Personal finance column: Change your mindset about money |

Personal finance column: Change your mindset about money

Danielle Howard

We have all done it. I am not immune and neither are you. We have created stories about our financial lives that through iteration and embellishment, become realities. Some of these narratives may be productive, but I warrant that many of them detain us from our full potential. We use language that holds us captive, thoughts that keep us caged.

Have you heard yourself say things like: “I should put a budget together,” “I have to pay the bills,” “I wish I had a better relationship with money,” “I would give more if…” “I hope to get my estate plan together,” “I should learn about investing,” “I should plan for the future.” Are you fulfilled, comfortable and happy with how things are? If yes, read no further.

“Should do’s and have to’s” put you in a position of pressure, where “get to’s and choose to’s” put you in a position of power.

You can change your stories and your reality. You can continue to use language and make decisions that leave you feeling encumbered, guilt-ridden, stressed, discouraged, afraid, diminished, judged, or you can choose a different direction, the road less traveled.

It is not a money management problem. Having more of it is not the pen to rewrite your story. More money just amplifies the core beliefs. There is a purpose management problem. Decide what you want your money to do for you and be intentional. Consider what money means to you and align your decisions accordingly.

You have choices. No one can take them away from you. We may be able to change our circumstances, or sometimes, as Viktor Frankl so intimately experienced, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Choice in its purest form is our attitude and outlook toward what is outside of our control.

You can face your fears, shed the shame, bury the blame and don new discourse. The first step is to accept where you are right now without blame or judgment. What you resist persists.

With eyes wide open, look at your personal situation for what it is and your mind messages for what they are. The next step is to forgive yourself and others. Stop blaming the economy, the financial institutions, your family, your boss, the ill-equipped salesperson who sold you a product. Forgive yourself for letting time pass, for not educating yourself, or for abdicating roles or responsibilities. This will free you to move forward. Finally, commit to doing something different and with gratitude, learn from the past. The vernacular of “I choose,” “I will” and “I get to” are action-oriented and propel you toward growth and change.

Start on the road less traveled. Read a financial book, take a class, engage in a conversation, sit down and crunch numbers. Ladies, attend the “Women’s Financial Empowerment Series” starting in May. Sponsored by Response and underwritten by the Embrey Foundation, this four-week workshop has been designed to engage, educate and equip you to make changes in your financial mindset, modalities and modus vivendi. You can learn more or sign up at:

Do you want to build on and share a positive story? Teach. Youth Entity welcomes assistance with its program “I am Financial Knowledge.” You can contact Heather Hicks at 963-4055 for more information.

Laura Seay of Junior Achievement of the Roaring Fork Valley is looking for volunteers to teach financial literacy up and down the valley. Check out their program at

We are in the heart of April and Financial Literacy Month. Welcome the opportunity to create a new story. It will take courage and commitment. It will take transparency to transform and accountability to ascend. Today, you have a fresh page to start on!

Danielle Howard is a Certified Financial Planner practitioner. Wealth By Design LLC, her financial life planning office, is located in Basalt; more info at Advisory Services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research Inc., a broker/dealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Cambridge and WBD are not affiliated.

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