Why can your best friend always seem to save money, while you are in debt? How come you see wealthy people in serious financial trouble and average Joes who seem just fine? Many experts believe that behavior patterns and self-esteem have more to do with your financial security than your income does.
If you are in debt and you do not change the way you look at and deal with money, you will forever find yourself in debt. But, if you are able to change the way you think about money, changing your “mental model,” you will have overcome the things that lead you to debt in the first place.
Psychological factors are the real drive behind spending and saving. A study with people who filed for bankruptcy revealed that many bankruptcy victims had weak family relationships as children and were socially unhappy in school. Most of these filers had extremely low self esteem. Also, people who had a very nurturing childhood and positive experiences with money at an early age were comfortable with money in general.
Also, women were found to have lower self-esteem when it came to men and money. Women often go into debt paying for a man who needed help or providing for others while men went into debt purchasing things for themselves. In both cases, the debtor is trying to prove something through purchases.
Among people who run into financial difficulties, 25% have serious problems and need psychological counseling, she said. Most of the rest simply need to face up to what led them into trouble. Most people with financial trouble abuse the ease with which credit is available today.
So if you are a parent, the idea is to nurture your children and get them involved with finances early. If you are a woman, stick up for your self. If you are a man, quit trying to impress people with purchases, and own up to your monetary mistakes.
But is that enough? Probably not. You need to create a positive mindset about money now. Learn as much as you can and keep a close eye on your finances. Think of it as watching your money grow, not penny pinching for everything. Make shopping trips a game of “how much can I save” and not “this is going to be way too expensive.” Most spenders have little idea of how much their purchases really cost because they use credit cards. Try paying for everything with cash for one week to really see how much you spend.