“Money is complicated.
Not only is money jargon a confusing minefield but so are our emotions around it.
In 2002 Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel Prize in Economics for his study that showed our financial decisions are based 90% in emotion and 10% in the application of reason and logic.
Is this because we are totally irrational emotional beings?
His research proved that our emotions impact our perception of reality. So we are in fact acting rationally but doing so from our warped perspective of reality.
How do our emotions warp our reasoning?
The Hunt for happiness
A basic human goal is to be happy.
And as a result we are driven to “solve” for happiness.
Social media, our peers and observation tell us that having more money and more things make us happy. And it’s clear from what we can see that the “having more things” part is a huge driver of happiness and status and conformity.
In solving our happiness equation we “know” that rationally having more things will make us happy.
As a result, we spend more than we have on things we don’t need.
The value divergence
The human values of security, achievement and to provide for ourselves and our families are universal.
All our “happy” spending makes us temporarily happy, but it also leads to a divergence from our values as we find ourselves damaging our security and risking our families and our financial futures. This leads to guilt, unhappiness, fear, overwhelm and ironically more spending as we try to get back our happy!
How do we remove this warped code in our brain’s operating system and replace it with a more empowering belief system?
Questioning what makes us happy
In all the getting we may have lost touch with what we truly value. Chasing someone else’s life or what we have been conditioned to believe will bring us happiness clearly doesn’t work.
By taking an honest and vulnerable look at our lives from a curious perspective we can start to unpick who we are and what we want from the noise and clutter that have kept this hidden.
And cliched as it is, we cannot sort out our money issues in isolation of all other aspects of our lives.
By taking a holistic approach to our lives we can align our values and principles and our resources towards a common goal, creating the life we want.
Understanding where we are in our finances and whether this is supportive of our financial security
Another area of vulnerability; assessing how we have done financially and where we are as a result.
Not being clear on what actions have created our current financial reality and what actions we need to get to the financial reality we want creates the opportunity for the warped mental maths to get to work.
The negative voice that beats us up for not doing more, the shame that brings us down for not having more and knowing more and the despondency that prevents action to change the situation, come to the fore and our reality and our perceived reality diverge to such a large extent we feel the overwhelm of not “enoughness”.
It is only when we choose to take action and get clear on what our financial situation looks like now and what we want it too look like that we open the door to positive change.
Taking action to align our financial security and our happiness
The final step is to take that big bold action that will get our money working for us in achieving our goals.
This is sometimes the part where we falter because the reality of our finances and the magnitude of our goals seem worlds apart.
But that is where our fallacy lies.
Living with every aspect of our lives aligned to our goals is what makes us happy.
Happy doesn’t come from merely attaining the goals, it comes from the in between and who we ask ourselves to become to achieve those goals.
Aligning our financial systems with our values and goals enables us to live our best lives while we attain the goals not only at the conclusion.