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The Kidonomics Series (TKS) 

Creating Mini Money Managers

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Finance is NOT about the numbers- The Budget

Posted by [email protected] on 24 February, 2015 at 19:00 Comments comments (27)


Today I want to reframe how we think of budgets. I will use the German psychiatrist Franz Muller-Lyer illusions as a metaphor of how we make decisions with reference to the two main components of the budget (savings and spending). I want to demonstrate that there are factors outside the scope of spreadsheets and numbers that affect our ability to budget successfully.


Before we get into the comparison, I’ll take a moment to acknowledge what the general consensus is about budgets. Many hear the word budget and immediately think straitjacket, restrictions and mind-numbing number crunching which they would rather not do. Is it possible for us to change our perspective of a budget? Can we see it as a tool? A tool which automates our cash flow for the month and in so doing gives us more time to focus on other important issues in our lives.


When we know where our money is going each month, it allows us to put into perspective what is really important. It is necessary to take a moment and step back and look and see where we are and determine if we want to be there. If not, what do we have to do to get where we WANT to be? This is the whole purpose of having a budget. A budget is a tool that helps to highlight financial shortcomings. It forces us to find clever ways to overcome these shortcomings. A budget in short is the blueprint for our financial success. It is the practical, implementable part of secret formula for wealth.


 THE SECRET FORMULA: (Save>spend)*(1+r) t


 If you are venturing into budgeting for the first time, start simple and ensure that you cover your basic expenses (food, home, clothes and insurance). Then you can either save or pay down debt with any remaining funds. If it is the case that you don’t have enough to cover the basics then, you will have to make some changes. A budget will help to both reduce and stop the accumulation of debt. Perhaps you may need to consider downsizing or maybe you need to find a new job or get a promotion. As you can see working with a budget may require you to take stock of other aspects of your life.


Here some practical steps you can follow to get started:

• Establish what your current income and expenses are— take a snap shot of where you are.

• Set goals. Figure out where you want to be financially. What is financially important to you? Saving for a major purchase, reducing debt (aka spending less) etc.

• Design your budget—be sure to buffer for seasonal expenses and emergencies—this is a pathway for achieving to your goals. There are many resources available online that you can use. Find one that works for you and start designing your budget. I recommend the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada website: http/www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/Eng/forConsumers/topics/budgeting/Pages/home-accueil.aspx

• Start implementing—this is usually the hardest part, here is where disciple and determination come into play.

• After a month or two, review and fine-tune.


Remember, it is not necessary to get it perfect the first time. A budget is a living document that changes as your circumstances changes. A budget is ever evolving and ongoing.


Now let’s get back to the illusions and see what lessons we can learn from them.


 


Take a look at the images. Are the tables the same size? The table on the left looks longer than the one on the right. However, both tables are the same size. You can prove this yourself by measuring the images. The moral of the story is what we see influences what we perceive. Our perception of what is may not be a true reflection what actually is. No, I swear I am not trying to mystify you. I am only trying to point out that if we can’t trust our vision to perceive what is really there, what does this imply for our ability to use our cognition (thinking) to make decisions when things are less straightforward as sight? When we are trying to spend less and save more, we are influenced by numerous external factors which greatly impact the success we have in adhering to a budget.


Let’s look at how perception affects our spending. When we are working with a budget, it is necessary to keep spending in check. More often than not this turns out to be a mammoth task, especially if we feel compelled to spend on particular items that may not really be serving us but we have come to believe that they are. Here I draw reference to Martin Lindstrom’s book Brandwashed , which essentially shows how marketers use psychological, emotional, and rational tricks to convince unsuspecting consumers to buy.


