Has an embarrassing situation ever stopped you from moving forward financially? I’ve been listening to all the chatter about Monica Lewinsky and it’s inspired me to talk about how an emotional travesty can derail your finances. OK, maybe your situation wasn’t an affair with a head of state. But your experience may have been just as humiliating and affected you just as drastically that you decided finances weren’t worth dealing with at all. Our money and our emotions are extremely intertwined. They can either motivate us to take action or demotivate us to make bad decisions.
How we handle our finances strongly ties to our past experiences, good or bad. Whether we recognize it or not, what we saw growing up shaped our money beliefs. For you, it could mean being extremely careful about exercising healthy spending habits now because you saw a lot of stress around money issues in your family when you were a kid. For me, the only time I witnessed a strong emotional reaction in my family stemmed from money. Therefore money issues causes me a lot of stress. They may for you, too.
I decided to face them head-on, which led me to become a certified financial planner. For others, confronting your financial past can start by creating goals that help you focus on what’s important when it comes to your money. Goals significantly drive action, which is why they are so important to the process of planning your finances.
The next step can be opening up and talking about your fears, doubts and concerns with a financial professional. In some cases, a mental health professional can be especially beneficial, particularly if you suffer from extreme money anxiety. While helping you personally, honest discussion about your finances can also minimize relationship problems because you learn about your partner’s views and ideas and what role money plays in them.
I’ve listened to women share their financial stories and learned about some of their issues around spending. I’ve discovered that in most cases, it’s a coping mechanism when facing an emotional challenge. It’s similar to how people use food as a comforter when a crisis occurs. Realizing what your emotional triggers are can be your first step towards attacking this issue. In the meantime, curtail your spending, be conscious about where your money is going and make a decision not to use credit cards or even carry them with you when you go out. Become a cash-and-carry type of girl.
I actually hate going to the mall. In that way, I’m like my husband. I just go for what I want and walk right out. I recognize that I might be an anomaly. Some women experience euphoria as soon as they walk into a mall. If that sounds like you and if being surrounded by stores is a spending trigger for you, avoid going to the mall haphazardly. Plan ahead for your purchases so you know exactly where you need to go without allowing yourself to wander, browse and overspend.
Emotions are a large part of our decisions, especially our money decisions. Don’t allow negative experiences or avoidance to prevent you from moving into a healthier place financially. So I ask: What are you doing to control your emotions when it comes to your finances?Tags: cfp, money anxiety, Monica Lewinsky, vanity fair, women and money