Money and finances can trigger a range of emotions. Throughout our adult lives we can feel shame for making purchases that we really didn’t need, confident about the amount of money we’ve saved for retirement or regret for not saving for emergencies when we had to use credit to pay for an unexpected expense. Many people will describe themselves as “good” or “bad” in how they handle money. Either description is probably an oversimplification, ignoring the more complex factors associated with our money.

Typically, money tends is a subject that isn’t openly discussed, even in families. Friends don’t share how much they spent on their new car, how much they have saved for retirement, or what their mortgage payment is. Whereas we often share stories with others when dealing with difficult situations in order to find support, money is more often regarded as something to “figure out for yourself.” 

While today financial education, particularly in schools, is becoming more prevalent many working adults have not had formal education for managing their personal finances. Instead, we’ve learned from observing others or reading information online and then implement action plans for our own finances. Based on our definitions of success or failure we end up telling ourselves: 

  • “I’ll never be good at money, so why should I try?”
  • “I must be doing something wrong with my money because my friends all have more spending money than I do.”
  • “I don’t make enough money to save for retirement so I’ll worry about that when I earn more.”

Our relationship with money doesn’t have to be fraught with tension, fear, or disillusionment. We don’t have to resign ourselves to the belief that we don’t know how to handle money and will never be able to save enough for our dreams and goals. Instead, with some mindset changes you can begin to change your relationship with money to create a new outlook for your saving journey:

  1. Money is a tool. Look at how money can help you build the life you want. Just like savings is a journey, not a destination, money is not the ultimate goal – it’s what you do with that money. 
  2. Today is not tomorrow. Recognize that wherever you are in your saving journey, there is always opportunity to change. Where you are today is not where you will necessarily be tomorrow. You get to decide what tomorrow looks like for you and what you will change to reach that destination.
  3. Avoid comparisons. It can be difficult not to make assumptions about someone’s finances based on their outwardly actions – the type of vacations they take, clothes they buy, how often they dine out. We tend to think that they must have a lot of money and/or are good at managing their money. As in many things in life, perception is not always reality. You don’t know what other decision or choices they’ve made so these comparisons can create unhealthy feelings of inadequacy. 
  4. Change the story. Instead of telling yourself “You’ll never have enough money in savings,” tell yourself “I have plenty of money for myself, my family and our home.” Our brains are powerful and the stories we tell it impact our choices and actions. Start with the positive.
  5. Be mindful. Intentionally track what you spend and how it makes you feel so you can decide what’s important to you and what isn’t. 


Now that you’re on your way to a new and different mindset about money, use the America Saves Seven Steps to Jumpstart Your Saving Journey to get started working toward your saving goal. You can also tune into the Think Like A Saver Podcast for even more ways to stay positive and focused on your saving journey.

About American Bank & Trust

American Bank & Trust is a locally owned and locally managed bank that has been serving the area since the late 1800’s. We pursue a growth strategy that affords us the capacity to meet and serve all of our customers’ financial needs and make available to the customer all of the financial products they desire in today’s fast-paced world. We are a service-oriented organization with independent leadership based in our communities. Our strong, well-managed, growing, innovative community banks offer an elite level of financial expertise that overlaps with individuality and empowerment, and an excellent reputation. American Bank & Trust offers great opportunities, makes an impact, and is a place where people like to work, grow, and make a difference. That is where you will find the very particular hue of difference that distinguishes our employees and relationships from other banks. ‘Where what if meets why not,’ you’ll find us hard at work.

Share This