“Our brains are prone to forming mental shortcuts […] known as somatic markers, that link cues from our physical world to specific emotional states […] Shrewd companies are able to actually plant these somatic markers in our minds by creating associations between some positive emotion and their product.” Brandwashed, page 199


It is well known that multinational companies invest a lot of money, time and effort to do research that allow them to sell to us without realising that we’ve been sold to. Marketers use emotional marketing to entice and convince us that we “need” a particular brand. Does this mean that we are just programmed drones for the marketers? No. We are only susceptible if we allow ourselves to be persuaded by these marketing ploys. To counteract these manoeuvres we need to recognize that it exists and then ensure that we make conscious choices. We have to take the time to see whether a product is actually adding real value to us or just a perceived value.


Now let’s look at how perception affects our savings and investment decisions. The financial industry uses fear to disturb and motivate us. The financial industry often uses statistical illusions to scare us into buying a particular product. On the one hand, they are doing us a service because they are getting us to invest and to take charge of our finances. However, what I have found is that scare tactics may work to get people to start investing but it does not guarantee commitment. When decisions are based on fear or intimation there is no staying power, within a year people either withdraw or simply stop contributing to the any type of savings plan.


You will be more committed when YOU are the one in the driver’s seat and calling the shots. You don’t have to be a financial expert to do this. You do however; have to know what YOU want. If you don’t know what your financial goals are, you will be at the mercy of others. Your savings and investment plans might be designed based on what others think is best for you. I have personally seen the tragedy of going down this path. I know that many people get overwhelmed, especially when there are thousands of mutual funds and countless other savings vehicles to choose from. It is no wonder that people get confused and are overwhelmed. When this happens, they simply go to the default or worse, do nothing.


Here is what I have to tell you. You don’t have to know everything about mutual funds or other savings vehicles to be in charge of your financial destiny. You simply have to know what you want to accomplish. This is the foundation for everything. From this point you can start building your investments based on your goals and objectives. You will be in a better position to guide your advisor. If you have a good financial advisor, they will work hard to ensure that the investment vehicle chosen will suit YOUR specific needs. You will find that it is easier to commit to investing and saving when YOU make the decision and not when it’s made for you.


 I know this wasn’t a typical budgeting post. My aim was to show that the successful budgeting goes beyond the numbers. We need the tools to design a budget, but that is only the beginning. Real budgeting success requires commitment, discipline and determination and an understanding of what forces are out there to distract us. We need to stop thinking of a budget as a straitjacket and starting seeing it as a springboard from which to launch one’s financial success.


 I would love to hear from you, what’s your experience with budgeting?


 

Dr. M

 

www.thekidonomicsseries.com

 

 

 


Finance is NOT about the numbers, Knowledge and Application

Posted by [email protected] on 17 February, 2015 at 20:15 Comments comments (28)


  

I am always on the quest for knowledge. I usually want to know everything about a topic. Doing research is pure bliss. Over the years, however, I have come to realise in a very poignant way that knowledge without application is useless. Like many, I may know something intellectually, but never really put it into practice. For me, it’s been being more mindful. I have studied mindfulness and its effects on the body and mind. I know it is something that I should be doing and I know only good can come of it, but do I practice it? Not as regularly as I should. Having the knowledge is great, but it is really useless if I don’t apply it.

 

I truly believe that many of us instinctively know what we need to do. The “secret” formula I gave you before is one that you already know. The question is, do you do what you’re supposed to, knowing that it will be to your benefit? Many people understand that amassing wealth requires savings and disciple when it comes to spending. As adults, we all know the difference between needs and wants. We all know that we have to prioritize in order of importance when making everyday purchasing decisions. How many follow us actually do this and do so consistently?

 

Case in point is a budget. Having a budget allows us to keep on course. It is our navigating system to reaching our financial goals. During my consultancy, I have found that my clients were aware of the need for having a budget and they all agreed that it was important to have one. I helped many of them craft beautiful, functional and executable budgets, only for it to be saved on their computer or phone and never be implemented.


