How to Build a Better Relationship with Money

By Robyn Parets
May 11, 2017
Building healthy relationships with partners, family and friends takes time, patience, commitment, and dedication. What happens when you don’t put in the effort? You risk the relationship going downhill and this can result in high anxiety.

Believe it or not, the same goes for your relationship with money. If you want to achieve financial health, you’ll have to put in the effort to build a purposeful relationship with money that is both satisfying and not overly stressful, according to Psych Central. Part of a healthy overall money picture includes spending money based on your values, having low debt, saving money to meet goals, and building an emergency fund. Hmm, let’s meditate on that for a moment.

Now the question becomes: How do you begin building a healthy relationship with money? According to experts, you’ll have to do some deep personal work. To get started, here are 4 top ways to create and maintain a healthy financial life:

Understand your family money story and take steps to rewrite your own book.

Your money story was ingrained in you by your parents and how you were raised. Your upbringing, in turn, shapes your current thoughts and attitudes about money. For example, perhaps you have bad money habits and trouble saving because your parents never saved for their future. Or, maybe you are afraid to treat yourself to anything nice because your parents believed they would never have enough money and thus never splurged – not even on Christmas. Whatever your money story is, it’s now your time. This is your chance to write your own book and take charge of your financial future.

Recognize your own personal money habits and negative patterns

Although your childhood money story contributes to your feelings about financial matters, you won’t be able to fully make changes until you take a hard look at your ongoing habits, according to the University of Minnesota site “Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing.” For example, do you blow part of every paycheck going out to bars on the weekends? Do you regularly hit the mall to buy clothes even when you don’t need new outfits? On the flipside, is your frugality causing you to become lonely and depressed because you refuse to spend money over dinner and drinks with friends? Once you fully understand your own spending and saving habits, you can then push a pause and reset button as you begin to make changes.

Seek help.

Once you’ve dealt with #1 and #2 above, you may now want to ask for help to get your money matters in order. If you don’t know where to start, you can pick up a couple of self-help books on financial health. Psych Central recommends “Mind Over Money” by father and son team Brad and Ted Klontz, pioneers in the field of financial psychology. Other recommendations include “The Money Trap” by Ron Gallen and “The Secret Language of Money” by David Krueger.

If you need to get out of your own head, you may prefer to discuss your money issues with a trusted friend or even seek guidance from a professional financial psychologist or fee-based financial advisor. You may want to try both options as a friend may be a great source of support while a professional can help you map out a strategic path to guide you toward financial well-being.

Get real with your money goals.

Now that you’re working on a healthy emotional relationship to money, it’s time to begin implementing a plan of attack. This doesn’t mean you have to pay down your debt, start several savings accounts and sock more money away into a retirement fund all at once. But, you can begin to take things one step at a time.

With this in mind, you might want to consider automating your savings as a good first step. Automating makes it easy for you to save, especially if this was always a struggle for you. You can get ahead of the game by setting up a bank account with Chime, which actually pays you to save money. That’s right. With a Chime account, every time you use your Chime debit card to buy something, your transaction will be rounded up to the nearest dollar and that rounded up amount will be transferred into your savings account. If you use your debit card twice a day on average, you’ll save about $400 a year without even thinking about it. Now that’s reason enough to start automating your savings right now and moving toward a healthy relationship with your money.

Robyn Parets is a personal finance editor and writer at Chime. She has written for Investor's Business Daily (IBD), NerdWallet, Inc., Thrive Global and many other media outlets.

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