During these long, COVID winter evenings, our minds tend to wander toward thoughts of sitting on a warm beach, sipping a margarita, and listening to the sounds of the waves lapping at our feet. Just as your shoulders melt away from your ears and the breath begins to deepen, you’re jolted awake from the fantasy into the cold, dark Hudson Valley winter. And then, the mind begins rapidly calculating the cost to fly, rent an Airbnb, eat out, and navigate around the vacation island and BAM! You come face to face with the stark reality of, “Can I afford this?”
Here is where it gets interesting. Depending on your financial personality profile, you may choose one of several paths. If you tend towards the restrictive end of the spectrum, you grimace and refuse to even think about making this a reality. You take pride in being a careful and conservative spender who lives well within your means. Those who swing in the opposite direction will immediately open their laptop, book plane tickets, accommodations, and any and every water activity possible to give themselves an over-the-top experience. They may even book restaurant reservations ahead of time! This type of person is a permitter and tends to spend before considering whether there’s room in the budget for these extravagant purchases. Knowing where you are in this spectrum is extremely helpful in navigating your day to day spending behaviors.
Taking the example of a beach vacation a bit further, another way to assess your individual financial personality profile is to ask if the experience of the vacation is of greater value to you than the purchase of a boujie watch or handbag. In other words, are you someone who enjoys spending money on experiences or possessions? There is no judgement in this self-assessment, though it is very revealing to know which gives you more pleasure. And now that we’ve moved into the topic of acquiring worldly goods, are you someone who likes to make purchases every week on Amazon no matter how small because you enjoy receiving packages at your doorstep? Or are you more inclined to save up and spend your money on quality purchases? Please don’t judge yourself. There is no right or wrong answer, however, becoming aware of your tendencies is the first step towards becoming grounded in your money relationship.
Another question you may ask yourself is whether you spend money to acquire a sense of safety and control? Are you someone who enjoys checking in on your bank accounts and feels a sense of security knowing you have an emergency fund? Or do you prefer living in the moment, posting your latest adventures or acquisitions on social media? YOLO, right? At which end of the scale do you weigh in?
Since we live in a country of “consumers” rather than “citizens”, we are constantly receiving messages from the media that spending and consuming equate to happiness and success. If we took the time to ask deeper questions about the role health, time, and security play in our lives, we may make very different choices. It is completely understandable why up until now we have not taken time to look at our spending behaviors nor examine our underlying motivations when spending money. Yet, the more we explore our financial personality profile, the greater the awareness of our behaviors and tendencies. Armed with this knowledge, we become more receptive to acquiring the tools to navigate our behaviors and gain control over our spending, to live more grounded and securely through these challenging times.
Joanna will be offering a workshop to Hudson Valley Current members on March 25 from 6-7pm. Cost for participation: 12 Currents.
Joanna Leffeld aka the Moolah Doula helps people become grounded and empowered in their relationship with money. As a former Certified Financial Planner, yoga teacher, and artist, Joanna offers a compassionate, creative and accessible approach to money. Joannaleffeld.com/about