We apply psychologically tested concepts to your money relationship
6 Ways to Build a Healthy Relationship With Money
by Joel Fink
Video: Keeping Up with Overly Expensive Friends without Going Broke
Overcoming Financial Stress
Healthy relationships don't just happen. They are built and maintained. This is true not only for your relationships with people, but with money too.
So how do you build and maintain a healthy relationship with money? Well, a good starting point is to build a good relationship with yourself.
Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S., Associate Editor at Psych Central wrote an article entitled "6 Ways You Can Have a Healthy Relationship with Yourself" (see the full article here).
Let's look at the six topics that she discusses in her article in terms of your relationship with money
1. Care for your needs.
Taking care of your physical needs includes things like getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, brushing your teeth, and exercising.
Taking care of your fiscal needs includes understanding the difference in the money you spend on your true "needs" like food, housing, childcare, healthcare, etc. from your "wants" like entertainment, restaurants, premium channels, and gourmet coffee.
2. Joy is important.
Engaging in activities that bring you joy, like taking a walk, eating a chocolate, volunteering at the food bank, reading or taking an exercise class, helps you recharge your emotional well-being.
Small purchases that bring you great joy, like buying a good book, or an occasional gourmet chocolate or coffee, or buying your child a special treat, is money well spent. Set aside money in your budget for those things that bring you joy. Similarly, giving money to causes in which you believe (within your budget), like nonprofit charities, religious organizations, medical and scientific research, or the arts, helps to remind us that money is a means to an end, not an end in itself.
3. Focus on your inner world.
Focusing on your inner world of thoughts and emotion can help you become more self-aware. Self-awareness helps you understand what you are really feeling, and why you are feeling that way. Self-awareness also helps you understand your own actions and reactions to various situations.
Financial self-awareness is important as well. Knowing yourself and your financial condition is critical when you are faced with questions about changing jobs, working more or less hours, buying a new car, taking a vacation, or buying a house.
4. Regularly make time for yourself.
You can't become more self-aware if you don't set aside time for yourself. Even a few quiet minutes in the morning enjoying a cup of coffee, or reading a good book or article can be beneficial to your self-awareness.
Likewise, you can't become financially self-aware if you don't set aside time. You need to designate a regular time (e.g., like monthly) to review your financial situation.
Calculator: What's My Net Worth?
Meditation is a method that many people use to gain peace of mind and perspective during that time that they have set aside to focus on their inner world.
Use your regular financial review time to think about your financial situation and to set some goals, even small ones. Think about how good you will feel next month when your credit card balance goes down by that extra $100 payment that you decided to make.
6. Be your own best friend.
When you are being hard on yourself for some perceived shortcoming, think about how you would treat your best friend or a close family member. Chances are that you would be supportive and forgiving. Do the same for yourself.
Be a best friend to your financial self, too. Don't be overly critical if you stumble, but be honest with yourself. Spend time to understand your financial condition and set goals to improve your situation.
A healthy relationship with yourself, your friends, your family, and your money require time and effort. The reward is a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life for you.
Joel Fink is a retired CPA and financial services executive living in Dallas, Texas.
Take the Next Step:
- Decide which of the 6 tools would have the biggest impact on your relationship with money and make plans to make some changes.
- If debts are causing you stress take the first step to getting out of debt with The Dollar Stretcher Debt Course.
- Visit the TDS library for more on money perspectives.
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