When we talk about “personal finances”, we think much more often mathematics and accounting than psychology.
And yet, psychology and money are much more connected than we think.
Knowing how to manage your finances is actually less about choosing the best stock market investments and savings rates than about our emotions and decision-making.
Our relationship with money is more emotional than rational. We all enter the workforce with beliefs and habits firmly rooted in our way of life. And not only about money but also more about success and success.
Yet our relationship to personal finance is a subject still largely ignored by psychology. Strange, when we know that money is a major source of problems in the lives of a large number of people. It is also one of the main causes of divorce in France.
Fortunately, some psychologists like Dr. Brad Klontz have been interested in this topic, and we have been able to demonstrate the different ways in which our way of thinking impacts our finances.
1. To think that having money is something bad
Wealth is very often presented in a particularly negative way in popular culture. And this (and especially) in cartoons for children.
From Mr. Krabs to Montgomery Burns, those who love money tend to be seen as stingy, bad or totally selfish people.
Later, once adults, we often keep this tendency to say that having too much money is bad.
Wealth would make us look big, would be bad for our friends and family relations, would encourage us to be dishonest …
Many of us keep this negative view … while we think we would not be against the idea of making a little more money.
In some people, money can even cause feelings of fear, anxiety or disgust.
Of course, we know that money alone does not make happiness. But those who completely refuse to manage or take an interest in money are also victims of a scheme that can be very harmful.
Not taking care of your personal finances can prove catastrophic in important or unexpected moments of your life (real estate purchase, financial emergency, etc.), but also in your daily life.
Keep in mind that money is not evil in itself: it all depends on how you manage it.
2. Thinking that having more money would solve all our problems
It’s not the amount of things we have, but the amount of things we value that make us happy.
If it has been shown by several studies that having more money generally has a positive impact on happiness, the equation is not so simple as it seems.
In reality, it is not so much the amount of your salary that directly determines your level of happiness as the way you use your money to achieve goals that can bring you happiness and satisfaction.
In other words, if you double your annual salary but find yourself working much more and spend your hard-earned money on futile or impulsive purchases, you are not likely to be happier.
So the problem starts when we think the solution to (all) our problems is the lack of money. The truth is that spending more will not allow you to live happier.
Earning enough money to be able to save and prepare for your future or financial independence can bring you a lot more.
3. To think that one can not become rich oneself (ie without inheriting or winning the lottery)
Do you know the main difference between rich people and those who are not?
Those who succeeded with money had (and still have) what is called a “developmental state of mind,” or growth mindset in English.
This means that they believe that it is entirely possible to succeed and progress, including in the area of personal finance. But also if they are here today, it is thanks to their choices, their efforts and all the strategies they have put in place to achieve their goals.
People with a ” fixed state of mind ” think that they have very little or no influence on their success. These are the ones you will hear that it is impossible to become rich without inheriting or earning a large sum of money.
In fact, many studies show that only 8 to 20% of millionaires have become so by making money.
The rest? They put their development mindset to good use to gradually move towards wealth.
4. Think that money = social success
Thinking that your social success is related to your apparent wealth is a common problem.
Never want to buy used, always prefer famous brands to identical equivalents (and cheaper) … Want to put forward a strong social status via its way of consuming and probably one of the most harmful attitudes towards money.
In addition to being a facade, spending more on status attributes is actually one of the best ways to never become rich .
To become rich, you must not learn how to NOT spend your money .
Dr. Brad Klontz
The media is constantly bombarding us with examples of celebrities and wealthy people who display their possessions exuberantly.
This completely unrealistic view of wealth is dangerously distorting the way people have come to this point. Because to succeed in building your wealth little by little and to ensure your future ( without depriving you ), you will have to learn how to manage your budget and to think about the relevance of your expenses.
It is important to ask yourself if you are a victim of this bias, and to be able to become aware of it. If you want this new watch, is it because you have a crush, or because you imagine the reaction of others and what they will think of you when you wear it?
5. Make the subject of money taboo
We are often ashamed to talk about money. This is a pretty taboo subject, especially in France.
Money has a reputation for being a source of conflict. As discussed earlier, money remains one of the main sources of divorce.
The problem when we refuse to talk about money with family or friends? We then tend to remain poorly equipped to manage our finances on a daily basis.
Rather than taking advantage of the advice of our loved ones, who may have already experienced situations similar to ours or could inform us about financial matters they master, we remain silent in making the same mistakes in the chain.
Being afraid to talk about your financial situation prevents you from obtaining the necessary information to inform your choices. A good reason to break taboos.
6. Deferring the management of our finances
Preparing for retirement when you are in your thirties seems to be a madness. Preparing for a 20-year financial emergency appears to be a lower priority.
When we are young, we too easily tend to think that we still have enough time to take charge and organize our financial life.
But all that is deceptive. And this mainly for two reasons:
- You do not actually have as much time as you think. If you still think it will be easier to manage your money and save in the future, not only will you never really get used to it, but you will also be at risk of finding yourself in a difficult situation of need.
- The longer you wait to take your money, the less you can enjoy the magic of compound interest. Here, the interest you earn on your savings is added to the capital base to produce interest themselves. This means that the sooner you start investing, the more you will earn. And only a few years of “delay” can make an incredible difference.
7. Deprive yourself of everything just to put aside
Never setting aside is, of course, problematic for one’s finances. But wanting at all costs to save money to the point of depriving ourselves of everything, and especially things that make us happy just to see the numbers of his bank account grow, is equally problematic.
Living frugally, saving money regularly and investing your money are essential steps for a healthy financial life.
But if you then panic at the thought of spending the least Euro for fear of making a mistake, this is also very problematic.
The best way to avoid this self-destructive attitude is to decide in advance to set aside a certain percentage of your salary aside each month for your savings and future goals.
The recommended ideal is often 20%, but this can then be defined case by case depending on your situation.
Then enjoy the rest of your hard-earned money for purchases, services or trips that will contribute to your happiness and personal fulfillment.
Do not be so embarrassed to have these attitudes. They are there for a reason, and are a reflection of your current and past life.
Everyone has their biases. The point is to become aware of them and to understand them: it is an essential first step to succeed in changing things.