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Improving your money mindset: top tips to develop a winning savings attitude


Improving your money mindset: top tips to develop a winning savings attitude - Rabobank NZ

Life is full of winners and losers and a person’s background or financial wealth don't always indicate which camp they fall in to. We’ve all heard the stories of the silver spoon child who fails in life, and the wrong-side-of-the-tracks child who succeeds. Winning in life is all about having the right attitude – the same goes for your financial wellbeing. When it comes to saving, do you have a positive mindset, or an unhealthy one?

Do Kiwis save?

According to our Financial Health Barometer report (commissioned in 2019), fewer Kiwis are consistently saving each month. In fact, one in ten New Zealanders have no savings or investments at all. Those who are saving money are doing so in the name of security, and “for a rainy day”. Not many of us have specific goals, even those of us (1 in 3 specifically) who have high-interest savings accounts.

When it comes to debt, a quarter of New Zealanders believe that debt is bad, particularly Baby Boomers. Younger Kiwis are more lenient when it comes to debt, no doubt due to their lack of savings! A lot of Kiwis have retirement jitters - only one in ten New Zealanders believe their KiwiSaver will be enough for a comfortable retirement.

The good news is this lack of financial literacy is entirely fixable. Once you know what unhealthy money attitudes you might have, it’s easy enough to change. The best way to save money, might just be the easiest solution: an online banking savings account.

Improving your money mindset: top tips to develop a winning savings attitude - Rabobank NZ

The top 7 unhealthy money attitudes you might be guilty of

Let’s start with looking at some bad money habits you might have.

  1. You’re stressed out about money: The cost of living in New Zealand is high, and most New Zealanders are stressed out about it. Close to half of all New Zealanders have experienced challenges paying for day to day essentials in the past three months, so the stress is understandable. Knowing your trigger points is important. Whether you’ve got issues with revolving debt or you’re not so great at budgeting, when you identify the issue, you’re taking the first step to solve it.
  2. You don’t know how to budget: When you don’t know how to manage your money, you have no idea where you stand financially, leaving you susceptible to spending more than you’ve got. Budgeting is a tool that can give you real targets for improving your finances. How can you improve your financial literacy or know how to save.
  3. You just can’t save money: Don’t feel bad if you’re one of the many Kiwis who spend most of their pay check right away. Culturally, we’re taught that money can buy happiness. Impulse spending is a learned behavior, that is widely accepted in our consumer-driven society. Here’s the thing though – you can save when you change your money mindset. Our Premium Saver might be the perfect solution you’re looking for - if you increase your savings balance each month, you’ll be rewarded with a premium rate of interest.
  4. You hate talking about money: Fact is, money is often a taboo. Many Kiwis avoid talking about money because it’s seen as socially unacceptable. Sometimes we don’t talk about it because it’s scary or shameful. Shutting down the dollar dialogue is a good way to stay in debt. It’s time to lose the stigma: openly talking about our finances will help build a stronger collective financial literacy.
  5. You spend more than you earn: Do you treat yourself to things you can’t afford? Look, it’s perfectly fine to treat yourself now and then, but it isn’t healthy if you’re doing it all the time. If you are, you’re simply living beyond your means and this is a slippery slope. Retail therapy is great in theory, but in practice you’re on a one way path to debt, which will cause you financial stress, leading you to buy more things to feel better. What a vicious cycle!
  6. You resent people who have too much money: We live in a society obsessed with wealth and materialism, but that doesn’t give us the right to hate on those with more than us. This kind of resentment can lead to bad money choices: if you’re jealous of how much your friends or colleagues have, you might end up spending your money to keep up with the Joneses - money you don’t have, leading to debt.
  7. You see money as a fix to all your problems: Money is a tool and nothing more. If you think having more money will solve your problems, you’re severely mistaken. Sadly, this is a popular belief with people who have poor money management or low financial literacy. More money won’t solve money problems. Learning how to manage your finances will.

Improving your money mindset: top tips to develop a winning savings attitude - Rabobank NZ

Forgive yourself for your money mistakes

We’re all guilty of making money mistakes at one point or another in our lives. It’s not the amount of money we have that separates financial winners and losers. In fact, it’s more often the six inches of real estate between their ears. Some people simply have the right mix of mental fortitude to get ahead. One person with the same opportunities in life might transcend their background and succeed financially. Another won't. It’s difficult to predict.

That said, those of us who are willing to look at our spending patterns honestly will have better financial futures than those who make excuses or deny there’s a problem.

