How Money Mindset Can Improve Your Financial Future

by Laura Adams

I was recently invited to do a Skype call with about 20 high school students who are taking a Personal Finance class. I met their teacher, Brian Page, at a financial education conference last month. Brian was named Financial Education Teacher of the Year and once you meet him, it’s obvious why. He leaps outside the box to engage kids through interesting and fun activities and even invented an award-winning game called Awesome Island. It really is an awesome resource for teachers, community groups, and families who want an innovative way to introduce kids to fundamental money concepts.

Before our call, Brian’s students created a list of financial questions that they wanted me to answer. Interestingly, most of their questions were about how to build a good credit score. They made it clear that they’re gunning for a car loan as soon as humanly possible! At the end of the call, Brian asked me if I had any final tips for kids age 16 to 18 who are getting close to graduation and taking on more financial responsibilities.

Examine Your Money Mindset

money mindsetIt’s funny, but the advice I gave them is the same advice I give many adults: Examine your money mindset. More specifically, I invited the kids to challenge the stale mindset that retirement is what happens to people in their 60s or 70s. When you have enough financial resources, retirement can come at any age and be anything you want, like traveling around the world, becoming a full-time volunteer, or taking on a second career that you love but doesn’t pay. The term “financial freedom” is a pretty overused cliché, but I don’t have a better one for describing what having financial assets can do for you. It’s about being able to choose what you want to do when you want to do it.

When saving for the future isn’t something you dread, but morphs into something really exciting, I’m certain that you’re more likely to do it. This is how your mindset can become your best ally in creating financial success. But developing a vision for your future that really jazzes you up isn’t just a challenge for high school kids–I know middle-aged folks who haven’t started saving for retirement yet because they also think it’s too far away!

Why Money Mindset Is So Important

When I talk to adults who are procrastinating saving for retirement, what I find is that they equate retirement with being old, disabled, or unable to get up and work every morning. It’s a mental road block that stops them dead in their savings tracks because they feel like building a financial nest egg is like accepting defeat. I totally understand this, but my recommendation for how to get past that mental roadblock is to replace those negative thoughts with ones that inspire you. When I think about retirement, my money mindset takes me straight to the idea of financial freedom—not to being old and decrepit.

A 50-something solopreneur that I worked with recently told me that he didn’t have any retirement savings because he wants to live in the moment and not “worry” about the future. Obviously he equates saving with worrying and that’s a money mindset that will really prevent him from ever achieving financial success. Ironically he’s someone who chose his line of work to experience independence and financial freedom!

Let Your Values Drive Your Financial Goals

There are many reasons why people never get started saving for the future or might not be saving enough. The first step to improving your money mindset is to figure out what matters to you and your family the most. Once you know what you value, it’s pretty simple to create goals that will motivate you to jump into action. Go ahead; take a moment to reflect on your personal values and ask yourself whether they’re aligned with your personal finances or not. I could probably take a look at your bank account and tell you what you value, because how you spend your money says a lot. So, does your bank or credit card account accurately reflect your top priorities? If not, it’s time to create some new financial goals.

How to Improve Your Money Mindset

Your money mindset lays the foundation for your entire financial life and that’s why I wrote about it in the very first chapter of my book, Money Girl’s Smart Moves to Grow Rich. If you’d like some help creating a more successful money mindset, I’m going to be following Brian’s lead by stepping outside the educational box and offering something new—a free teleseminar. We’ll cover the topic of money mindset in depth and I’ll give you five ways to transform your finances that have worked for my one-on-one coaching clients and for me.

To find out more about this upcoming free teleseminar, visit where you can register for the call and also get access to the replay recording if you miss the live event. I’ll talk to you then!

Published or updated January 18, 2013.
Print or e-mail this article:

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Terry

What use is Money Mindset to someone who is long-term unemployed, unskilled, living on a poverty level income, and unable to afford school or training?


2 Laura Adams

@Terry Someone with the serious challenges you describe could benefit the most.


3 Terry

Thanks Laura, but I’m skeptical. Your website gives examples of some questions people have asked:

Maybe you’ve asked yourself:

“Why do I keep overspending every month?”
“How did I get into so much credit card debt?”
“Why am I getting hit with so many late charges and overdraft fees?”
“Why can’t I seem to save more for my future?”
“How can I create a realistic budget and really stick to it?”
“Why aren’t I doing what I know I should be doing with my money?”

Well I’m confident I’m not overspending; I don’t have any credit card debt (or cards, for that matter); I have not had any late charges or overdraft fees in the past ten years; I am confident I know exactly why I can’t seem to save more for my future; I have a depressingly bbrealistic budget and stick to it (although there’s no surplus); I believe I’m doing precisely what I should be doing with my money, although that is pretty much forced on me by cash constraints. Lacking disposable income greatly simplifies spending decisions.


4 Laura Adams

Hi, Terry! It sounds like you’ve got a handle on your budget, but still want to save more for the future. If you honestly can’t make one more cut to your expenses, then creating more disposable income would allow you to accomplish your goals. This could be accomplished by going for a promotion, getting a better-paying job, getting a second job, starting a side business, taking on contract freelance work, etc. on a temporary or permanent basis. Your mindset around overcoming cash constraints and creating additional income may be the key to earning more and being able to save more.


5 K.C.

Laura, you are right on the money. Having financial assets gave my wife the freedom to go back to school, full-time, at age 32 and complete her college degree without financial aid or student loans. It gave me the freedom to quit a well paying job and start my own business with cash at age 40. It gave my wife the option of quitting her job to take care of an ailing parent. It gave both of us the freedom to retire at age 56 and pursue interests that did not produce a lot of income.

Having savings, any savings, gives a person more choices. Choice equals freedom. The more financial assets, the more choices, the more freedom.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: