Trying to solve root cause money issues by addressing surface level problems is only going to make your money issues worse. Many of our bad money habits aren’t as easy to address as “just stop shopping” or “cut up the credit cards”. More often than not there’s an underlying mindset issue that needs addressing. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at a common money problem.

 

Problem: “I can’t save money.”
This is a very common problem that clients come to speak to me about. It’s not that they can’t save money. They were never taught how to save. This causes bad savings habits to develop. When you start to look a little bit deeper, you might discover you never have money in savings. Every time you need something, you are using your credit card because you don’t have money put aside for your needs. This causes debt. To get rid of the debt, you need to develop the habit of saving money.
 
The surface level problem begins to present itself here. The solution seems obvious enough, “Put some money into a savings account, lady! Like, duh!” But there’s a lot hidden underneath that.
 
I want to give you some examples of where this starts to go awry. Because money is reflective of the relationship that you have with yourself. It shows up in the external world, but it’s a little bit of an internal thing, too.

 

Root Cause Number 1: Your Comfort Zone is preventing you from being able to save.
It could be that having money is something that’s never happened for you. You didn’t grow up in a family with money on their mind. They’ve shown you it’s made to come in and go out. You may believe it’s not meant to stick around.
 
Having money can be outside of your Comfort Zone. It could be the one thing that would make you more comfortable. But it’s something that sets your brain (which loves what’s familiar) on edge. Then, the money never seems to last.
 
I’ve had clients get money into savings and all of a sudden everyone that they know has an emergency. Even their pets have emergencies. The money is gone before they have a chance to experience having it. Their Comfort Zone with savings is one deeper level problem.

 

Root Cause Number 2: You don’t feel you are worthy or deserving of the money.
Another deeper level problem is past money choices. You may have made bad choices in the past. You may be scarred by that and can no longer trust yourself with money. When you get money, you are at war with yourself. You’re like, “Oh, I should do something good with this money before I do something stupid with this money.”
 
It bothers you until you do something with it. The money can’t sit there because you don’t trust yourself to not spend it. You believe every time you have money it goes away. In this case, you would want to analyze your feelings of worthiness and deservingness.
 
If you don’t feel worthy of having money, you’re going to find reasons to get rid of it. That’s deeper level stuff we may not notice without turning inward. On the surface, the solution seems easy enough. Open up a savings account and set up a direct deposit for each pay period.
 
But any sense of feeling guilty or undeserving of having money gets in the way of building a savings habit. If you try to build a habit that’s incongruent with who you think you are, you’re not going to be able to stick to it.

 

Solution: Start putting money into savings and notice how you react.
Even if you have the best sense of self-worth, if you don’t put the money into the savings account, you can’t do the work. Watch how you react to having money. Question what you spend it on. See if there’s a set amount that you’ll allow yourself to have before spending it all. There are layers to our mindset around money and they all need to be addressed.
 
If you put money in savings, but you still feel like the money freaks you out, the surface level solution isn’t going to solve the root cause. You’re going to have to change your Comfort Zone. And, if you feel unworthy of having that kind of money, you’ve got to address the problem – all the way down to the bottom.
 
Money problems are like poison ivy. If you’ve ever attempted to get rid of poison ivy, but didn’t dig up the roots, the problem only temporarily goes away. You have to get down into the psyche, so the habit work can stick.

 

The number one thing that you need for a habit to stick is congruence.
Your habits and actions need to match who you think you are. I see a lot of financial advice that only approaches the surface level issues. Someone will say, “Oh, well, stop getting your nails done. Stop buying lattes.” That may be part of the solution, but you have to look into why. When you’re spending money, you want to look at where the money going. And then you have to look a layer deeper at what you’re actually buying with the purchase.
 
  • Are you buying back time?
  • Are you buying back mental energy?
  • Are you buying an emotion?
 
You need to ask yourself if you’re buying coffee because you didn’t prepare for your day. Or because you’re feeling a little insecure and stressed out today. You always want to be looking a couple of layers deep to actually get to the real root problems of money issues.

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