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Money certainly makes the world go ‘round, and billions of people across the planet work hard and long for it. Unfortunately, many cannot get a firm grip on their finances. How can one escape the vicious cycle of habits that lead to financial stress?

Myriads of opportunities abound for spending every dollar earned. Every financial decision includes a choice to forgo other options in favor of how the money will be used. Discovering the inner forces that drive financial decisions is crucial in replacing unproductive money habits with habits that will bring relief and freedom.

Uncovering Core Attitudes on Money
Before one can effectively change undesirable behaviors, one needs to understand how the bad habits were formed. Upbringing and culture play an integral role in shaping one’s attitude toward money. Parents and other close adults provide examples (mostly inadvertently) of handling finances. Cultural cues from entertainment and marketing mediums also influence money attitudes at an acutely deep level in the psyche.

What Does Money Mean?
What is the purpose of money? What is the goal of earning it? What does one hope to accomplish with money? Reflecting on these questions and taking time to answer honestly will aid in revealing rooted attitudes that are influencing poor financial decisions. American economist Robert Schiller mused: “Finance is not merely about making money. It’s about achieving our deep goals and protecting the fruits of our labor. It’s about stewardship and, therefore, about achieving the good society.”

Cultivating a Plan
Benjamin Franklin warned: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Setting a definite course for finances is imperative for one’s welfare now and later. Procrastinating to plan is like driving to an unknown destination with no directions. With or without a plan, the ride of life continues. If it is apparent that the current direction is not desirable, the time to change is now – why stay on the wrong route? The answers to what one hopes to accomplish with money will aid in formulating short-term and long-term financial goals. Now, one has a clearer motivation for earning and controlling money.

Budgeting to Take Control
Budgeting allows one to see exactly how money is flowing in and out. It can be as simple as writing down income and expenditures or using an app. By keeping a sharp eye on how one’s money is moving, staying true to one’s financial goals becomes more doable and desirable.

Learning How Money Works
Financial success comes when one’s money – not just the individual — is working. Seek out reliable financial information regarding saving and investing. Discover how to master money and use it as a tool to achieve any desired goals.