Do You Have a Healthy Emotional Relationship With Money?

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In today’s column, we chat with Lindsay Bryan-Podvin, LMSW, financial therapist and author of “The Financial Anxiety Solution,” about how to tell if you have a healthy emotional relationship with money — and what to do if you don’t.

What are some signs that a person does have a healthy emotional relationship with money?

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A person who has a healthy relationship with money understands the ins and outs of their personal finances and understands that mistakes happen. They are comfortable talking about money and asking questions when they don’t understand something financially related.

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What are some signs that a person does not have a healthy emotional relationship with money?

They might avoid looking at money, not negotiate for raises, overspend or spend recklessly.

If someone doesn’t have a healthy relationship with money, what are some steps they can take to improve it?

1) Identify your current relationship with money. If you aren’t sure, I recommend taking note of your thoughts and feelings when interacting with money or financial tasks. Think: seeing your paycheck hit your bank account, handing your credit card over when you get your car repaired or hearing a story about the stock market on the radio. Knowing where you are now can help with where you want to be.

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2) Identify your version of a healthy relationship with money. Most of my clients say they want a relationship with money that feels easy, that makes them feel confident and calm. Those words might resonate with you, or they might not! You get to decide how a healthy relationship with money looks.

3) List out your unhealthy financial thoughts or practices. E.g. “I don’t pay my credit card bills” or “I wait until April 14 to file taxes.”

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4) Decide what healthy financial thoughts or practices you want to adopt. I’m not here to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do with your money. You are the expert on what you want your relationship with money to look like.

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Here are a couple of questions to get you started: Does looking at your bank account weekly feel like a healthy financial habit? What about starting your day with a mantra like, “I’m confident enough to understand money”?

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5) Create a roadmap to implement changes. Reverse engineer your way from where you are currently to where you want to be. Create small, manageable steps to get there and practice at a cadence that works for you, be it daily, weekly or monthly.

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About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 

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