So why it is that even though we all know what to do, we still don’t follow through. We turn to the field of cognitive psychology-more specifically cognitive dissonance for some answers. Psychologist Leon Festinger in his book, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, noted that people have an internal need to ensure that their beliefs and behaviors are consistent. When they are not it leads to disharmony, which people attempt to avoid. We then find a way to reframe the decision so that it is consistent with our initial belief. For instance: 

"The person who continues to smoke, knowing that it is bad for his health, may also feel (a) he enjoys smoking so much it is worth it; (b) the chances of his health suffering are not as serious as some would make out; (c) he can't always avoid every possible dangerous contingency and still live; and (d) perhaps even if he stopped smoking he would put on weight which is equally bad for his health. So, continuing to smoke is, after all, consistent with his ideas about smoking."  (Festinger, 1957)


Many of us fall into this frame of thinking, whether it is Buyer's Stockholm syndrome (where we rationalize making bad choices, usually expensive ones) or current moment bias, where people tend to prefer pleasure in the current moment and dealing with the pain later. Current moment bias was demonstrated in a study done by Read and van Leeuwen in 1998. The study showed that when people had to make choices about their snacks for the week, 74% of participants chose fruit instead of chocolate. However when the snack choice was for the current day, 70% picked chocolate.


The reason for the contraction in belief and behavior may be because many of us have a hard time seeing ourselves in the future. So changing a habit or behavior today doesn’t seem that urgent. So knowing that you have to stick to a budget may seem important over the long run, but not today when you’re out shopping. It doesn’t seem like the end of the world if you splurge a little. Too often, one day turns into two days, then three days, then into weeks, then into months, and worse, into years!


Another reason why we don’t put our knowledge into practice may be because we haven’t given ourselves time to digest what we have learned. We read a blog here, we listen to talk there, and we get information from the news, from friends, from experts. When do you take the time to filter and process?


Here are a couple of suggestions that can help you synthesise what you have learned to avoid cognitive dissonance and current moment bias. Set aside some time after you have read or listen to some information that can really be of benefit to you and:



 • Assess what you have learned about yourself.

  •  Figure out your money mindset and personality, where do you stand on this issue. (See previous post)

 


• Assess your ability to do what is required.

  •  Can you make and stick to a budget? 
  •  Can you start saving? 
  • What will it take for you to begin?



• Make a list of the things you know you CAN do and a list of the things you know you need HELP with. For instance, you can save but you may need help with developing a budget. Or you may need some specific advice on deciding what type of investment to make.

 


• Make an implementable TO DO NOW list. Emphasis on the NOW! Start with your top three or four actions you can take NOW. For example, I can 

      •  Open up a savings account today and start putting aside some money ( regardless of the amount)
      •  Start with a debt repayment plan
      •  Cut back on non-essential spending, such as coffee, reduce eating out and prepare meals at home (this one has both financial and health benefits!)
      •  Explore how I increase my earning capacity -start looking at options for career advancement.

 

• Finally, surround yourself with likeminded individuals. If you are in an environment that is supportive of your goals your chances of success will significantly improve.

 

Financial success requires substantial behavioral changes and it affects many facets of your life. No one can determine where, with whom and how you have to be. Only you can do that. The last suggestion is usually one that is very difficult. In no way I am saying that you should eliminate people from your life because you want to start building your net worth, but you will have to consider how your relationships affect you financially and what you can do to mitigate the effects if need be. Only you can make that determination.

 

I would love to hear what’s on your TO DO NOW list.

 

Dr. M

www.thekidonomicsseries.com

 

 

 

 

Finance is NOT about the numbers- Income

Posted by [email protected] on 10 February, 2015 at 10:40 Comments comments (29)

 

Today we will examine the role of income in wealth accumulation. Income is a significant component of your ability to grow wealth. How do you manage your income? Do you have a systematized approach? Do you spend first and save later or save first and spend what’s left? Are you making conscious decisions as to where, how much and on what you spend your income on? It may seem that I am always asking questions. There is a purpose to my questions. It is to make you stop and take stock if you aren’t doing so already. Questions allow us to define tasks, expose shortcomings and outline issues. Only when we ask questions can we find answers.

