Your financial future starts with you

What is your money personality?

If you want to adopt sound financial practices, Michigan State University Extension recommends that you become aware of your personal financial profile. What does this include? Start with managing a spending and savings plan, then using financial products and services in a helpful manner that fits for you and finally, identifying goals and the steps needed to achieve financial self-sufficiency.

What is your money personality? Describe yourself by responding to each of the following four self-assessing questions. They will help reveal your personal money profile as it is today.

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do now?
  • What have you done in the past?
  • What do you value?

Even if you are uncomfortable with this personal money profile, do it. When you realize why you think the way you do about money, you can either appreciate your current practices, or decide to make changes. If you wish to make changes in the way that you approach money and how it affects your life, you can do this, but it will take a deliberate effort in planning and goal-setting. There are tools to help you plan.

Look back to your childhood. What are three words that described money in your family? Make your own list. As an example to get you thinking about a personal list, here are three words that other folks shared during MSU Extension money management classes which I have taught.

  • SAVE – Put your pennies in your piggy bank, “you need to save for a rainy day.”
  • DIRTY -- “oh dear, don’t put that money in your mouth, it’s dirty.”
  • WORK – “Money doesn’t grow on trees, you have to earn it.”

Old habits and messages hang on and affect our decisions. To break a pattern, one needs to be aware of what your own behaviors and values.

  1. Realize your habits                                                                   
  2. Desire change
  3. Develop a plan for change

Reading someone else’s plan is not the answer. This is personal. The plan needs to be your own; something you develop and believe will work for you. For more ideas to help you plan, visit:

Who had the most impact on your money habits and beliefs? Was it a parent, another relative, a friend, co-worker, boss, church member, teacher or someone else? When you identify that person, think about their life and how they related to you. How do you think their perspective about money evolved? This may offer a clue to your current values about money. For example: Did your mentor use money as a way of: helping others, building status, developing lifelong security, creating freedom, gaining power? This process gets complex, when more than one person has equally influenced you, and each looked at money from entirely different perspectives.

Looking back may seem like a slow approach improving your financial future. Give the process a chance. It may be fun to consider where and how your current beliefs and values started. Armed with this awareness, tackle the job of revising your monetary practices. You may discover you are happy with your efforts, so you plan to continue, simply adding updated goals.

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