BE Money

Is Your Broken Behavior Causing You Money Woes

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broken behavior (Image: Futcher)

The goal of financial independence mandates that you are clear about your money situation at all times. This includes having your family sit down and talk about money on a regular basis. Wealthy people talk about money all the time, learning a lot of great information when they talk about money (e.g., tips on saving money, great investment ideas, or helpful resources), says certified financial planner Robin A Young. “Not talking about money creates money shame.”

Shame is one of the toughest human emotions to deal with because it causes you to shut down, erodes your confidence, and eats away at your self-esteem, notes Young, who is the founder of Behaving Wealthy. More importantly, shame makes you hide and is the reason behind many broken behaviors. You avoid looking at your money or small money irritations become big problems. Hiding from money keeps you on a perpetual hamster wheel of robbing Peter to pay Paul or constantly worrying about money or never really getting ahead.

Avoid the Shame Game

Shame also causes many people to avoid looking at their debt. So if you believe you’ll never get out of debt, you will look for proof or evidence. If you feel shame over the debt you have accumulated, it will show in your behavior. Similarly, if you believe you aren’t good with money, then you will live this out and look for evidence to back up that belief.

How you feel about your finances will impact how you earn, spend, save, and even ask for money. For example, shame will affect the rates you charge for your work because you don’t value yourself or believe you deserve to ask for more money.

Focus on Your Goals, Your Values

Here’s a something constructive: work on strengthening your internal shame mechanism, which moderates your own behavior, suggests Young, citing the following example. “You know when the clerk gives you an extra $5 back and you smile while thinking about a free Starbucks coffee you could buy with this “free money.”  But your conscience says, “Give it back, right now!” You don’t want to but you do because your conscience always keeps you honest.  Then, you walk away feeling wonderful with your head held high…that is a strong internal shame mechanism.”

Develop your internal guidance system so that you can make better money decisions, which in turn will guide you in building sustainable wealth, adds Young, a former Wall Street executive who successfully managed the portfolios of more than 500 millionaires and hundreds of other investors. It keeps you focused on your goals and keeps you in alignment with your values. It’s also beneficial to have a trusted resource. “My clients always run their decisions by me not because they have to but because they benefit from my analysis.”