Money is NOT the Solution to Financial Problems

Money and Emotions_FearOh, Miss Suze. Sometimes, amid the loud ensembles, screams of, “I don’t think so, boyfriend!!” and general fireworks of your over-the-top persona, you throw out a gem. This past weekend was just one of those sources and as much as I’d like to take credit for the title of this post, I must give credit where credit is due.

On Saturday, I was mindlessly flipping through the channels when I stumbled upon the Can I Afford It? segment of the Suze Orman show. As much as I don’t always agree with her antics, I have to admit that I’m always intrigued by this portion of her show because I love to see others’ numbers (plus, who the hell wants to buy some of those things?!). This weekend’s show was no different and when they were about to cut to commercials again, she threw out the idea that money isn’t the solution to financial problems.

Hmmm. If money isn’t the solution to financial problems, then what is??

Simply stated, it’s a heck of a lot more convoluted than that. There’s a myriad of reasons why one may fall on hard times with their finances. But at the end of the day, getting to the root of the issue (and figuring out a way through it) boils down to some simple psychology.

Here are a few non-money reasons why some of us may be facing financial problems and their respective solutions:

Lack of self-confidence/self-worth

Not believing in yourself is one of the easiest ways to get yourself into financial trouble. Whether or not you don’t believe yourself strong enough to weather a storm, worthy of financial stability, or deserving of better times, not being sure of your personal worth can set you up for disaster after disaster.

Finding your self confidence isn’t easy and may very well be a life-long pursuit, but it’s incredibly necessary. If you find yourself lying low on the confidence spectrum, some great action steps include:

  • Taking action. Get it done! Make that budget, set that goal. Strive for your dreams now because every day you spend planning and waiting is one day less you have to put in the work to reach your goal.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. Yes, this is hard work, No, it is not a matter of life or death. You will make mistakes, you will have great successes. Celebrate the great times and smile through the hard times–I promise it’s all a lot easier that way!
  • Judge the book by its contents–not its cover. Did you know that humans tend to create negative perceptions then turn those judgements into general rationalizations that leads them to make decisions based in fear? Step away from fear and embrace curiosity–you’ll be amazed what doors this simple practice can open.
  • Realize it’s OK if you are wrong or make a mistake. They happen, so let them happen. Live it, learn from it, and move on from it. Your future self will thank you.
  • Know your real self. Find out what it is that makes you tick. Cast your net wide & far when it comes to life experiences and revel in all they can teach you.

 

Inability to set/maintain boundaries

Do you have a hard time saying no to family members/friends who abuse your good nature and continually ask to “borrow” money? Do you have a terrible time adhering to a budget? Do you find yourself spending recklessly? If so, you need to do some re-tuning of your internal boundaries system.

  • Check engine light on? The next time you find yourself in a situation that tests your ability to maintain boundaries, take stock of how you feel. Did that encounter with your relative (the one asking for money) make you feel tired, discouraged, and/or inferior? What about how you felt after your latest spending binge or how you felt when realizing, at the end of the month, that you can’t pay your bills? These are all occurrences that may cause your personal ‘check engine light’ to turn on. When it does, take some time to process the full experience in an effort to learn from it.
  • Preparation is key. Maintaining boundaries is tough work. But the more you prepare, the better you’ll be able to keep yourself in check. In preparation for particularly difficult interactions….
  • Stay grounded. Hold strong to your resolve, take a few deep breaths, imagine yourself literally rooted in the Earth. Whatever it takes to maintain those boundaries is worth it.

 

Inadequate coping mechanisms

Do you immediately feel the need to shop or spend when you’ve had a rough day? Have you told yourself you “deserve” something regardless of your financial situation? When you’re stressed, do you let your budget fly out the window? If so, you may need to take stock of your coping mechanisms. Some examples of positive coping mechanisms include:

  • Physical activity. Not only is exercise great for your body, but it’s a great way to help you through a rough patch. Instead of walking through the mall, what about walking through the local park? Your mind, body, soul, and wallet will thank you.
  • Talk it out. When you’re going through hard times, remember that you.are.not.alone. For each person that seems hell-bent on bringing you down or holding you back, there are ten who will help you rise up and get where you want to be. Seek out those who also have your best interests at heart and speak with them rather than charge your worries into debt-ridden oblivion.
  • Exercise your inner artist. Turn on some music, hone a craft, paint or sculpt. Whatever your creative outlet, turn to it in times of stress, pain, doubt, etc.
  • Practice mindfulness. Remember, just breathe and stay grounded.

 

An insatiable desire to belong/have more/be better

There’s no list of bullets for this because all you really need to remember when the Jones come’a knockin’ is this:

YOU ARE NOT DEFINED BY THAT WHICH YOU OWN–MATERIAL OBJECTS DO NOT DICTATE YOUR WORTH, VALUE, OR EXISTENCE.

 

What are some other non-money solutions you’d offer to those facing financial problems?

 

Photo credit: mariopiperni

The Happy Homeowner

The Happy Homeowner

We're a team of freelancers who are on a mission to inspire others to live a healthy, balanced life one cent at a time. Work from The Happy Homeowner has been featured on CNN Money, Yahoo! Finance, Wisebread, Lifehacker, The Dr. Oz Show, Good Housekeeping Magazine and many other outlets.
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26 thoughts on “Money is NOT the Solution to Financial Problems

  • June 18, 2012 at 10:53 pm
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    Interesting post. I agree. I guess a no-money solution would be building self awareness. That way, we can really determine our drivers and what makes us tick.