Here are 3 easy ways to forgive yourself for your financial mistakes:

  1. Lose the shame: First things first, don’t be ashamed of making mistakes with your money. It’s completely normal and everyone will do it at one time or another. Shift your focus away from your shame of having debt so you can make room for better practices.
  2. Say sorry and move on: Make your apologies to yourself so you can get over your past financial mistakes and focus on moving forward. You’ve got to clear out the bad feelings in order to grow as a financially literate person. Let go of the past and embrace a strong financial future!
  3. Reevaluate your money mindset: Your money mindset is a person’s unique and individual set of core beliefs about money and how money works in the world. You may have grown up in a household ridden with debt. This doesn’t have to be your reality. You can change your mindset, and we’re going to show you how!

How to change your money mindset

Many of our core beliefs about money are formed in early childhood by observing and internalising how our parents, friends, community and other caregivers interact with money. Understanding your own money mindset and where it came from can help you change it.

Why should you care? Your money mindset shapes what you believe you can and cannot do with money. It tells you how much money you believe you’re allowed, entitled to, and able to earn. It informs the way you deal with debt, and how much money you give away. Most importantly, a healthy money mindset will build up your ability to invest with confidence and much success.

Improving your money mindset: top tips to develop a winning savings attitude

10 winning money attitudes to embrace immediately

We’ve given this some thought and have come up with 10 winning attitudes we see in people who have strong financial literacy. These aren't 'things to do', but rather 'ways to think' about your finances. They are:

  1. "I view money as a resource". Repeat after me: "Money is something I can tame and use to my advantage. Because it is a scarce resource that is in limited supply, I will manage it carefully (i.e. budget)".
  2. "I am in control". Those who are in control don't get themselves into tricky situations, such as overdrawing their account and having to pay dishonour or unarranged overdraft fees, opening the door to a debt collector, or running out of money before the end of the month.
  3. "I am able to change my ways". Having the ability to reflect on personal actions can really make people successful in a myriad of ways. It's all about self-awareness.
  4. "I want to change". Reflecting and accepting the need for change is one thing. Wanting to make those changes is the next hurdle. Writing down a blueprint for change is taking it one step further.
  5. "I plan and have goals". Whether you’re wondering how to get out of debt, save for retirement, or another goal, a written plan sets out how you’ll achieve XY or Z. That plan includes big and small steps you need to take to get from your starting point to where you want to be.
  6. "I take action". Instead of dwelling on my mis-fortune, you take micro steps to change your situation. That may be creating a budget, cutting one unnecessary expense out, setting up automatic payments into savings, and so on. It's not sitting back and doing nothing.
  7. "I am honest with myself and others". It's very easy to be dishonest with ourselves and those around us. Honesty allows change. Dishonesty makes us to continue doing whatever it is that holds us back.
  8. "I accept responsibility". When something goes wrong it's not someone else's fault. I reflect on what I could have done better. I learn from my mistakes and move forward.
  9. "I am happy". Humans do all sorts of crazy things because they’re unhappy. Being happy in yourself is a great precursor to doing well financially. That's not to say all happy people are well off, but they're less likely to sabotage their financial futures.
  10. "I enjoy". Good money managers actually know how to enjoy their money. They plan, budget and save, and enjoy the allotted luxuries, which can be anything from a café visit to an annual holiday. They know that by limiting their luxuries, they’ll get more happiness out of the ones they have.

Improving your money mindset: top tips to develop a winning savings attitude - Rabobank NZ

Kickstart some healthy money habits today

Starting with our healthy money mantras is great, but by creating and maintaining good money habits, you’ll truly improve your financial literacy. Here are our 3 top tips to improve your mindset and your financial literacy:

  1. Commit to a set time to review your finances. Take one hour per week to review your finances. One hour isn’t much time, especially when you consider the fact that millionaires spend, on average, 8.4 hours per month managing their money. Log in to your online banking and do the work!
  2. Practice gratitude. Pick up a journal and start writing down one thing every day that you’re grateful for both financially and personally. Return to your gratitude journal any time you’re feeling overwhelmed or negative about your own finances.
  3. Get better at your ‘money self talk’. This is all about being positive. When you find yourself talking or thinking to yourself about money, pay attention to the language you use. Stop telling yourself you’re no good with money. Instead, remind yourself that while you may be inexperienced, you’re committed to learning and understanding what it takes to look after your own affairs. You’ve got this! You might just need the right savings account to help you get there.
  4. Related videos:

    1. MoneyTV Lisa Dudson Attitudes towards Money
    2. TED: The Power of Belief
    3. What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness.
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