 

Now let’s examine the factors that determine our income and explore some possible strategies you can take to maximize your earning capacity. There are two factors that determine one’s level of income, these are education and ability. Your education determines at what level you will enter the workforce. Your ability, will determine how far up the ladder you will raise. Each of these factors is a function of several other factors that are specific to you.

 

Let’s start with your education. It’s the door opener. Your income level is a function of your educational qualifications (which is a function of your cultural background and your parent’s educational and financial background). Your level of education determines your entry position in the workplace. It generally determines your life time income. The chart below shows a direct correlation between life time income and level of education. It may seem discouraging if you don’t hold anything above a Masters or even a Bachelor’s Degree.


 

 

However, things are not always what they are graphed to be! It has been the general paradigm that higher education means higher income. However, we have notably examples of individuals who didn’t graduate from college and who have made more money and have had more impact on the world than we can dream of. A few names come to mind: Steven Jobs, Oprah, Bill Gates. Walt Disney didn’t even finish high school.

 

The world is changing every day. How we do business, how we communicate, how we work, are all under the process of transformation. The old paradigm of study hard, get a degree, then find a steady job until retirement is fading way into the distant past. There is also a brewing revolution in education as well. People like Sir Ken Robinson and Sugata Mitra are challenging the current educational paradigm and both make very compelling cases for change.


 

 

How is this relevant to you? Well, it means that your level of education DOES NOT dictate: who you are, what you are really capable of and what your true earning capacity can be. This brings us to the second factor that affects income and that is ability. Your ability is not always a function of your academic qualifications. It extends beyond that (I dare say sometimes it’s independent of it). There are always avenues for advancement; you just have to find them. Here is where to ability comes into play. How resourceful are you? Do you know where you want to be in your career? Do you have what it takes to make your way up the ladder? Are you willing to do what it takes to climb your way to the top? What’s stopping you, gender, age, archaic policies? How can you overcome these hurdles, if they exist?

 

There are three dominant key factors that significantly affect one’s earning capacity in any field or industry and can offset any negative bias. These are:

• How others value what you do?

• How well you do what you do?

• How difficult is it to replace you?

 

If you are able to create value while doing an outstanding job you will become irreplaceable. All great companies and valued employees meet these criteria exceptionally well.

 

Value is an intangible perceived benefit that someone will pay you for, because they derive a high level of satisfaction from consuming whatever it is you’re selling. If you can explain to your customer or boss why they should choose you and you can demonstrate to them that you are the best person for the job, you would make yourself valued and indispensable. Case in point, Apple is not the only store selling phones and computers. Amazon is not the most prestigious book seller. Tiffany isn’t the cheapest jeweller. People buy from these companies for reasons other than their products. They buy from them because they represent a lifestyle or philosophy that people resonate with and want to be part of. You may not be the employee with the most academic qualifications, but you may be the one that is able to rise the fastest in the organization because: you are well liked, you do superb work, you innovate and come up with clever solutions, and you naturally motivate people around you. The point is your success doesn’t’ lie solely in your academic qualifications, but rather in your ability to add value and become indispensable wherever you go.

 

If you want to start creating value and become indispensable in your organization start taking some initiative. Here are some ideas for you:

• Always be willing to help, ensure that your colleagues see you as someone who can get the job done. Take on challenges.

• Always deal with problems swiftly and fairly.

• If you can find alternative solutions which are more efficient or can save the company money, speak up

• Always be prepared. Know your field inside out. People should come to you for answers.

By now, I think you are starting to get the idea that although the secret formula for wealth is simple, the process of wealth creation is a bit more intricate. Your income level determines the scope and speed of your ability to accumulate wealth. So it is important to understand the ways in which you can maximize your earning potential.

 

What is the one thing you can do today to start adding value with your business or place of employment? I would love to hear what your plans are, drop me a line and let me know.