    Reply
    • June 20, 2012 at 7:51 pm
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      Exactly! It's so important to understand yourself as much as possible. Only until you have a better sense of self awareness can you honestly make positive changes that benefit your own unique situation.

      Reply
  • June 19, 2012 at 1:10 am
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    I have always believed that if money can solve a problem it is not truly a problem. But I have always had a place to live, food to eat and clothes to wear. I guess what am saying is that my basic needs have always been met. Now I have needed money before and still do but real problems, like death, disease, family usually cannot be solved by throwing money at them. You can try but the root is still there.

    Reply
    • June 20, 2012 at 7:51 pm
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      Yes! Money certainly makes life easier, but it's not a solution to the real problems life throws our way

      Reply
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  • June 19, 2012 at 12:22 pm
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    I found when I was just starting to get out of debt that reading PF Blogs really helped me–it was nice to know that I was not the only one. It helped me believe that I could get out of debt too–it's not impossible. It didn't cost me anything and helped me stop and think about what I was doing. I started budgeting and planning.

    I use exercise a lot–it's a great stress reliever for me and let's me think about my problems without stressing out too much. It's really hard to get stressed out when you are running!

    Reply
    • June 20, 2012 at 7:53 pm
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      I agree! I tend to have my best thoughts and work through my toughest issues/problems while out on a long run.

      And yes, the bit about blogging is so spot-on. I think a lot of us (myself included) got sucked into the pf blogosphere in an attempt to remedy our own situations. I love how easy it is to connect with other people and help them by sharing my stories here!

      Reply
  • June 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm
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    I love this post. I think the big thing is to know you are not the only one. That helps so much. Pf blogs were huge for me when we first got out of debt.

    Reply
    • June 20, 2012 at 7:54 pm
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      Thank you! The blogging world has given me (and I'd like to think all of us) such a wonderful wealth of knowledge, connection, and support. You're certainly not alone in your quests to tame the budget beast!

      Reply
  • June 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm
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    If you are doing well emotionally I didinitely think that can help things financially. Try to take a stepback when something bad happens and delay spending money and see if the need passes.

    Reply
    • June 20, 2012 at 7:54 pm
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      So true–even taking 5 minutes to do a quick assessment of your emotional state and/or stress level works wonders!

      Reply
  • June 19, 2012 at 4:05 pm
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    Start a blog! That's what I did when our debt got to the uncomfortable level where I no longer felt like "it'll be okay! Let's go shopping!" It helped me to be more accountable for my spending and I've met a lot of really nice, helpful, money-smart people to help me get through this mess. BTW, I can totally hear Suze's annoying voice reading that last sentence in bold. I agree that she's right a lot of the time, and I LOVE that segment "Can I afford it?"…but her voice! Augh!!
    -M

    Reply
    • June 20, 2012 at 7:55 pm
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      Hahahahaha…it's true! So guess what–I found out that she's an investor in my new company!!! I reeeeeeeally hope to be able to meet her some day…hehe :)

      And for the record, that last sentence is mine, not Ms. Suze's :)

      Reply
  • June 19, 2012 at 4:21 pm
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    Well said — just like salad isn't the solution for weight loss, money itself isn't a solution for bad habits.

    Reply
    • June 20, 2012 at 7:56 pm
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      Definitely–people need to understand it's never a one-size-fits-all entity when it comes to managing our money well!

      Reply
  • June 19, 2012 at 4:38 pm
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    I don't like Suze Ormon, but I agree with her. I've realized that ALL my financial problems could have been avoided if I had better self esteem, which would have led to better judgement.
    http://www.lbeeandthemoneytree.com

    Reply
    • June 20, 2012 at 7:56 pm
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      Yes! But the key is realizing that, no matter how long it takes to do so. Once you have that awareness, the sky's the limit in terms of what you can do to better your situation

      Reply
  • June 19, 2012 at 5:22 pm
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    This is what our problem was. It wasn't a lack of money problem, it was a lack of good habits problem. I think a lot people could stand to learn the difference.

    Reply
    • June 20, 2012 at 7:57 pm
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      Love it! Yes, yes, yes! That difference is also a key to wise financial management…

      Reply
  • June 19, 2012 at 5:26 pm
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    I think you hit the nail on the head! All of these things are big reasons why we are spending too much… or spending more than what we earn. For me, I was spending because I was thinking that the items I was buying would make me feel better, would make me look better, would make me turn into a better person just because I was wearing cute clothes or carrying a nice bag. It was all in my head. I could get compliments for wearing a cheap or old item rather than the expensive ones. If I really wanted compliments, why did I have to buy stuff just to think this would happen? Also, I was bored. I shopped out of boredom. I now know better than that and busy myself with blogging (obvs haha) and exercising…finding other things to do rather than spend too much time shopping, or thinking of what to buy next. Great post!

    Reply
  • June 20, 2012 at 12:46 pm
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    My spending habits were my downfall, not lack of money. I still don't like Suze tho.

    Reply
    • June 20, 2012 at 7:58 pm
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      Yes, the spending devil–I STILL struggle to tame that beast sometimes! I think it's truly always going to be a "work in progress"

      Reply
  • June 20, 2012 at 7:58 pm
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    Thank you! I think it's a huge sign of your growing independence and strong sense of self that you were able to make such great changes :) You're doing a hell of a job so keep it up!!!

    Reply
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