Being clueless about money is no longer affordable, says Kate Levinson.
In her new book, Emotional Currency: A Womans Guide to Building a Healthy Relationship with Money, Levinson, a psychotherapist, describes our inner money life as the complex set of thoughts, beliefs and feelings we have about our finances.
These thoughts, beliefs and feelings influence nearly every decision we make. (Guys, keep reading: Emotional Currency is not only for women. We all have an inner money life worth exploring.)
I say every decision because most of the choices we make have a financial component: what we eat, what we wear, where we live, where we work, how much we work and how we recreate. Any time we buy something or dont, our inner money life is at work.
Levinson provides an eye-opening exercise she calls My Feelings About Money. It takes just 10 minutes and may shine some light on your views and attitudes. Give it a try.
To begin, get a blank piece of paper and find a quiet place. Take a moment to calm your mind and become present. Now, begin thinking about your relationship with spending and saving.
Come up with a word you associate with money and write it down. Then, continue to let words come to you. Write them down until you cant think of any more. The words can address qualities, feelings, objects, experiences or meanings whatever comes to mind is right for you.
I certainly have had money problems and troublesome experiences, as I assume we all have. These experiences influence our relationship with money and drive our spending and saving behavior. By examining these experiences and our feelings tied to them, we can develop better emotional health as it relates to money.
For me, the benefit improving my emotional relationship with money has been making conscious financial choices, dealing with less drama and encountering fewer emergencies.
Levinson recommends six steps to help you heal your relationship with money:
b Identify your troublesome emotional reaction or behavior.
b Discover what contributes to feeling, behaving and thinking the way you do.
b Explore your emotions around your troublesome reaction or behavior.
b Be open.
b Create a support system.
b Accept what has been and what is.
To this list, I would add read Emotional Currency and visit Levinsons website, www.emo tionalcurrency.com.
The book and website are direct avenues into understanding your complex relationship with money, and they are packed with questions and exercises. Plus, the book contains dozens of real-life stories from women who have participated in Emotional Currency workshops and from Levinsons psychotherapy practice.
In particular, the Resources for Action chapter is an excellent woman-oriented guide for becoming money savvy.
Join me Monday at Marias Bookshop to meet Levinson as she delves into our rich relationship with money.
Durango resident and personal finance coach Matt Kelly owns Momentum: Personal Finance. www.PersonalFinance Coaching.com.