 

Until next week…

 

Dr. M

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finance is NOT about the numbers Uncovering your SPENDING PERSONALITY

Posted by [email protected] on 3 February, 2015 at 13:10 Comments comments (0)



In the last post, I gave you the formula for financial success and I made it clear that having and keeping money starts with having the right mindset. During the course of the next few posts I will dissect the “secret formula” to reveal the factors that really control your financial life. Through this process, you will come to see that wealth accumulation has more to do with your psychology and environment than how much money you have in hand. The purpose of this exercise is to bring into proper perspective, what actions need to be taken to get you on track for financial success.

 

One of the two main components of the SECRET FORMULA is spending: (Save>spend)*(1+r) t.

 

Spending is a function of:

 

Mindset

Spending personality

Income

Knowledge and Application of core concepts ( needs vs wants, prioritising)

Having a budget

Follow through with the budget

You can refer to the previous post to see the discussion on mindset. Today the focus is one your spending personality. We ALL love to spend. It is indeed therapy. I admit, I like most, LOVE shopping and I don’t mean grocery shopping. I mean shopping, shopping, you know, on things you don’t really need but are just fun to have. How many of you are smiling right now because you know EXACTLY what I mean.

 

There is a natural aversion to thinking about one’s personal finance because many feel to start building wealth means giving up having a life. However, building wealth and having a great life does not have to mutually exclusive. It does not mean that to accumulate wealth, you have to save every cent and never give into a whim. We have to find as the Buddha said, the middle path. We must have balance. He who dies with the most money doesn’t necessarily win. Building a nest egg shouldn’t be a tedious task; it should at minimum be a comfortable process. This process can be made easier when you know what type of spender you are. What is your default tendency when you have cash or when your credit card limits has increased? This is a crucial piece of information for you to have. When you uncover your spending personality, you can then take action as needed.

 

There are many websites where you can go to and take an online quiz and assess your money and spending personality. You can find a good money personality quiz at http://www.moneyharmony.com/MHQuiz.html. Generally, you will fall into one of the following five personality types: investor/amasser, debtors/ avoider, saver/hoarder, money monk and spender. The MONEYHARMONY site gives the following definitions of each.

 

Amasser/Investor

 

If you tend to be a money amasser, you are happiest when you have large amounts of money at your disposal to spend, to save, and/or to invest. If you are not actually spending, saving, or investing, you may feel empty or not fully alive. You tend to equate money with self-worth and power, so a lack of money may lead to feelings of failure and even depression. If you hire an investment advisor or financial planner, your major concern will be finding investments with high rates of return, since you hope to make as much money as you can, as quickly as possible. You probably enjoy making your own financial decisions, so it may be quite difficult for you to give up much control to money professionals. If, on the other hand, you tend to be a worrier, too, and if you are tired of being overly obsessed with your money, you may actually welcome the opportunity to assign some of the details of your money life to a trustworthy financial advisor.

 

Avoider/Debtor

 

If you tend to be a money avoider, you probably have a hard time balancing your check book, paying your bills promptly, and doing your taxes until the very last minute. You may avoid making a budget or keeping any kind of financial record. You won’t know how much money you have, how much you owe, or how much you spend. You may avoid investing money, even if you do have some, because it seems like too much trouble to attend to such details. What fuels this avoidance? You may feel incompetent or overwhelmed when faced with the tasks of your money life. If you are an extreme money avoider, you may even feel a kind of money anxiety or paralysis when faced with money tasks that resemble the feelings associated with math anxiety. Some money avoiders share with money monks the belief that money is dirty. Others have a kind of aristocratic disdain toward the boring, seemingly unimportant details of their money life. But most avoiders are more prone to feeling that they are inadequate or incompetent in dealing with the complexities and the details of their money life, rather than feeling that they are above such dirty work.

