By Jeff Turnbull

Ask yourself; am I aware of my financial behavior?  Do I become frustrated from the consequences of my financial choices?  Do I continue the same financial behavior and expect different results?

The first step in taking control of your financial life is to begin thinking about what you are doing financially.  In other words, become mindful of what you’re doing with your money.  Next, consider the personal values that shape your life.  Your values also shape your emotions and attitude about money.  Not only are we different physically, we can be different emotionally when it comes to the role money plays in each of our lives.  My best advice, someone once said, “Get a PhD in your money personality and money management style.”

Become a people watcher to learn about money behavior. 

  • Be a spending detective.  Observe how money is being spent.
  • Listen to how people talk about money.
  • Watch and read advertising judgmentally.  What emotions are the ads trying to target?
  • Look for design elements in stores that promote spending. 
  • Be on the lookout for irrational spending among your friends and co-workers.  Your goal is not to judge, rather to develop a situational awareness for spending.   

The world is designed to do one thing, TAKE OUR MONEY.  Becoming aware of your financial behavior is fundamental to developing a financial plan that will help you reach your goals.  

As Ted McLyman puts it in his book Money Makes Me Crazy – A Prescription for Money Sanity, “your money behavior has nothing to do with the amount of money you or your family had.  There are many people with a very healthy attitude toward money who grew up in modest or poor households.  There are also many people who were surrounded by wealth growing up who are dysfunctional with money.  Remember, your money beliefs drive your money behavior.  And you learned your money beliefs somewhere in the past.”  

Take the time to learn about your money habits.  We all do many things without thinking about them, including the way we spend our money.  If you need to change the way you spend your money, first start thinking about the rewards of sound money management, and then adopt new behavior which will lead to NEW habits that will help you reach your goals.