Facilitating Change in your relationship with money

If our psychology surrounding money is so significant, how do we change it?

In order to facilitate a change in our psychology toward money we have to look at a basic formula which rules most of our lives.  What are your feelings about money?  As a general rule Influences in your life create your Thoughts which in turn give rise to Feelings which propel you into Actions and ultimately you get Results based on your actions.    Your results then influence your thoughts and the cycle continues…Influences-Thoughts-Feelings-Actions-Results.  The pattern is dynamic and should be controlled in order to improve your life. It is a significant piece of the money puzzle which when put in its appropriate place helps you to live intentionally… and in harmony with money…Otherwise the Ego becomes involved and creates havoc.  I will be covering the role of the Ego and managing it in future articles.

So how do you make sure you are focusing in on what is important with your money?  Financial harmony is a leap for most people.  As with most things in life which are important, getting your finances right is a process. In my work with clients I find the concept of harmony is easily grasped but it takes a while to put the principles into practice.  Habit forming processes have been proven to work the best in dealing with psychological issues surrounding money.  It is worth noting that habits are generally believed to be ingrained (and thus become habit) after 21 days of following the process we want to become habit forming.  Therefore I suggest two processes which when put into practice can substantially change or enrich your life and take you down the path to financial harmony.

First, I recommend spending at least ten minutes of your day in meditation to bring quiet into your life and provide room for reflection.   In our society technology has brought about a cacophony of noise which is difficult to remove and allow us to reflect on what is important.  Providing distance from the overwhelming amount of noise in our lives is essential.  Based on a study conducted at Harvard University, sitting quietly for 10 minutes a day increases happiness.  In addition, reflection is an important process for learning.  Reflective learning happens through a mix of theory and practice, thought and action, observation and interaction. It allows a student to learn from themselves as well as others.  When you take the time to reflect on your life and surroundings you are more likely to take action and change the things you don’t want.  More importantly in the process of reflection you identify areas where you feel you want improvement.  The difference between identifying what you don’t want in your life and finding areas you feel need improvement is subtle but important. Rather than reflecting on what you don’t want which often brings more of the same, you should focus on positive change.

Second, but equally important is the process of manifestation.  Some refer to it as the law of attraction.  Many believe this is mumbo jumbo speak.  Others credit the law of attraction to changing their life completely and providing them happiness they otherwise would have never known.  Oprah Winfrey comes to mind here.  I think of it in more practical terms than some of the spiritual leaderswho espouse this process.  The analogy I use to explain my position is that of a physical workout regimen you might follow.  If you are committed to a weekly exercise program that has you lifting weights on a regular basis, eventually you will begin to build muscle.  By focusing on the process which increases muscle mass you will see progress.  If you do not follow the workout you will not see an improvement in muscle tone and will likely see atrophy if you have reached any level of musculature up to that point.  By giving energy to the process, you improve it.  The same can be said for just about any area of your life where there is a void or opportunity to improve.  The book that I recommend which addresses the art of manifestation was written by Robert MacPhee, a protégé of Jack Canfield, the author of Chicken Soup for the Soul.  The book is called “Manifesting for Non Gurus – How to quickly & easily attract lasting results” and is accompanied by a Journal to be used in conjunction with the book.  You can find more about Robert’s work at my website:   www.fastmovingstream.com.

The Psychology of Money – Financial Harmony

How did you develop your relationship with money?  Was it by watching your parents and hearing comments like “Money doesn’t grow on Trees!”, “What?  Do I look like I am made out of money?”, or my favorite admonishment from my Grandfather “Gosh darn it Timmy, you don’t
spend that kind of money until you earn that kind of money.”   Comments like these, experiencing financially related arguments between your parents and observing their spending habits are some of the ways you learn how to feel about money and how it manifests in your life.  What is your first memory about money?  What was your first traumatic experience with money?  Was it that you did not have enough money for the bicycle you wanted, was it that someone took it from you?  We all have a story…  These early stories can burn indelibly into your mind and make your issues around money profound.  For example, when we are “tweens” – 8 to 12 years old – we do not possess the communication skills necessary to understand the reasons for a business or job loss in our family.  We often misinterpret the meaning of such an event.  The outside world can suddenly take on a fearful aura due to our sense of loss or lack of cognitive tools to interpret the situation.  Without an appropriate outlet for our emotions and thoughts during this formative period, we often develop flawed thinking about money and its place in our lives.  Meditation and Manifestation can be powerful tools used to change our relationship with money to one of harmony.

More important than the amount of money you have is your attitude towards money.  Your psychology surrounding money forms the basis of most decisions you make about spending, saving and building for your future; as a result it is imperative to understand and develop your awareness as part of your financial foundation.

While holding focus groups about personal money management, I have learned it is rare that parents discuss personal finances with their
children.  For some odd reason the main tool used to measure success (i.e., wealth) in our society is left to chance.  Generally, money does not become important to you until you are ready to leave home.   Suddenly you are faced with money challenges that are new to you.  How much of my paycheck do I spend on rent?  Often, along with this newfound responsibility comes a challenge to your perceptions surrounding money.  It often takes the form of observation:   A mentor’s money perspective which is different than your own, your career trajectory, a class in higher
education, or just through participation in “adult” conversation with family members.

The simple sentence “Money is…” finished with a declarative statement by each one of us says a lot about our relationship to money.  You need to get clear on your perspective before you can empower yourself to develop a healthy relationship with money based on mature thoughts and lessons you have learned.  How do you go about the process of letting go of your negative attachments to money?  Are you carving out time with a self-help book or looking to a life coach for answers?  A Therapist is not the answer.  You can do most of the work yourself by taking a look at your answers to a few questions, evaluating them for unhealthy or negative thought patterns and removing them from your internal dialogue.  I use a combination of meditation and manifestation as an approach to change with my clients.  Meditation can have a calming effect in your life and is also known to improve an individual’s sense of happiness.  The process of manifestation is a reinterpretation of the now famous book “The Secret” re-stated to help you translate the law of attraction into a daily ritual that can yield significant results in your life.  The manifestation process can work in all areas of your life, but I choose to use it to assist my client’s realize their personal financial management strategy.

In this series focusing on Financial Harmony we have begun with some foundational principles and will move to the structure you build into
your financial life. Look for upcoming posts… In our next article we will look at the processes for changing our psychology surrounding personal finances in a way that leads to intentional living.

Statistic:  The wealthiest 400 people in the U.S. hold more wealth than the bottom 150 Million combined!