MONEY matters

Mark Zaifman's thoughts on money, global economic trends and politics

Finding Your Financial Balance in 2016

Mark Zaifman   |    Wed, Nov 25, 2015 @ 12:50 PM


The stock market is volatile. Your bills are skyrocketing. Getting a grip on your finances, however, goes beyond your checkbook. Take a good hard look at your relationship with money, and you’ll finally figure out how the two of you can start getting along.

Money is many things to many people. For some, it beckons and entices; others find it scary and confusing. Whatever the relationship, that rapport directly affects our ability to attract, spend and hang on to what we have.

Whether there’s $10,000 in our account or $10 million, we follow the same behavioral patterns. Changing our approach to money comes when we’re able to take a good honest look at the inner workings of our relationship with money.

So how have you been treating your money lately - and how has it been treating you? Maybe you feel inferior to it or you don’t take it seriously. Maybe it bullies you around or seems to skip town when you need it most.

Money as the Judge

For some, money speaks in harsh, critical tones. It’s disappointed in the way you’ve handled it and it tells you so. Maybe you feel that your money has no faith in you. When you see it that way, you won’t feel positive, and that will have a negative impact on how you deal with it.

Perhaps you feel bad that you didn’t read the full 27-page prospectus on your mutual fund or that you haven’t saved enough for retirement. The effect? You feel inadequate and incapable which is not a good foundation for a healthy money relationship.

To begin to turn things around, find out where that voice is coming from. Your parents? Financially savvy friends who think they know more than you? Get to the source of it and question it. But even more important, take note of what sound decisions you have made, (and there must be some) put the criticism in perspective, and work on honing your gifts rather than calling out your weakness.

Make Friends with Your Finances

Building a healthier relationship with your money starts with how you treat it. Every relationship has its own specific needs. Your mission is to discover what your money needs from you before you can get what you need from it.

Consider the attitudes about money you learned at an early age. Was it the root of evil? The Holy Grail? Did you learn to seek it at all costs, or never give it a second thought? What did your first dealings with money; allowance, babysitting cash, $10 tucked inside a birthday card, teach you?

Now, think of one of your closest relationships and quickly jot down five statements that describe the way you treat that person - for example, “I worry about her”, “I make him laugh” or “I’m there when she needs me”. Now write down five statements that describe the way you treat your money. Do you worry about it? Guard it possessively? Enjoy it? This exercise can give you some insight into how to make money your ally instead of your enemy.

Start Fresh in 2016

Love it or hate it, money and how we deal with it impacts our lives in so many ways. With the New Year approaching, there is no better time to invest in this crucial relationship than right now.

Finding your money balance takes time, patience and practice. Yet this investment of time and energy can reap dividends for a lifetime.

We learn early on to focus most of our attention regarding money on the external. How much we earn, where we live, the type of car we drive, where we shop, the clothes we wear, etc. All this focus on the external, (the ego), works to undermine our relationship with money and creates a toxic link of equating our self-worth with our net-worth. And when/if our net-worth drops, so goes our self-worth.

Why not make a commitment to yourself that 2016 will be the year you put the time and attention to your money relationship that it needs? Why not have 2016 be the year you liberate yourself from fear, worry and stress around money? Why not have 2016 be the year you set yourself free?

Bottom line - If a healthy and abundant relationship with money is your desire, then you’ll need to summon the courage to choose a different consciousness. This will not be easy and you will have many setbacks along the way. Yet once you’ve transformed your relationship with money and put yourself on the road to financial independence, the feelings of personal accomplishment and self-empowerment will blow you away.

Photo credit James Jordan