For me, money seemed to be this ongoing, unresolved issue that hung over my head. I've lived most of my life thinking, "I don't have enough money and there will never be enough money." But as I’ve worked on my thoughts, I recognize that those are limiting beliefs. These thoughts are something I can change.
I also recognize I have a lot of privilege when it comes to money. The Global Rich List helps me put it all into perspective. It's really easy to perceive that everyone around us has more money than we do.
So this summer I decided to put my academic skills to work and research the topic. I wanted to share my process, so you can see if any of it appeals to you on your own money mindset journey.
First, I started with the books.
I had already read Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey in my early twenties. If you're not familiar with their work, it's a great place to start for the nuts and bolts of budgeting. But I needed something else. I didn't want to start with simple budgeting tools, I needed money mindset work.
What's a money mindset? It's the ideas that you carry around about money.
We all have them. By saying we want to learn, we can channel that growth mindset work (see Dr. Dweck’s work) and reshape our money mindsets.
Books I Recommend -
Jen Sincero's - You Are a Badass at Making Money. I was skeptical about this one. I thought Jen Sincero's original “You are a Badass” was okay and covered a lot of ground I had already read. But this one was amazing for me. My main takeaway was to embrace fear and take on those risks that seem to be calling your name.
Overcoming Underearning by Barbara Stanny (now Huson). This book is actually a wonderful workbook full of activities to take seriously. If you do the work, it's like hiring a money coach to walk you through uncovering what's inside your brain. I did the work and I'm so glad I did. A lot of our money issues stem from childhood, so uncovering those was really insightful for me. Returning to these exercises a second time this summer helped me see them in a new light.
Get Rich, Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield-Thomas. Another helpful example of someone who turned their financial life around. She started with fewer resources than I have and now makes seven-plus figures in her business. I am fascinated by other people's stories and how I can learn from them. She has great advice in this book.
Reading those books, I realized I needed more positive messages about money in my life. So I turned to a few podcasts too.
Personal Finance for PhDs by Dr. Emily Roberts. I may be biased since I was a guest on her show, but Emily has so many wonderful resources for academics concerned about their finances. We’re in a different situation than most and Emily is tuned into that because she has lived the life.
Be Wealthy and Smart with Linda P. Jones. - These are short podcasts that break down complicated topics into simple tips. I love how Linda makes it all very accessible.
Other Actions I Took -
Hiring an accountant. I always had thoughts in my head like:
"Rich people are the only people who hire accountants."
"You have to have a lot of money to hire someone to help you with your finances."
Those thoughts are self-limiting thoughts, I recognize that now. Someone recommended Kaylee Summyt to me and I can't sing her praises enough.
She held my hand through each getting started step, in a kind and non-judgmental way.
I upgraded my software with her help (from free Wave to Quickbooks). We streamlined my business expenses and invoices, preparing them each month. She also showed me exactly how much profit I make each month, instead of it being a hazy thought in my head. I thought I knew, but when you actually see the numbers in black and white, it makes all the difference. I wasn't ready to hire Kaylee during my first year of business, but now she is a critical asset as I continue to grow.
Kaylee also recommended Mint.com, which I had heard about, but ignored all these years.
I knew I needed to budget better, but it felt impossible to save every receipt, log it, and then add it up. I love Mint because it gathers all my family accounts in one spot and tracks the categories for me. How much did I spend on fast food, for real, last month? Mint tells me. It also helps me see the bigger picture with my net worth and paying off debt. Since I love statistics and graphs, it was a natural fit. I use it both on my phone and laptop.
Participating in a 30-day no spend challenge.
Kaylee hosted this one and it made such a difference. I like to stay “it stopped the hemorrhaging of money” from my budget. I realized that when I think I have a problem, one of my first go-to solutions was to buy something to fix it. “Oh I need a place to store these clothes, I could buy a clothes rack!” During the no spend challenge, I had to stop and say, “What’s an alternative to this?” I didn’t need a new clothes rack at all. I just needed to convert something I already had. The no spend challenge also helped me see that buying in bulk can backfire for me. When I have more food, I tend to eat more. I had to come to peace with knowing I could go buy more when I needed it.
Listening to money affirmation audio on YouTube.
It sounds a little strange until you consume a lot of money mindset content, but now I see how it works. I used to have a lot of negative thoughts about money. Listening to the affirmations gives me new phrases to use.
Some of my favorite money affirmations:
I am worthy of great success.
I clearly see opportunities to effortlessly make money.
I am grateful for the wealth I have in my life.
Money always flow to me easily.
I know there is ample prosperity for all.
I tried to get a free, mini-support going this summer too. We were going to work through some of the Undercoming Underearning exercises together. There were several people interested, but our schedules didn't line up. So I stuck to the worksheets and readings on my own schedule. Support groups can be a great way to do the work together and it can’t hurt to try to put a group together.
Taking the time to do the work around my money mindsets continues to feel transformative.
I could have kept pushing it off, ignoring it, but it was time. If you're on your own money mindset journey, I hear you! Now, when I run into a big money block, I stop. I recognize it. I talk to a coach about the issue if I can't see solutions myself. We identify why my mind wants to think the negative thoughts and ways to change the thoughts. I still have a long way to go on my money mindsets, but that is part of the journey.
(The above post references an opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment or financial advice. Seek a licensed professional for investment and financial advice.)