Money mindset begins in childhood, but you can acquire a positive one as adult

  • Family
  • Thursday, 13 Jun 2024

Finances are an essential part of life, but that doesn't mean everybody is aware of their own mindset towards money. — ANDREA WARNECKE/dpa

WHETHER you like it or not, money has a huge influence on your life. But do you actually know your money mindset, the ways in which you think about money and your attitude towards it?

At first glance, the question might seem a bit silly, and many people are content merely to have “enough.” But the matter of your finances is more complex than some might think.

“It is worth looking inside yourself and sounding out your attitude towards money,” says Professor Michael Heuser from the German Institute for Wealth Creation and Old Age Security.

“I won’t become really wealthy anyway;” “I just can’t handle money;” “Rich people are bad people:” If you recognise some of those thoughts, your relationship with money probably isn’t a good one. This inner block means you are unlikely to be motivated to build up assets or put money aside for old age.

“Reflection is also about asking yourself questions,” says Dani Parthum, a German financial coach and journalist. If you believe that “money is dirty” or “money stinks,” you should ask yourself if that is really true. The same applies if you are convinced that you can never become rich.

Back to childhood

A first step towards a better money mindset can be to turn the negative into a positive. Start by telling yourself that “Yes, I’ll get rich if I’m smart about it and persevere,” or, “Hey, money makes me happy.”

You should always remember that having a negative money mindset doesn’t benefit anyone, says Parthum. The negative attitude can be broken down, to reveal where one’s money mindset comes from in the first place.

“The key moment is usually socialisation,” says Parthum, and that begins in childhood. If money was a constant cause for concern in the parental home, this can have a huge impact on your money mindset later in life. It is quite common for patterns experienced as a child to repeat themselves in one’s own adult life.

A negative money mindset can also be due to current financial struggles, of course. “If this is the case, you shouldn’t be afraid to seek independent advice on money matters,” says Heuser.

Outdated role models

In addition, money mindsets are often shaped by certain role expectations. When a well-dressed woman gets out of a sleek sports car, for example, some may still be quick to assume she has a rich husband. The fact that she could be a successful entrepreneur does not occur to many, says Parthum.

If you picture the same scene, but featuring a well-dressed man, people tend to think that he is a top manager or banker. That he might have a successful woman at his side is something many people don’t consider, says Parthum. Such role perceptions need to be questioned and broken down – and above all talked about, whether in the family, with friends or colleagues.

Other strategies to transform a negative money mindset into a positive one include self-motivation, says Heuser, for example by investing in your own financial education. By learning about shares and investment funds, you will be able to build up a fortune over the years, even with small amounts.

Internalising new perspectives

So if you decide that you want to make money, give yourself an incentive. Making yourself realise that you can do a lot of good with money also helps to foster a positive money mindset, says Heuser.

Money allows you to live healthier and more sustainably – which is beneficial not only for yourself but for your family and others around you. “You can also do good with money by donating it to social causes, for example,” explains Heuser.

Realising that you have earned what you have through your own endeavours will also help improve your attitude towards money.

Of course, it may take some time to turn a negative money mindset into a positive one – after all, you first have to internalise newly acquired views and convictions, by revisiting them in your mind again and again and talking about them with others. But “In the end, it’s worth it,” says Parthum. – dpa

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