Money Mentality

You’re Better with Money Than You Think

There’s a lot of money advice floating around on the Internet…and in life.

Invest in bonds. But maybe stocks as well. Just kidding! Index funds are the best.

Buy that house. (No, not that one. The other one.)

Pay off your debt fast. But also build an emergency fund of $7,892.13. While you’re at it, save for retirement too.

 

It’s overwhelming, and people typically respond to the stress (and guilt) in one of three ways:

 

Type1

The Eager Learner

After reading an article about the latest money app, you happily sign up. It looks a little complicated, but it’s what the experts recommend, so you promise yourself to make time for it after work. Two hours later, a Facebook article catches your eye: “The Money App That Will Change Your Life and Make Everything Better.”

You click on it and are surprised to find that the app in the article is different than the one you just bought. Diligently, you download this one as well. By the time you arrive home that evening, your money to-do list from the “experts” is a mile long. Feeling defeated, you toss the list and turn on Netflix instead, promising yourself that tomorrow will be different.

Or maybe your day is different.

 

Type2

The Internal Bully

You’re on your way to work. It’s early and you’ve had a long week. Nothing in the world sounds better than a cup of coffee. Stopping by your local store, you purchase a cappuccino. After taking the cup from the barista, the silent barrage of self-hate begins:

God, you suck with money. This is why you’re always broke.”

As you sip your latte, a familiar sentence is on repeat in your head, “I’m bad with money. I’m bad with money. I’m bad with money.”

Whether it’s the “experts” who make you feel like a financial failure or the vicious little voice inside your head, there’s no end to the barrage of information, to-do’s and well-meaning articles.

But maybe your relationship with money is even less, um, defined.

Type3

Too Scared to Look

It’s nearing the end of the month and you know your bank account is getting dangerously low. When your best friend invites you to happy hour after work, you start to sweat.

Will there be enough money in your account to pay for a $5 glass of wine?

You’re not sure but decide to hope for the best. Looking at your account and facing the truth is way too stressful and you’d rather take your chances. You arrive at the bar and order a drink. Holding your breath, you watch the bartender swipe your card. The seconds pass in slow motion. You feel like you might pass out. Finally, he smiles and hands your card back. You breathe a sigh of relief.

Your account isn’t at zero…at least not yet.

 

No matter what “type” you are, we’ve all been there.

The awkward moment when your card is declined at a restaurant (ahem, Cheesecake Factory) or the time when you didn’t have enough credit left on your credit card to pay a rental car deposit (Sorry, Enterprise). Or maybe it was the time you felt so guilty about buying a cup of coffee that you wanted to cry.

Regardless of where you’ve been with money or where you might end up, there’s a little secret you should know:

You’re better with money than you think.

You have survived. You’ve paid the rent, bought the groceries and kept the lights on. You’ve saved for big expenses; traveled to far-off places (or maybe just the next city) and you’ve realized some of your dreams.

You’ve worked jobs and then worked some more. You’ve bought your family presents and been there for night outs on your friends’ birthdays. You’ve paid your monthly payments and tried to save the rest. You’ve learned and you’ve grown.

Money is complicated. Saving, budgeting, learning and failing.

But you’ve come this far, and that’s a pretty amazing feat.

 

 

What “type” are you? Do you consider yourself to be “bad with money”? I would love to hear from you!

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7 Comments

  • Reply Andrew @ Quest for Billions February 2, 2016 at 9:33 am

    I like to think of myself as an eager learner when it comes to money. That being said, I definitely have a vicious little voice inside my head that is tough to ignore. This internal bully is great at making me second guess myself. I think that is why I am so interested in behavioral finance and the emotional side of dealing with money. I have made mistakes with money in the past, and I will definitely make more in the future. But I am learning. And the more I learn about that little voice in my head, the better armed I am to try to minimize the impact it has on my decision making going forward.

    • Taylor
      Reply Taylor February 2, 2016 at 9:57 am

      I’m exactly the same! A combination of the eager learner and internal bully. It can be tough to deal with sometimes. haha. But I think it’s something that can be easily altered with self-awareness and some kindness 🙂 I think money has a lot of potential to be a tool for freedom and flexibility, but it can also be something that we use as a weapon against ourselves. I completely agree about the learning part and combination of money + emotions. For me, that’s where it’s at. All the facts don’t mean a thing if my underlying emotions aren’t addresses as well. Thanks, Andrew 🙂

  • Reply Alyssa February 2, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Well, it’s safe to say I have been all 3 of these at one point in my life. But, I’m also proud to state that #3 no longer applies to me. Fear & finance is a thing of the past, and I welcome looking at my bank account every single day, even if it’s glum. These are all great things to think about though, because they affect most people daily, which can be stressful and draining. It’s always nice to be able to conquer something every year, and hopefully I’ll be able to say soon enough that I am no longer an internal bully. As for #2…I see nothing wrong with being eager. I think I’d like to keep that a part of my life 🙂 Just need to complete tasks I’ve set out to do.

  • Reply Claudia @ Two Cup House February 2, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    Honestly, I never had any opinion about it before–maybe that’s a good thing? I convinced myself I didn’t care about money because I worked for non-profits doing what I thought I was supposed to doing, and I guess I used this to justify being in debt and having no money. I’m better with money today!

  • Reply Sarah Noelle @ The Yachtless February 2, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    I think I’m naturally in the too scared to look camp, but I remember when I first started blogging and reading a lot of other blogs, I had a few weeks of being the eager learner. I wonder if there’s a fourth mindset called, like, “the levelheaded, responsible person who has a super healthy attitude towards money all the time,” lol. (If that mindset exists, I have yet to experience it.) 🙂 But your point is well taken. It’s good to remember that we’re all probably doing a lot of things right.

    Also, I really want to go wherever you are finding these $5 glasses of wine! 🙂 It must not be here in Boston… :/
    Sarah Noelle @ The Yachtless recently posted…One Hundred Fifty-Seven DollarsMy Profile

  • Reply John February 3, 2016 at 11:22 am

    It’s important for us all to acknowledge we’ve goofed up with money a few (or more) times in our lives. No one escapes financial management with a perfect record. The important thing is to learn from it – after all, you paid the tuition to the school of hard knocks – and try to apply the lesson so it doesn’t happen again.

    No need to beat ourselves up……that won’t help in the long run. Of course making the same mistakes over and over won’t help us in the long run either! Learn, grow and then let it go!

    John
    John recently posted…What were you thinking?My Profile

  • Reply Alyssa @ Generation YRA February 4, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    I am definitely the Eager Learner, but sometimes find myself falling into the Internal Bully category! I learn, I apply, I save, I invest…then there’s that one time I decide to go out to dinner, or join friends for coffee – and I seriously beat myself up over it. WHAT?! It’s almost craziness! There’s a fine balance between saving & still enjoying the time now with your hard earned money. I need to work on taming that internal bully, because it can really get the best of me. But I love that, “you’re better than money than you think.” Next time I feel the bully coming on, I’ll say that instead. 🙂

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