 

Hoarder/Savers

 

If you tend to be a hoarder, you like to save money. You also like to prioritize your financial goals. You probably have a budget and may enjoy the processes of making up a budget and reviewing it periodically. You most likely have a hard time spending money on yourself and your loved ones for luxury items or even practical gifts. These purchases would seem frivolous to you. You might very well view spending money on entertainment and on vacations – and even on clothing – as largely unnecessary expenses. If you think about investing your money, you tend to be concerned not with liquidity but with future security, especially during retirement. “Saving for a rainy day” appeals to your orderly nature. If you are an extreme hoarder, you may want to keep your money so close to you that you avoid putting it even in conservative investments such as money markets, bonds, or mutual funds. Some hoarders have been known to keep their money hidden under mattresses and in other secret places rather than put it in a bank. However, these cases are relatively rare. Depending on how extreme your hoarder tendencies are, you might exhibit some, most, or all of these traits.

 

Money Monk

 

If you are a money monk, you think that money is dirty, that it is bad, and that if you have too much of it, it will corrupt you. In general, you believe that “money is the root of all evil.” It stands to reason that you identify with people of modest means rather than with those who amass wealth. If you happen to come into a windfall somehow (through inheritance, for example), you would tend to be uneasy and even very anxious at the thought of the influx of so much money. You’d worry that you might “sell out,” becoming greedier and more selfish, and losing sight of positive human, political, and/or spiritual ideals and values. You would probably avoid investing your money, for fear that it might grow and make you even wealthier. If you were willing to invest some of it, you would most likely be comfortable only with socially responsible investments that reflected your deeper values and convictions and that contributed to causes you would like to support.

 

Spender

 

If you are a spender, you enjoy using your money to buy yourself goods and services for your immediate pleasure. You probably get satisfaction from spending money on gifts for others. The odds are that you have a hard time saving money and prioritizing the things you’d like in your life. As a result, it may be difficult for you to put aside enough money for future-oriented purchases and long- term financial goals. You may spend most or all of the money you earn, and you may even be in debt. Now, it is important to realize that some people who are in debt are not spenders; they may simply not make enough money to meet their basic needs. If your own income is insufficient to meet your expenses, you are facing a real money crisis. You will have to come up with strategies to generate more income.

 

 

When you determine your spending personality you have to figure out whether or not it’s serving you. If you’re satisfied, then there is nothing to do except continue along. If however you realise that your personality type does not suit your financial goals, then you need to change it. To figure out how to change it, you will have to find out where it originated. When did you start exhibiting signs of this personality type? Your spending personality is usually determined by environment that you grew up in. Your family’s cultural background, your parents’ educational level, the school you went to, the area you lived in and the friends you had all contributed in some form to your ideas about money and spending. All of these factors affect how you interact with money today. Tracing the source of the behavior will allow you to develop a plan of action sooner. It is important to take the time to determine why you spend the way that you do and then take concerted efforts to change it, otherwise be prepared to continue along the trajectory that you are currently on.

 

The reason you need to find out your spending personality and make changes if need be, is because your spending personality determines the amount and frequency of your savings. The amount and frequency of your savings determine your ability to accumulate wealth. The less you spend, the more you have to save. The more you save, the more you grow. Researchers have recently shown that there is an area in the brain called the insula which affects how we spend money. The insula is the source of social emotions, like desire, disgust, satisfaction and responsibility. Now, whether spending brings you pleasure or pain will depend on your perception and values on money. This will determine whether your brain sees spending as a pleasure or a pain. Whatever association you have garnered over the years will affect your insula response which further accentuates the spending pattern. If you associate spending with pain, then the less likely you are to keep doing it because you would stimulate the insula which will produce emotional pain. If, however, you associate pleasure from spending, then neurologically you will get a lot of pleasure from this behavior. Understanding your spending personality and determining the emotional response that it elicits, allows you to make appropriate changes as needed to achieve financial success.

 

It is important to recognise that your spending decisions are not always rational, your subconscious (learned behavior about money) triggers various emotional responses to spending and depending on your behavioral biases you can be a disciplined spender or an impulsive one. When you are aware of these mechanisms you are able to take control and direct your spending based on your goals and objectives rather than leave it to undisciplined unconscious behavior.

