Welcome back. In my last post, Thrive After COVID-19: Discover Your Money Temperament, I explained why I believe we’re not hardwired to do well with money. I’ve summarized the key points below, but if you’ve spent any time foraging for toilet paper over the last few weeks, you know this – and may even have photos.
- Humans are not hardwired to work well with money.
- Your biology, money beliefs, and culture conspire against you when you plan and spend.
- You are not as rational as you think with your money.
- What you think you know about money may be correct, but wrong for you.
- Managing money well is about leadership – personal and professional.
- Discovering your Money Temperament is essential.
- Your key to surviving and thriving in the new economy will be to know your Money Temperament and manage your behavior — not your money.
Have you formed an opinion or developed a perspective about people and money? Do you think people are rational spenders? Do you know some people you think are “crazy” because of the way they spend money?
Remember, you’re judging from your perspective rather than theirs. It’s possible they might think you’re the crazy one because you don’t spend the way they do.
The Conventional Wisdom About Money Is Wrong
That’s right. Let me explain. Conventional financial literacy education and training don‘t consider Money Temperament – how we naturally feel and think about money. It assumes people are rational with their money, and given proper training and information will make sound money choices. Really?
You know that’s not true. Many people have a house that’s too big, a car loan that may last longer than the car, and a garage full of things they don’t even use. And far too many people have too much debt, not enough savings, and are ill-prepared for retirement.
Traditional financial literacy advice doesn’t generally consider behavior. It instead focuses only on activity, products, and services. This one-size-fits-all approach seldom works.
As you now know, money decisions are complex and emotional. Some decisions have minor consequences. Others can be catastrophic – or just embarrassing. The trick is to keep the big money mistakes to a minimum. Cashing in your retirement plan to buy a timeshare is not an excellent decision. Adding Moose Tracks ice cream to your shopping cart is okay — in moderation.
You Need a One-Size-Fits-YOU System
After more than three decades of working with people and money and publishing three books on the subject, I’ve learned that behavior matters – a lot. Based on my experience and research, I know most spending is emotional, unconscious, and automatic.
If you want to make better money decisions, and I assume you do, you need a system to help you control your feeling brain and engage your thinking brain. Believe it or not, many folks can do this. What separates them from the “spending challenged” is how they approach spending choices.
Successful people have a deliberate, strategic system to help them make better money choices. People with money issues use an impulsive and emotional approach. This approach rarely works.
So, if you are serious about managing your money behavior, you need a system. However, your system must fit you – how you think and feel about money. A “one-size-fits-all” approach is limiting.
The Money Behavior System™
My latest book, Discover Your Money Temperament, A Common-Sense Guide to Financial Security, is your One-Size-fits-YOU guide to better money choices. It’s not a book about money, it’s a book about money behavior. In fact, I think it is more a self-help and leadership book than a book about money. I wrote it to help anyone make better money choices.
In part two of the book, I explain my Behavioral Money System™. It has worked for my clients, and it will work for you. Here are the basics.
Most people seem to either misunderstand or overlook how they manage money. The social and economic impact of this is enormous – it results in everything from lost opportunities to stress to individual and corporate bankruptcy. Fixing this will benefit everyone.
The system for making better money decisions is:
- accept that you are human and will always act human,
- know who you are and your money temperament, and
- understand and apply the Money Behavior System™.
This system assumes in today’s economy, everyone is “self-employed.” You are in the business of “YOU.” Look at yourself as the CEO of your own business. It doesn’t matter where you work or what you do. You are now self-employed – you’re the boss. Your only guarantee is the opportunity to work. Your only security is your level of performance. Even with splendid opportunities and exceptional performance, you might not make it – our economy can be tough.
The Money Behavior System™ is an essential tool. When used properly, it will help you make better money decisions. The System is simple but effective. It focuses on five critical questions:
- What are your money values? – what is most important about money to you?
- What is your money temperament – how do you think and feel about money?
- What is your money knowledge — how do you process information, and what do you know about money?
- What is your money strategy — what is your master plan for financial success?
- What is your money action plan — how do you put your plan into place?
I said this was simple, but like anything worthwhile, it may take a little time and effort to accomplish. However, when you answer these questions, you will have a much better understanding of how you think and feel about money. As a result, three things will occur.
- You’ll be much more comfortable with your money decisions.
- You’ll be more effective and efficient in spending your money.
- You’ll be able to work better with the money professionals you choose to hire.
I can help you better understand how you think and feel about money. Once you know how and why you make your money choices, I believe you’ll make better ones.
Over the next few weeks, I will post in-depth information about my Money Behavior System™ to help you better discover your Money Temperament and unleash your Money SuperPowers.
Learn more about Money Temperament by watching the replay of a seminar I did for Turnkey Coaching Solutions’ Leading in Crisis and Change Virtual Summit.
Ted McLyman is the Director of Behavioral Finance, DreamSmart Academy, Founder of Apexx Behavioral Financial Group, and a Lt Col United States Marine Corps (Ret). He is also an award-winning and bestselling author. Ted’s latest book, Discover Your Money Temperament, A Common-Sense Guide to Financial Security, is the reference for this post.