Are You Friends With Your Money? Or Enemies?

Can you say you have a good working relationship with your
money, or is it more like a distant-relative-type relationship? Maybe
you feel it’s like the relationship you have with your best friend. Or
perhaps you just hate having to deal with it at all, and it’s become
more like someone you don’t like spending time around.

For you to feel good about yourself and your business, one of the
crucial things is to have a friendship with your money. Although
not necessarily expressed in this way often, many successful
business people in all walks of life are quick to point out that
amongst their successful strategies within their businesses is their
commitment to paying loving attention to the state of their finances,
be they everyday figures, or long term investments.

This doesn’t mean having to get all excited about doing your
books, or even paying attention every day – what’s important is
developing habits that over time mean you are paying regular,
consistent attention to the figures in your business – and that
means the money coming in as well as the money going out!

I’m often surprised by how many self-employed people don’t
know these figures. Maybe it’s understandable not wanting
to know what’s going out, but not knowing your income too is
less understandable. Whatever it is, just think for a moment:
consider your friendships. How do you treat your friends?

Usually with friends, you stay in touch, phoning, emailing or seeing
each other regularly. You like and respect them, and want to stay
in touch. You want to know what is going on with them, and share
what is going on with you. You like to know they will support you, as
you would support them.

Now, consider money as a friend, Do you pay attention to your
money regularly, as you would your friend? Do you respect it; want
to know what is going on with it; want to support it? If you detect
some room for improvement here, then the first step might be to
own up to your true feelings about this friendship.

Tick if the following statements apply to you:

  • I know I undercharge but I just can’t put my prices up
  • When I spend money I often feel guilty (or even mildly uncomfortable)
  • I find myself spending money on others even though I can’t really afford it
  • I blame others for my financial challenges
  • I don’t often contribute to charity
  • I often feel like I don’t have enough
  • I don’t like paying bills, and often delay it, sometimes even paying them late
  • I don’t balance my books regularly
  • I feel embarrassed and ashamed about my financial situation (whether it’s about having plenty or money or not enough)
  • I find it difficult to ask when money is owed to me
  • I often lend money to others in need
  • I spend money when I don’t know how I will pay it back

If you can identify with any of these, then your money friendship
requires a bit of input! They are all indicative of a sense of low
self-esteem about money, about yourself in relation to money, and
about the subject of finances per se.

But no beating yourself up! That’s just another way of feeling bad
and perpetuating the sense of failure around money. Many people,
especially in these challenging economic times, feel some sense
of stress around money. Criticizing yourself, feeling embarrassed
or shameful only adds another layer which just makes the situation
worse.

The first step towards developing a healthier relationship
with your money is to:
1) acknowledge your feelings (like you did above)
2) work on releasing any thoughts or feelings that are
less than supportive
3) begin to act as if your money was a friend instead of
an enemy

What do you actually do to treat money as a friend?
Remember to take this one step at a time, just as you
would any new friendship. Rather than thinking you have
to spend lots of time together immediately, meet up for
the equivalent of a ‘coffee’ – ie ask yourself what would be
one small thing that you could do in the next few days to
demonstrate that you want to be better friends with your
money.

It might be to bring your books up to date; or commit
yourself to raising your fees by a certain date; or arrange a
debt repayment plan with someone. Or it could be cutting
up a credit card; putting some bills onto direct debit; or
setting up a spreadsheet for your income and expenditure.

By being willing to ask yourself this question, and act
on the answer, you will be taking a positive step in
the direction of making sure you have a good, healthy
friendship with your money, which in turn means you are
much more likely to find yourself in positive situations with
your money and finances.

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