 

Take the challenge and find out what type of spender you are. Feel free to share with me what you found out and let me know what, if any changes you have to make.

 

Dr. M

 

http://www.thekidonomicsseries.com/


FINANCE IS NOT ABOUT THE NUMBERS, IT'S A MINDSET

Posted by [email protected] on 2 February, 2015 at 22:30 Comments comments (28)





I am going to skip the introduction and get straight to the point. Here is the formula for financial success: save more than you spend, invest that amount at decent rate of interest and watch compounding do it’s magic. The longer you save and/or the higher the interest rate, the richer you will be! It is as simple as that. This can be expressed in the pretty formula below.


THE SECRET FORMULA: (Save>spend)*(1+r) t


The formula for financial success is SIMPLE, but as you may have already guessed it’s not EASY. Each of the components of this success formula is a function a set of unique personal variables which you may or may have control over.


A comparison that is often used because of its parallel modality and the fact that it is easy for most to understand is weight loss. We all know the basic formula for losing weight; eat healthy, exercise more and over time the weight will come off. However in spite of the fact that there are hundreds of diets and exercise programs on weight loss, many still find it to be a struggle. The diets and the exercises are all tools, they can only be effective when a person has understood what caused the weight gain and what is required to lose the weight and this is very personalized specific process. After this process is completed they can then choose and implement an appropriate diet and exercise plan that is catered specifically for them.


It is the same with finance. We know what it takes, the road to financial success is pretty straight forward, but there are many tools and strategies along the way. However, even before employing these tools and strategies we need to step back and examine what brought you to your current financial position in the first place. If you are financially sound and are doing well, my advice would be to keep doing what you’re doing. If however, you are not happy about your current financial situation and would like to change it, you have to do some soul searching. How do you feel about our current financial status? Do you know your financial personality? What moulded it? Is it working for or against you? What do you have to do to change it and can you? Sounds touchy-feely? Maybe, but I can tell you if you don’t answer these questions then it wouldn’t matter how much money you amass you will do with it what you usually do and end up right where you are.


We must understand our relationship with money before we start spending or saving. We have to figure out what it is we want. Life planning is financial planning and money is a key component. Holding constant your philosophical approach to money, you will agree, I don’t want to seem dramatic, but I will anyway, that next to air, money is crucial for our existence today. You simply can’t function effectively in today’s world without having money. From meeting your basic needs (food, shelter clothing) to filling our life’s dream (your calling) we NEED money.


If money is so important to our existence, it is astonishing that we don’t spend the time understanding the relationship we have with it and how to manage it effectively. Do you think it’s a coincidence that those who have money always seem to have and those who don’t, never have enough? It’s the mindset that determines one’s success with money. Having and keeping money starts in your head. It’s 80% of the work. The other 20% is the strategies and techniques and that is covered in the hundreds of personal finance books and websites out there. Lottery winners are the classic example of how important having the right mindset is to being financial successful. The National Endowment for Financial Education cites research which showed that 70 percent of people who suddenly received a large sum of money (lottery winners) lost it within a few years.


I urge you to take some time and think about what your mindset is when it comes to money. Try answering the questions below. There is no cookie cutter tool or strategy for financial success, it is specific to you. Understanding your mindset about money is the first step on the road to financial success.


 What is your first recollection about money?

 What did you learn about money while growing up and from whom/where?

 How was money treated in your home? Was it discussed openly or was it taboo to bring it up?

 When you were younger was money important to you?

 Did you ever thing about how you will get money?

 Did you think you deserve to have money?

 What does money represent to you?

 Today, when you have to make a financial decision what are your main sources of information?


I would love to hear from you. Let me know if these were easy or hard questions for you to answer. What did you learning from going through this process?


I will deconstruct and discuss the components of the “secret formula” in later posts, stay tuned!


Dr. M

 

 


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