What does money mean to you?
You might think of it as the change jingling in your pocket, the dollars in your wallet, or the credit card with the killer points. More broadly, you might think of it as the thing that helps keep you and your family secure and simply live life.
Our dependence on money to do certain things is unquestionable, of course. Financing a top-ranked school for your children, building a dream house, taking a three-week Caribbean get-away, or merely buying groceries and paying bills - all require money. But believing money should be pursued for its own sake is a flawed perspective - it should never be your end goal.
Money itself isn’t a goal. Money is simply the vehicle that affords you the opportunity to further your goals.
This shift in thinking about and using your money comes down to your money mindset, which essentially boils down to your attitude toward your finances. The number on your pay stub doesn’t define your life or your goals. Money is merely a tool to help you reach your goals. Shifting to a goal-focused mindset versus a money-focused mindset will forever change the way you approach your finances.
Here’s what we’re talking about:
What Are Your Goals?
The first step to altering how you view money is defining and taking a deep dive into your goals.
- What are your short-term and long-term goals?
- How do your goals inform your behaviors, attitudes, and habits?
- In what ways are your finances supporting or hindering your progress toward your goals?
Perhaps for you, it’s making a career change, starting a family, or buying your first home. But remember, your goals are different from the vehicles that help you get there.
Take a career change. That’s the goal. The vehicles to help you get there might be going back to school, acquiring new training, gaining relevant work experience, networking—the list goes on and on. In this scenario, money is simply a tool to help you get that certification, attend the conference, etc. It didn’t do the hard work or make connections for you.
You did the hard work.
You put in the extra effort to achieve your goal.
The money takes a back seat like an engine softly humming in the background as you drive down a long stretch of road.
Viewing money as a resource helps you place more emphasis on the things that truly matter most to you - which in most cases is the happiness, satisfaction, and sense of fulfillment that come from meeting goals, values, and priorities. There is an old saying that rings true: those who think money buys happiness have never had money.”
Don’t Get Debt Tunnel Vision
We don’t mean pushing debt to the side and not paying your bills. But often, people get so hyper-focused on paying off their debt that they don’t focus on their wealth. Just because you have a mortgage payment or a student loan, it doesn’t mean that you can’t invest or spend your money elsewhere. Debt shouldn’t stop you from working toward your goals.
That said, it’s important that debt repayment plays a role in your financial (and personal) habits and decisions. The important thing is to stay focused on the big picture.
Creating a healthy debt repayment strategy helps you focus on the solution, rather than the problem. You can set up automatic payments, follow a budget, and contribute more when you’re able. The priority should be to live your life focused on prosperity and doing what you can to build more wealth along the way. But the whole point is to achieve the goals, and money’s purpose should simply be to make it easier to attain those goals.
Your Money Mindset Matters
Your money mindset comes from your own personal unique thoughts, attitudes, and perspectives toward your finances. It helps give you a sense of your relationship with your finances.
Maybe money strikes an emotional nerve in that your net worth influences your mood and your relationship to your life. Or perhaps you view money as an end-all-be-all situation and always strive to get more of it regardless of what you already have.
We have a secret for you: “enough” money doesn’t exist.
Whether you have $500 or $5,000,000,000 in your bank account, you will always find a need for more. Economists call this the “non-satiety axiom.” What can you do about it?
Stop chasing the idea of having “enough” money and start chasing your goals. Imagine if you put the same effort into achieving your goals that you do striving to make more money.
When you’re able to shift your mindset and view money as a tool versus a goal, you’re taking control over your financial future.
Put Your Money In Context
We’re not telling you that money doesn’t matter. It certainly plays a pivotal role in everyone’s life. It just doesn’t have to take center stage.
Start by understanding how much money you need to live a fulfilling and joyful life. It’s important to have a number in mind because it’s easy to slip back into the “never enough” mindset if you don’t.
Prioritize the things that help you achieve your goals. If traveling across Europe is important to you, map it out. Take the time to understand the costs and make a plan with your financial advisor to get there.
Be A Good Financial Steward
Your money also goes beyond you—it can thoughtfully impact your loved ones, friends, and community. When our focus is solely on making more money, charitable giving often gets put on the back burner.
Adopting gratitude toward your finances leads to a more meaningful and fulfilling experience. It helps give your money a greater purpose. If you don’t know where to start, take a closer look at what you're passionate about. Maybe you love animals or music or art. Whatever it is, take your passion and pour it into the community. You’d be surprised with how little it takes to make a great impact on those around you.
Take Your Money One Step Further
All too often, money is viewed as a prize or result, like it’s something we gain in exchange for our time—and it’s time to ditch that mindset. Your bank account balance doesn’t define your worth. How you live your life, and how you treat others does.You’ve made the first step to improving your relationship with money, now the next is putting these ideas into action. We’re here to help. Get in touch with the Pro Wealth team to take the next step in your financial journey.