How I Changed My Money Mindset and How You Can Too
Depending on your past experience, hearing the word “money” can bring about a lot of different emotions. Hatred, joy, scarcity, abundance, anxiety, happiness, insecurity…any of those ring a bell?
Money can feel like the best thing in the world, yet one of the worst.
For me, money used to always bring me anxiety, and it wasn’t until this past year that I really understood why.
This year, I’ve dove in to a lot of books (like Jen Sincero’s You Are A Badass At Making Money), podcasts, and blogs that pertain to money. They all seemed to be talking about this thing called “money mindset” and how it all stems from how you grew up.
So I started to think about my childhood, how I was raised, how my parents interacted with one another, and any time money came into the picture. What I came up with was something I would have never pinpointed without some serious digging.
Growing up, my parents owned and operated a restaurant for over 23 years. They lived together, worked together, and breathed the same air 24-7. With this came quite a few arguments, and most of the time those arguments would be about money, particularly surrounding the business.
In my mind, money meant confrontation, it meant scarcity, and it sure as hell didn’t mean that owning your own business was the way to make money…
Flash forward many many years. After taking the leap and becoming a full-time business owner, money has been on my mind constantly for the past 18-months.
Money means paying the bills. Money means buying food. Money is health insurance, gas, teeth cleanings, and car payments. But, money is also opportunity.
It means taking trips and not caring about taking time off. It means going out to eat with a friend and paying the bill with ease. It means treating yourself to a massage or pedicure when you feel like you need a little self-care. As an entrepreneur, money means everything.
Recently, my money mindset journey has brought me to a place of intrigue. I’m making more money now than I ever have in my life. I’m more curious about money than scared of it. And, I’m more open to receiving it than being too afraid to have it – something that I had to “unlearn” from my 8-year-old self.
With this newfound curiosity, I wanted to go to an expert and get some concrete advice on how to go about changing your money mindset for good and setting yourself up for success. My good friend Jen Schimbeno of Spendthrift and Saver came to the rescue.
Jen is a former spendthrift turned saver, who fell in love with Brock. Brock was the total opposite of her - a saver. After some serious evaluation of what needed to change in order to make it work, they redesigned their money story and now help others do the same.
I asked Jen 5 key questions about money management, debt, investing, and all things money. Learn what she had to say below and become one step closer to getting unstuck from your money mindset.
1. What's the number one myth you hear about money?
Jen: Oh my gosh, there are so many. I think the one that really comes to mind right now (because I have heard it a lot lately) is, "I just need to make more money." I think this is so often untrue.
The issue is not what you are MAKING but often times how you are SPENDING. I do not believe in the saying “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” I think you can do both if you are responsible with your money and spending within your means. It's seldom that I sit down with someone that I am working with and can't find at least an extra $100 that they could be putting towards savings or investing that will be more meaningful to them in the long run!
2. What are the steps to go about finding your personal budget?
I think people initially get overwhelmed because they think they will have to do these things forever. What I have found is that if you take the time to uncover where your money is going for about three months you will learn a lot. A budget is something that stays pretty consistent because we are all creatures of habit. So commit to yourself that you will be diligent in tracking things for at least three months to get a true sense of where your money is going. Then, make some changes so that you can be a better saver and investor.
3. What types of accounts should you have? And how much should you shoot for in each or how much should you put away every month?
Jen: This looks a little different for everyone, but a general rule of thumb would be the following;
Checking or Debit account - we only keep what we need on hand in this account every month
Savings account - we keep only one months worth of bills in this account
Brokerage account/Money Market account - we keep the bulk of our additional savings in a brokerage account because the interest rate is better in these types of accounts than a bank savings account and it is liquid, meaning we can access it whenever we want.
401k - if your company offers a 401k that is great. You should be sure to put at least the the amount in that your company is willing to match. Most often companies match about 3%. Don't miss out on that opportunity, that should be a priority for you for sure!
Roth IRA - This is something that you should set up as well. It is a place to save money for retirement and will be accessible to you tax free when you go to take it out at retirement. At this point you are able to contribute $5,500 to a Roth IRA each year. If you can I would encourage you to get this set up and start maxing it with the $5,500!
SEP IRA - This is for the entrepreneurs out there that have their own business. This is essentially your version of a 401k that you will set up for yourself and potentially any employees that you have
4. Student loans, credit cards, car payments, oh my! Where do you start if you're trying to pay off your debt?
Jen: Debt can get to be overwhelming if you don't feel like you have a plan. It's also helpful to know that not all debt is bad debt.
When it comes to debt, the interest rate is really the most important thing. Anytime you take on any sort of debt be mindful of the interest rate. Then, when you go to create a plan around paying it down, it is best to start tackling the highest interest rate first and pay minimum payments on the others until you get that first one knocked off the list.
There is a misconception that you should pay your debt off as fast as you can. That is true to some extent but there is a sweet spot within that. If the interest rate is around 6.5% to 6.75% or higher, those are interest rates you want to focus on and pay off first. If they are below that amount, you are better off paying the minimum and investing the difference to accumulate money in your investment accounts like your Roth IRA.
5. Is there such a thing as "too soon" to start investing?
Jen: Heck NO!!! I often hear, "well I don't have much to invest." Any bit matters over time because COMPOUND INTEREST MATTERS!!!! Don't wait start now. Start with a small amount and build upon it. Commit to yourself that you are going to put away an amount that feels meaningful to you and build upon it. I am telling you that your future self with thank you!
If after all of this you still feel a little lost or not knowing where your next step should be, please reach out! I want you to feel empowered and if you don't feel that way, let’s change that.
Photos by Lo Magee Photography and Fran Ze Photography
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