Information brought to you by our partner, GreenPath Financial Wellness
When our financial counselors speak with members about specific challenges they might be facing, it can be helpful to have a conversation about the factors that influence money habits and behaviors.
From family experiences to other factors such as the media, a range of influences shape our views of the world – including the money habits we put into practice each day.
Whether we have patterns of spending, saving, investing or even budgeting, these habits are usually shaped by our past experiences.
As the webinar highlight notes, there are three key influences when it comes to money habits:
How we regulate to finances is very much related to what we experience in our families, and the money lessons people experience across generations.
Perhaps our parents were not comfortable spending money and had a distrust when it comes to taking on debt. Or maybe we witnessed a family where there was a high tolerance for spending and taking on loans for purchases both big and small. whether we were in families that were big spenders or big savers, or somewhere along the spectrum, many people can identify with the role their family's played in their money habits.
Movies, television shows and social media often romanticize the appeal of beautiful homes, nice cars, new gadgets, and brand-name clothing and jewelry. The media plays a big role in emphasizing the desire to have the latest and greatest of everything - despite the realities of our financial situation.
While the entertainment industry is a big part of our media diets, our social media feeds serve up a never-ending stream of photos and updates showing off expensive vacations, cars, elaborate events and more. As a result, many of us are tempted to "keep up with the Joneses" and by ramping up our spending. This is a significant influence on our money habits.
Attitudes and perceptions about how we handle our money are also influenced by the larger culture. For those living in a culture of consumption, the "buy now, pay later" philosophy is everywhere. For those in a culture that puts an emphasis on economic restraint, that philosophy and influence is likely quite different.
While cultural influences affect how we view money, we also have the power to choose how we interpret cultural exceptions. Many people turn the "conspicuous consumption" influence into a positive effect to encourage good money habits. They might see the cultural behaviors as life lessons on what not to do.
Know Your Money Habits
Where do you stack up when it comes to money habits - especially when it comes to credit card debt?
All told, knowing your money habits is a good step towards financial health and wellness. If spending is getting out of hand, for instance, due to the pressures of keeping up with a friend's social post, it might be time to slow down and take a hard look at spending.