Oh, 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