Becca Craig, ABA, CFP® with Buckingham Strategic Partners, 6/29/2020
Cultivating an “abundance mindset” might be far down your list of what needs attention today. In times such as these, you might even believe that the thing most in abundance right now is a mounting variety of very real financial stressors. That’s a fair point to make, and you most certainly would not be alone. In fact, events over the past few months likely have only served to highlight the relationship between money and stress, between financial wellbeing and emotional wellbeing.
To find relief from external stressors, many are now turning inward. A June 2020 survey found that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the vast majority (80%) of U.S. adults plan to be more mindful of their self-care habits, yet most struggle with tangible ways to do so. Financial self-care, like self-care more generally, can mean different things to different people.
Even so, the self-care practice of cultivating an abundance mindset can be particularly helpful in creating powerful, positive momentum toward a sense of better financial wellbeing, especially when coupled with a sound, comprehensive, long-term financial plan.
Reflecting on the way we act around and think about money is almost always a worthwhile financial exercise. And luckily, our perspective or mindset counts as one of those things in life that we have the power to control or change (although there are certainly others we can’t).
So how, then, do you go about nurturing a mindset characterized by abundance, expansiveness and the optimism of opportunity rather than scarcity, reactive negativity, and the unattainability of enough? One that allows us to see possibility rather than limits
First, get grounded.
Accept what is. Relationships can be tricky, especially relationships with money. Perhaps your experience (at least up until now) has been shaped primarily by the “money script” of your childhood or by other societal influences. Radically accepting your relationship with money as it stands is an integral part of marshalling the ability to shift it.
Inventory your values. An undercurrent of anxiety can surface when we spend our hard-earned dollars on items that aren’t aligned with what we inherently value. Try taking stock of what really matters, and more importantly, why it matters. Do you invest in experiences that spark joy or a continuing sense of fulfillment? Is your streaming service subscription vital because it supports your value of overall physical, emotional and spiritual health, or is it just something to do? Understanding and establishing how your values engage your money is the foundation of creating an abundance mindset. However, the structure that follows finds reinforcement in the belief that money needs a definite direction and place to land to meet your goals. Get clear on what’s important to you, and resolve will follow.
Next, mind your self-talk.
Replace negatively charged words with objective language. We can break negative thought cycles by changing the language we use with ourselves. Consider that you may have a reflexive emotional response to your finances. Changing the language that you use around money can help diffuse the power held by certain words, giving your mind a reprieve from the fight or flight response that might occur when initially digging into your finances.
Reframe the dreaded B-word (“budgeting,” that is). Try this on for size: You “get” to pay your bills instead of “have” to pay your bills. Fashioning an objective framework for saving and spending can help remove the stigma that budgeting is just about limits and constraints. By making choices for your dollars in alignment with your predetermined hierarchy of needs and wants, your actions become an empowering expression of freedom, not obligation.
Call your emergency savings fund an “opportunity fund.” Refocusing on our intention potentially can lead to improvements in mood, mindset and energy. Instead of saving for an emergency or a rainy day, approach it from the more positive mindset of saving for an opportunity, which can affirm sound savings habits.
Balance your attention between what you have and have not. Assets are what you own, liabilities are what you owe – it’s a balance. When we focus solely on what we don’t physically have, it’s difficult to see the intangible good and meaningful relationships we do possess. Whether it’s your family, supportive friends, a loyal four-legged companion, meaningful work and causes, or even simply access to indoor plumbing, coupling a gratitude list with thorough wealth planning can be a powerful way to help find balance.
Finally, take action.
Give, give, and give some more. Call it the Golden Rule, karma, or something else entirely, what goes around comes around. Acting to start the cycle is required to witness abundance working in your life. There are countless ways to give financially, but it’s not necessary to cultivate an abundance mindset. You can offer your time, talent, experience, energy or creativity in the workplace or out in the community. When we are of service to others, we free up headspace previously given to anxiety; when we give freely without expectation, we put the idea of abundance into our actual daily practice.
Ask for help. Radical, permanent change in mindset and action is difficult to implement in a vacuum. Give yourself permission to ask for help by enlisting the support of family and friends who share or also want to cultivate an abundance mindset. Seeking the resources of a compassionate wealth advisor or financial counselor may also be valuable in keeping yourself accountable to your chosen outlook.
Shifting your mindset is not an overnight task, so be kind to yourself. But changing how you interpret the world is a first step to changing the reality you experience. Ultimately, embracing an abundance mindset may be the more rewarding path.
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