Money Myths and Messages

It is important to keep in mind that cultural messages have a profound influence on our money beliefs.  Intellectually we can disagree, but subconsciously these messages can affect how we feel about money.  Therefore, true financial freedom is more than having a lot of money; it is being free of money myths and notions that influence our money attitudes and behaviors.

For example, there is a lot of truth to the old adage, “Money can’t buy happiness.” However, what money can “buy” is options—more alternatives to choose from as you design the life you want to live—now and in the future. (more…)

Money and Life Satisfaction

The word satisfaction describes a feeling of fulfillment or contentment. Its meaning is relative and often dependent on personal definitions of success as applied to specific areas of life.

The first step to evaluating your own life satisfaction is to think about what is most important to you. Be as candid as you can with yourself and try to disregard “messages” – from society, parents, partners, peers, or colleagues – that tell you what your priorities should be. This is a time to listen to your own heart. What do YOU value most and what do YOU want to achieve in each facet of life? Whatever you identify should then become the basis for establishing your life goals. (more…)

Tools for Building Your Financial Resilience

In your financial life, as in all other areas of life, it is important to nurture your resilience—your ability to recover from loss, disappointment, and difficult circumstances.

From a practical perspective, financial resilience involves laying a foundation of economic protection.  From an emotional perspective, financial resilience involves increasing your confidence in your ability to prepare for and deal with life transitions and financial setbacks. (more…)

Your Financial Destiny

Do you feel “in charge” of your financial life?  Or, do you feel like you are being swept along by a set of personal and financial circumstances that are beyond your control? Do you take responsibility for making your own financial decisions, or do you acquiesce to the plans and opinions of others?  Does fear, denial, or complacency keep you from taking a proactive approach in your money matters?

The person who should be in charge of your financial life is YOU!  The degree of power you feel you have in shaping your financial life is both objective and subjective in nature, and is determined, in part, by your sense of locus of control. (more…)

The Risk Tolerance Continuum

When you are making a financial decision, do you intentionally weigh the potential risks and rewards?  Is weighing that balance more of a rational or emotional process for you? In other words, do you tend to rely more on facts or on feelings?

For example, when Karla got a promotion at the architectural firm where she is employed, she gave serious consideration to buying a new car.  She thought about the practical and emotional rewards of having a new car such as:  1) having a dependable means of transportation, 2) getting better gas mileage, 3) portraying a successful image to her clients, and 4) experiencing the pride and pleasure that comes with owning a new car (there’s nothing like that new car smell!). (more…)

Financial Relationships

Our financial relationships involve connections with others that affect our financial well-being and life satisfaction.  Without a doubt, the complex circumstances and evolving dynamics of each relationship can have a profound influence (consciously and subconsciously) on the big and little decisions we make on a daily basis.

Nowhere is the influence of emotions on financial behavior more clearly illustrated than in family relationships.  In particular the needs and wants of our children and our parents can weigh heavy on our hearts and minds and undermine our objectivity.  The following questions will help you to reflect on and assess your financial responsibilities across generations: (more…)