5 Powerful Questions to Master Your Money Mindset in Retirement

Woman journaling with dollar sign

What’s your money mindset? Many people put off the decision to retire because they fear that their money will not last.  It is true that we can expect to live well into our 90's and our money needs to support us as we age. But often, making the retirement decision is more about our mindset than of how much money we have in the bank.

The first step to mastering your money mindset is to know exactly where you stand in terms of finances. That usually means consulting with a financial planner. You will bare your financial soul to that person, coming clean with how you are spending your money now and what your financial resources are. Then your planner will click some magic keys and the computer will spit out scenarios for your future life.  Just pick one.

Sounds easy, right?

The thing is, spending money in retirement is more about mindset than spreadsheets. Do you know that you’re emotionally and financially ready to leave your job?  If you answer, "yes," but still feel anxious at the thought of spending money with no earned income coming in, then you may need a to shift your mindset.

5 Powerful Questions to Shift Your Money Mindset

1. What messages did you learn from your parents about money?  

The messages we receive from our parents in childhood shape our lives. Write down five memories of money from your childhood.  Think of times when having enough money (was consistent and times when it was unreliable. Think of messages you received about spending vs. saving, and about what your parents valued spending their money on.

For example, a message from childhood may be, “People with money think they’re better than everyone else.”  

2.  What what are your current beliefs about money?

Beliefs can include things like, “I don’t deserve it," "money is just energy," "money comes easily to me," "money is the root of all evil," or "there’s never enough.”  

For example, you may believe, “I can’t allow myself to have too much money.“

Now list the emotion behind that belief. That could be something like, “If I have too much money people won’t like me and I’ll be all alone."

3. How do you currently put your beliefs into action?

Write down a list of the the ways you spend or don’t spend money. Next to that, write an example. Then, describe the emotion that comes up for you.  

For example:  Category: Leisure interests:  Example: “There’s a concert I really wanted to see but the tickets were too expensive, so I didn’t buy them.”  Emotion: Feel good that I’m watching my budget, but sad and resentful that I missed going to the concert with my friend.”

Unpack your experience.   What was more important to you, seeing the concert or spending the time with your friend?  What beliefs are you honoring when you do or don’t spend money in this way?

4. How do your money beliefs serve you?

Go through your responses from questions 1-3 again and question the assumptions beneath your beliefs.

For example, can you really afford that concert?  If so, what purpose does denying yourself this experience hold for you now?  On the other hand, do you find yourself spending far beyond the parameters of your financial plan?  If so, you have a good reason. What is that reason and how does it serve you?

5. What new money rules do you want to create for yourself?

For example, your old rule from childhood may be, “People with money think they’re better than everyone else.  Therefore, I need to spend money so that I can feel that I never have enough. Then people will like me and I won’t be alone.”

Ask, “Is this rule still true for me?”  If not, what is a new money rule that I want to live by?”

Now, take action.

What one action will you take today to put a new money rule into place?  Money holds great emotional power for us, so give yourself some props for taking this action!  How will you celebrate honoring your new rule??   Need some support?  Check out my talk about Making Intentions Real.

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