our experiences with money, especially growing up – we come to view money from a particular lens which impacts on our relationship with and experience of it in our lives,” says wealth coach and financial advisor, Lianne Lutz of Women’s Wealth.

If you want to discover your relationship with money, just stop for a moment and think about the word “money” – your money, other people’s money, your family’s money.  If you’re like everyone else on the planet, you just experienced a variety of emotions from happiness to anxiety to fear to anger and many other feelings along the emotional spectrum.

We take a look at some key ways to start improving your relationship with money, in order to experience greater financial well-being in your life.

What are you saying to yourself about money

Our self-talk about money is usually something that has been internalized as a result of the circumstances in which we grew up.  Become aware of what you say to yourself about money.  “We can use our self-talk to empower our beliefs about money,” says Lianne.  Start by noticing what you are saying or thinking to yourself when it comes to money. Things like “Money doesn’t grow on trees” or “We can’t afford that” or “They think they’re so great because they’re rich” are disempowering statements.

While we’re not saying pretend everything is perfect – using empowering self-talk such as “What is one action I can take to improve my finances?” can help you to start taking the necessary steps to create the life you want.

What did you learn about money growing up 

Think of your childhood memories in connection to money.  Was there enough money?  Did you get a message of hardship and struggle around money? Did your parents fight about money?  Did you have friends who were more affluent than you?  How did that make you feel? “These questions are important, revealing the conclusions and beliefs we’ve established about money. Looking back on our childhood messages that we received about money can help us to understand our current emotions around money. When seen from the perspective of your adult eyes, you can choose to keep those beliefs which serve you and swop disempowering beliefs with those which are more supportive of what you want to see and achieve in your life.

Respect and care for your money

Respect and care are integral parts of a good relationship. Treating your money with respect means working to pay your debt, knowing how much you spend every month and saving up for those things you want. Although financial inventory such as budgeting is often one of those “I’ll do it tomorrow” exercises, it's also one of that exercises which makes you feel more in control of your finances. Make it simple. Block out an hour: List all your expenses.  Categorise items into negotiables and non-negotiables. Start spending less than you earn so that you begin using your money strategically to get closer to setting up your financial independence.

Feel the fear and do it anyway

This title of the book by well-known author, Susan Jeffers, should become your mantra. Are you letting your fear define you? We often allow fear to stand in our way, allowing it to dictate what we can or can’t do. “It’s time to do whatever it takes to break through the fear barrier: have that conversation; look at your money, choose a different path.  Ask questions.  Get advice.  It’s never too late,” says Lianne. “Be proactive. We are only stuck when we don’t move forward. Mistakes are an essential part of this process.” Defy fear. Move past your comfort zone and take the first step to achieving your financial goals.

Acknowledge your small victories

Our days are demanding with so much to get done. Don’t let overwhelm discourage you. Break down your goals into micro-components, giving you a good chance to achieve each small goal, allowing you to build your feelings of confidence and competence. Keep in mind that your goal may be big hairy and audacious but your steps en route to achieving it can be small, knowing that compounded, they make one giant leap to achieving your desired end result.

Take ownership

If you are waiting for someone to come and make it alright, you’re going to wait a long time. It’s up to you to create your own “good luck” and fortune.  No matter where you on your financial journey – at the beginning or getting closer to achieving your financial goals – you always have to keep on taking the next step, and the next. “It’s all about one small step at a time. It’s important to have your goals so you know where you are going. But each goal must be broken down into small manageable steps. Dare to act on your dreams of having more and being more. Dare to take ownership of your journey and outcomes.

Feedback not mistakes

Setbacks are part of the human experience as you work towards a goal. In fact, they are an essential part of the path, directing you where to go (or not to go or do). They are not the end of the path, but a means to an end goal, with the benefit of a valuable lesson. Think delay, not defeat. This is your rite of passage to achieving your worthy goal.

“So, for today, stand a little taller.  Walk a little straighter.  Smile (at others and yourself) and your money – there’s an excellent chance that all three will smile right back at you!” concludes the Women’s Wealth advisor.