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Your money beliefs are what work silently in the background, guiding your behaviour with and around money. Whether you feel anxiety or joy at receiving a large inheritance, when you choose your next job solely for the pay hike and give up your family time, your choice to gift your family expensive branded goods for their birthday or your choice to give a portion of your income every month to those who need it more than you, all of these decisions are wound up in your money beliefs.
Money beliefs usually stem from money experiences in childhood and settle into our subconscious mind. We never question ourselves as adults on why we make certain money decisions, sometimes even those which are unfavourable. Over time, some of these negative money beliefs which result in unfavourable outcomes, end up causing more damage than we expect.
The damage could be in the form of excessive debt, financial stress, anxiety, failed relationships and unpreparedness for lies ahead in life. The good news is that there is a way to overcome negative money beliefs by trying to reframe them.
Negative money beliefs
Feeling guilty if you spend on yourself? You don’t understand finance and money matters? You don’t trust others to help and advice on your money? Can’t take money decisions independently? Don’t talk about money matters openly?
These are all examples of behaviours driven by negative money beliefs and there can be a lot more of them too. Whenever an internal belief stops you from exploring the subject to its fullest degree, be it about making decisions or choices or just sharing your point of view, it’s coming from an innate corridor that you haven’t explored enough.
Dig deeper and you may find there are unresolved issues, lessons you were taught as a child or experiences which left a mark and molded your money behaviour.
A spendthrift parent who may have dragged the family into debt or an unreliable parent who couldn’t hold a job or a highly ambitious parent who was a workaholic chasing money, all three can result in money scripts which can have an. Unhealthy manifestation in the future.
Negative money beliefs first need to be recognized and then reframed into a positive form to change limiting behaviours with money. A reframe can change the mindset and the way of operating into something that has positive outcomes and lets you enjoy your money rather than worry about it.
How can you reframe?
Reframes are not easy to do, they take time and effort. More importantly, reframes are not easy to do alone, by yourself. Ideally, you need a professional financial coach to help you arrive at these reframes in your own time and space. A coach can guide and nudge you towards the reframe that will be the most relevant for you. For example, let’s take a money belief which says that – I don’t think I will ever have enough money. This belief then leads you to feel guilty every time you spend, especially on yourself and ultimately you are anxious even if you have enough. The reframe for this negative belief can very well be, I have enough money.
However, for someone who already has enough but is unable to shrug the anxiety on large spends, this may not be a complete reframe. You have to dig deeper into what has caused the negative belief to be present and then understand what the person really desires from their money. Why has the anxiety overspending come into being in the first place? Is there really not enough or is it that there is guilt on spending with enough lying in the bank account already.
The purpose of a reframe is to get rid of this guilt and anxiety around spending money. If indeed there isn’t enough, a reframe can help curb frivolous expenses. If there is enough money in the bank and the feeling of anxiety overspending is only driven by the negative belief, a different reframe is needed. In case of the latter, a reframe could be that – I have enough for today and for my future or it could be that – I have enough to take care of my needs and enjoy my money – or it could be – I have enough to take care of my family’s needs today and in future, plus some to have enjoy our lives with.
Arriving at this reframe by yourself is you trying to cycle up a hill, with the bicycle tied to a tree at the bottom; getting out of the environment created by your mind for so many years is not going to happen easily. However, if money matters are beginning to cause you anxiety, reframes are important and needed. What you need to do is reach out for some help, some empowerment and some simple conversations about money.
This is where a financial coach can step in and be the partner you need to overcome the negative beliefs and reframe them into a healthy and positive mentality that relieves your stress and anxiety.