Everyone has a money story. Something they tell themselves to feel okay with their money situation. But are these narratives helpful?
Sometimes they are. But only if they’re empowering. You can feel really great about your finances. You can make giant financial moves and set your future self up for success.
Money can also be a point of strife and contention. It brings up feelings of insecurity, anger, annoyance, and worry. If you let it, it will overwhelm your life.
We can learn to think intuitively about money and change those financial relationships into something positive. The secret to robust personal finance is to live in connection with your feelings about money.
A huge part of learning how to be empowered by your finances is to understand the basics about personal finance and the economy. People often shy away from this because they think that economics has to be about inflation and the stock market, and it can seem rather scary.
But having a basic understanding of household economics allows you to make better financial choices and feel in control of your money.
According to the Federal Reserve Board, 40 percent of Americans cannot cover a $400 emergency. That means that they have to dip into their credit in order to cover the emergency. It gets worse though, as you start looking at lower socioeconomic classes because 45 percent of low-income neighborhoods are either credit invisible or have unscored records.
So what can you do about it?
On a personal level, the first thing that you need to do is check your credit score. Ask for a full report from Experian or one of the other credit bureaus. Often times people have incorrect information negatively impacting their credit score.
If you don’t have a score, you need to consider working with a lender to create a credit history. Many lenders offer small loans for people building credit for the first time or for people repairing their credit.
You can also use tradelines to help establish credit.
The next thing that you need to do is to find, face, and fix your worst debts. Your credit report will also help with that. You’ll see what you owe to whom. From there, you can create an action plan. It’s helpful to rank the debts from smallest to largest and pay them off in that order.
While you’re doing this, check in with your emotions. Feelings of insecurity, anger, and annoyance may start to come to the foreground at the beginning. But as you work through those debts, watch as your feelings transform into those of safety, security, connectedness, and more positive feelings.
Take a moment to sit down and journal your feelings at the beginning of your debt payoff journey. And then again as you progress. Watch how they change from imbalanced feelings to empowered feelings.
If your feelings aren’t changing with the shifts you’re making in your financial life, consider reaching out to a financial therapist. They’ll be qualified to help you work through those deeper emotions and create a healthier relationship with your money and yourself.
The best place you can find yourself in is a place of financial power. This stability you have when you’re financially stable allows you to bask in your own glory. But how does one get there?
Once you’ve gotten a short-term plan in place to pay off your debt, you need to create a long-term plan. Long-term plans allow you to flourish financially. You can set aside feelings of regret and anxiousness and embrace feelings of confidence.
According to Spend Me Not, an organization that prides itself on presenting first-hand financial knowledge to consumers, only 30 percent of Americans have a long-term financial plan. This means that the majority of Americans are not thinking about retirement or the milestones they need to get there.
Financial stability will allow you to enjoy things throughout your life. But only if you prepare for it.
Celebrate small milestones of success. Laila Ali said that she’s the world’s undefeated boxer. When you celebrate your achievements, you create a feedback loop for more. So encourage more success through success celebration. Get hungry for even more winning.
These financial successes could look like many things.
Every small bit helps get you financially stable. Start a retirement account & set up automatic payments to yourself in a place where you won’t spend the money right now.
Your solar plexus is where you store your strength and energy. When it’s hit wrong, you lose all of your momentum and are forced backward. It’s one of your best weapons but also your biggest weakness. Having an open and relaxed solar plexus allows you to come at the world with strength and dignity.
A great way to protect yourself, and protect your financial solar plexus, is to have an emergency fund ready to go. A lot of people call this money a screw you fund. So when you do get hit in the solar plexus, instead of being beaten down, you can recover financially and pivot.
You can handle job loss and career pivots and leaving bad bosses, all because you have a retirement fund.
Imbalanced: Negativity, timid, loss of personal power, despair
When you don’t have enough in your emergency fund, you will not feel any sense of power. You won’t have the ability to stand firm on financial footing. You will feel out of balance and in despair. This is why it’s crucial to establish a strong financial foundation, even if you’re trying to get out of debt.
Empowered: Positive, self-respecting, compassionate, hopeful, and assertive
When you do have a strong financial footing, you’ll be able to think more highly of yourself. Feelings of self-doubt and shame will dissipate leaving space for self-respect, confidence, and compassion. You’ll be able to help those around you while staying balanced.
Open a savings account and transfer $25. Then set up a direct deposit. You want to build strong financial foundations. Those foundations are built on solid habits that teach you to save money. If you’ve been holding onto the narrative that you’re bad with money, establishing small patterns of success will help remind you that you are capable of being financially stable.
Another way to jumpstart your saving is to pick up a side hustle to save an extra $1,000. Having that much in savings can really help prepare you financially. And after you have $1,000, it will be easier to start saving more money. And you’ll have a considerable buffer between you and life’s emergencies.
Another huge part of becoming financially stable is to adopt an abundance mindset. You need to believe that there is enough in the world to go around, and that other people earning money doesn’t detract from you earning money. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. When you see others earning more, it means that you can also aspire to earn more.
