Take Your Money Selfie

selfieWe do love our selfies.

It’s kind of like a photographic “Where’s Waldo?” of our lives. “Hey, can you see me?”  “Am I cool or what?”

While you can have some fun with this, there’s another selfie that can truly add to your overall life happiness: your Money Selfie.

You turn the lens around and see how your money mindset fits in your life. Ready? Sit up and smile and check out where you are in your money life.

Answer the following questions, tallying up your points from each response.

1.  Are you satisfied with how much you save/invest?
10-Not at all               5- Sometimes                  1-Of course, doesn’t everyone?

2.  Do you rate your level of success next to your impression of others?
10-Not at all               5- Sometimes                  1-Of course, doesn’t everyone?

3.  Do you buy things for yourself to make you feel better?
10-Rarely                   5-Sometimes                   1-Retail therapy is how I roll

4.  After you pay all your bills, what’s left over, money or bills?
10-Money                   5-Break even                  1-Bills win

5.  Do you see steady progress in your financial goals?
10-Yes                          5-It’s up and down         1-Uh, no

6.  If you lost your job tomorrow, how long would you be able to live without cashing in your retirement plan or calling someone for help?
10-Nine months+     5-Three-four months     1-Months? Try days!

7.  Do you feel like your peers are financially ahead of you?
10-Who cares             5-Sometimes                   1-Yes, for sure

8.  Can you name three positive financial actions you’ve taken of which you are really proud?
10-Sure can                5-Maybe 1 or 2                1-Sorry, wish I could

There, you’ve taken your selfie.

If you scored in the 60-80 range, you seem to have a pretty healthy relationship with your money and your goals. Go ahead and brag on your score.

If your score is more like 30-55, you definitely have some foundation for making good decisions.  But in order to move up to a higher satisfaction and comfort level, you have more work to do.

And if your score is under 30, you’ve got some serious digging to do into your financial thinking and behaviors.

Know that, in most cases, your behavior is an outgrowth of your money mindset and your history with money. As children we observe certain behaviors, which we often interpret as normal and with our little child brain, it becomes what “should” be.

So if you grew up in a family where money was used to buy things that were showy, even when the money wasn’t really there, you will probably do the same thing.  If you grew up in a household where money was the source of arguments, then chances are your memories keep telling your brain that Money=Fighting. Even the thought of it has you reaching for the antacids.

You would not be shocked to learn that those who score very high on the selfie often grew up hearing messages like, “don’t spend more than you earn,” “save for a rainy day,” “don’t count anyone else’s money,” or “don’t buy anything you cannot afford to pay for now.”  Those money aphorisms or messages are all aimed at prudent thinking around money.

But finding yourself at the lower end of the money selfie can be the best thing that ever happened to you. It can be the wakeup call that your beliefs, behaviors and habits have come from your money past, but ARE fixable. Now that you are aware, you get to write a whole new set of beliefs.  To create a structure that is sound, supportive and healthy.

So go ahead. Take your money selfie. You’ll either get great support for your money mindset or a fresh perspective you can build on.