Like it or not, the way our primary caregivers talked to us about and interacted with money follows us into adulthood. Our own experiences, including financial trauma, also influence our ability to build wealth.
Chloe B. Mckenzie, the founder of BlackFem, breaks down two influences that determine our ability to create wealth:
- Economic influences are what we typically think of when we think about financial literacy. It’s the ability to budget, know where to invest, and all the other practical and tangible ways we interact with money.
- Extra-economic influences are factors like feelings, emotions and our interactions with social institutions. These make up the mindset we hold about money.
So, how do we ensure a money mindset that supports wealth building?
Start with awareness
You can’t change what you don’t know. Spend some time reflecting and journaling about your money mindset, your past financial decisions and habits, and where you are in your financial journey today.
Reflect on these areas…
Your current mindset
- Which thoughts about money come from your primary caregivers?
- Did your parents openly talk about money?
- In your family, what was said about people with money?
- How have your identities influenced your experiences with money?
- How has your queerness influenced your financial situation?
- What’s being said about your generation’s view of money?
- In what ways have you experienced economic injustice?
- Have you experienced financial trauma?
- How do you feel when you talk about money?
- How do you feel when other people talk about money?
Decisions and habits around money
- What are some good and bad financial decisions you’ve made?
- What are some good and bad money habits you have?
- Where did these decisions and habits come from?
- Are there decisions you’ve had to make for survival?
- Do you have any habits that served you while you were in survival mode that no longer serve you?
Gratitude and forgiveness
- You’ve done what you had to do to get this far. What goals have you met on your way here?
- Are you holding any feelings of shame after this reflection? Forgive yourself.
- Acknowledge mistakes you’ve made, but also recognize you’re operating in a system that wasn’t designed to support you.
- Congratulate yourself for taking this first step in the right direction.
Changing a mindset you’ve held for decades is difficult. Be open and willing to see things differently.
1. Unlearn limiting beliefs
Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but having enough or more than enough of it does give you more options throughout your life.
As queer people, we’re often undervalued and underpaid. It’s easy to internalize the value society has placed on us, even when it’s unfair and inaccurate.
Your time and skills are valuable, and people and companies will try to exploit them. You deserve a stress-free financial life, and dropping the belief that you’re only as valuable as others tell you you are is the first step toward that.
2. Develop new habits
Money management can feel overwhelming or boring if you’re used to avoiding it. But shifting your mindset can change your relationship with managing money and help you incorporate it into your life.
Look at budgeting and money management as tools for autonomy. They let you spend intentionally by telling your money where to go — and avoid spending on things you don’t actually want.
This isn’t an easy change to make, so be patient with yourself during your journey and celebrate your small wins!
3. Reframe mistakes and practice gratitude
If you fall back into a money habit you’re trying to shed, it’s OK. Give yourself compassion and understanding, and reframe your mistakes as learning opportunities.
Ruminating doesn’t serve anyone, and you can’t learn from a place of shame. Building wealth is a slow process, so be patient and remember: you’re on your team!
4. Give money away
It may seem counterintuitive, but a great way to help shift your money mindset is to donate money.
Donating money is proven to bring psychological benefits like joy. It also reinforces intentional spending, helps shift your mindset from scarcity to abundance, and, depending on where you donate, it can be tax-deductible!