Imbalanced: Jealousy, bitterness, rejection, envy, conditional love
When you have a scarcity mindset, you have all these swirling negative emotions. They tempt you and taunt you into stooping down and being a lesser person. And I get it, having little financial stability is a scary place to be. I used to live in this headspace. Jealous of everyone who had more than me and fearful that I would never have enough. But this type of negative thinking isn’t going to get you anywhere.
Empowered: Joy, gratitude, unity of purpose, inspiration, forgiveness
Instead, you should cultivate an attitude of financial abundance. Start looking at places where you see abundance in your life. And reflect on how that’s universal. It takes time to reframe your mindset from one of scarcity to one of abundance, but doing this powerful mind work allows you to see more clearly your path to financial success.
Reflect on the golden rule, how you treat others is much like how you treat yourself, as we are all connected. Are you seeing yourself treat others fairly? Are you connected with those who can help you?
Sail farther on the winds of your good fortune. Now that you’ve broken free from alarm financial anxiety and developed smart financial practices, you may take on large challenges, like paying off credit card debt, saving for a downpayment, developing reserve funds, and getting ahead on paying down debt.
One of the most crucial aspects of your financial plan is building a network of people you can rely on to keep you accountable. Having a community surrounding you allows you to be empowered with your money.
This is my personal favorite skill when creating a solid financial foundation. I love having friends that I can talk to about my financial wins and losses. These people can help you balance ideas off of and work with you to create an accountability plan.
With my accountability buddy, we track our spending and balance our budgets together monthly to keep each other on track. We’re also very honest with each other so that when we do slip up, we don’t feel like we have to hide it.
Imbalanced: absent the right words to communicate, fearful of judgment, resentful, hurt
Without this community, you can develop an attitude of shame around your money. You might have thinking patterns that focus on your failures instead of capturing your wins. You’ll feel isolated and armored. It’s not a fun space to be in.
Empowered: effective communicator, honest, truthful, intuitive
Instead surround yourself with community. Give yourself a safe place to work out your feelings. If you don’t trust anyone in your immediate friend circle, consider going to a financial therapist.
Build a safe friend network where you can develop the language for your success. Language is like code, so you’re a peer group with family, friends, or co-workers, and build the language for your success.
Open yourself to receiving wisdom, insight, and intelligence. Practice continuous development for improvement.
Being fully in control of your finances allows you to be naturally in tune with yourself. You need to tap into your financial third eye. With this, you’ll have a greater awareness for where your money is going.
Your third eye also helps with your intuition. It’s kind of like your conscious helping you make sound financial decisions. At the beginning of this process, you might not have a strong conscious. Talking to a financial therapist will help you develop good instincts. You can also run your financial ideas past friends who you trust to help determine if your intuitions are a good idea.
Imbalanced: Moody, exaggerates truths, simplistic and undeveloped awareness
Without this intuition, you will make bad financial decisions. It’s easy to follow the crowds into bad financial decisions. This can lead to financial disaster. Keeping up with the Joneses is the worst financial plan because you’re not considering your needs and your wants. Instead you’re doing things because you think you have to in order to be a proper adult in society.
Empowered: Focused, grows wisdom, utilizes insights from the body, mind, and spirit.
Good thing for us though, is that we don’t have to keep up with the Joneses in order to find financial peace.
When you have strong financial intuition, you’re able to avoid playing catch up and focus on what your financial values are. If you’re risk averse, you might not choose to invest in crypto even when your neighbors are. Or you’ll buy less house because it works for you, even though people might disagree with you.
You’ll be able to stand firm with your financial choices and not waver, even though people might disagree with you.
Give yourself time and solutions to address your biggest challenges. Trust your developed intuition. It’ll take time, but you’ll be able to learn to make good financial decisions. Even if you have to pro and con the decisions out at the beginning.
Build multiple wealth streams. This will allow you more flexibility with your choices. You’ll be able to be more financially sound.
Emotional financial enlightenment is the culmination of all of the above skillsets. It’s your highest point of financial intellect. When you’re acting from a space of emotional financial enlightenment, you’re able to make safe sound financial decisions.
You don’t act from a place of financial insecurity or fear. It’s the most empowering place to be from. All of your financial decisions allow you to live your best life. Even if you’re on a shoestring budget, you know that your money is working for you.
You know that you need to save and invest, and you have the capacity to do so. You budget well, and don’t spend money to seem impressive to your friends or family. The best part of financial enlightenment is that you know the power of no. No isn’t the end of your financial story, but it actually empowers you to say yes when you actually want to.
Imbalanced: Confusion, depression, absent spontaneity, unable to go with the flow
When you don’t have emotional financial enlightenment, it can be hard to make financial decisions. You don’t know what you’re money’s doing or where it’s going. You might say yes to something, and then back out at the last second because you actually can’t afford it. Or you’ll go through with it and hurt yourself financially.
Empowered: Embraces living in the moment, calm, embraces higher purposes, reflects divinity
Living with emotional financial enlightenment is one of the best feelings in the world. You give back to your community; you help others with their finances; and you are honest with your intentions. You’re able to live your best life.
That’s what financial education is all about. It’s about taking you from a place of fear and turning your life into a place of empowerment.
Trust yourself to fluidly respond to challenges.
Take part in a higher purpose, go beyond to help others find the way, and participate in something that’s larger than just you—you’ll feel the divine when you are successful. Invest in others.
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