Joanie Erickson is not your typical financial advisor. Instead of focusing exclusively on the money you make and how to manage it, Joanie addresses the stress, fear and emotional beliefs around money that hold so many of us back.
Her one-on-one approach can help those who feel stuck or overwhelmed about finances to enter a place of ease and healthy structure. According to Joanie, this is the key to unlocking much of what holds people back from pursuing their dreams. She also helps to bring more women in the crypto and investing space.
How Our Ideas About Money Hold Us Back
It started as a side project. I loved chatting about money and investing with people and so I began offering a ‘no shame, no judgment’ place for people to ask me their personal finance questions on Instagram. I knew it was a hot button topic for many, but I didn’t realize just how much until the messages started flooding in — people expressing that their financial stress is a dark secret they keep from everyone, that they panic anytime they have to look at their bank account and feel paralyzed to make any financial decisions.
The responses came from every type of person and every income bracket. It wasn’t directly tied to how much they made, the stress was coming from the concept of money in general. It was a pivotal moment for me, I realized that so many people are being held back by their financial stress and worries and I wanted to focus my work on liberating people from that anxiety.
Creating A Healthy Relationship with Your Finances
The foundation of my work is threefold: I believe that there are ways to start creating a more healthy relationship with money today, that true happiness isn’t tied to the amount of money you make, and that everyone deserves to experience more freedom and peace with their finances.
Our relationship with money is one of the most foundational aspects of our lives. It is a tool to create and live the life we want and yet it’s a topic we often neglect. Simply saying the word “money” to someone can bring up a slew of emotions.
Most of us spend endless amounts of time dissecting every relationship in our life but we won’t go near the topic money: how we experienced it as a child, how we feel about it now, our stresses and fears. It’s a topic that brings up deep shame and guilt for people, so it’s often ignored or avoided. People feel isolated with their money fears, like they’re the only ones who feel paralyzed or inadequate when it comes to money. When the truth is, it affects almost everyone.
Why Do So Few of Us Have a Healthy Relationship with Money?
So how did we get to this place? We are a society completely obsessed with money and wealth but so few of us have a real foundation for understanding it. And it’s not for lack of information. I could walk into most bookstores and find at least a dozen titles on the topic. You can type money into any social media platform and be inundated with information. So if the information isn’t the problem, what is?
In my opinion, the root of the problem and what keeps us from experiencing freedom with our finances is that we lack a healthy personal relationship with money. We haven’t developed an individual financial lens with which to look at and understand money and the role it plays in our own life. We borrow other people’s lenses or view money through society’s eyes which only confuses us more because money isn’t one size fits all. What works for one, doesn’t work for all.
Our dreams and goals are not all the same. And I would argue that misunderstanding that idea actually creates many unhappy people. The narrative is ‘work hard, save our money…and then what? Who gives us the directive on how to live a fulfilling life and how to utilize money to get there? Even asking these questions might make you feel overwhelmed. If that’s you, you’re not alone.
Money is the ultimate scapegoat. We put our failed dreams on money, blame it for our stress, our lack of flexibility, our relationship struggles, work depression and so much more. We put all of that on money because it’s the easy answer. Tell someone money is the issue and they’ll nod their head softly and change the subject.
Then, for so many of us, there comes a day: you hit the financial milestone that you promised yourself would equate to stress less, more time with loved ones, and more passion projects. You hit it, and nothing changes.
Nothing changes because money isn’t really the issue. The real issue is that you don’t have a healthy relationship with money in the first place. Regardless of the amount you have, it’s controlling you, instead of you controlling it.
7 Ways To Cultivate A Healthier Relationship With Money Now
So, where do we start? How do you create more freedom around your finances?
01 Get Over The Idea That Financial Freedom Exists At A Certain Dollar Sign. | Let go of the idea that “if I reach this goal” and “when I make x amount”, then my life will start. Begin looking at your money as a tool today.
We often put off thoughtful strategies about our financial relationship until we hit certain milestones, but the best time to start is now. Use what you have and where you are at this very moment to begin the journey.
Money doesn’t automatically equal happiness. In fact, some of the most financially stressed people I know have a lot of money.
02 Practice Mindfulness When It Comes To Your Finances. | Most of us have a very ‘out of sight, out of mind’ relationship with money. We mindlessly hand over our credit card, our bills are on auto-pay so we mostly ignore the balance, our paycheck is direct deposit and we generally feel removed from our finances.
Have you ever had that feeling of looking at your account and wondering “where did all my money go?”. That’s a common feeling and one that’s tied to how disengaged we are with our money.
People often expect me to initiate big scary changes in their life, but the first place to start is by tuning in and starting to pay attention to what you feel when you spend. Ask yourself why you’re buying something. If you feel an urgency when you’re about to spend, slow down and pay attention to what you’re feeling.
03 Spend Your Money on Things that Matter | Money is meant to be enjoyed. So much of our spending is on autopilot.
Ask yourself what you’re truly excited to spend your money on. We might be trying to keep up with our friends by upgrading our homes or feeling like we need to go on that bachelorette trip to Mexico. We’re programmed to do these things, but taking a step back and asking ourselves what we really want can be powerful.
Understanding your specific needs and wants and prioritizing them will make your life more fulfilling. Sound obvious? Really look at your money and ask yourself if you’re managing it that way. Maybe you don’t care about going on a fancy trip and instead you want to invest in that couch you’ve been eyeing. Maybe going out to boozy dinners with friends is stressing your credit card bill and you’d rather be staying home with a good book.
When you start practicing mindfulness, you’ll become more aware of what you really care about and what you like spending money on. Follow that feeling and tune out the noise of what other people are doing.
04 Begin Exploring Your Earliest Memories Of Money | Our financial selves are cultivated from a young age. Maybe you watched your parents or caregiver pay bills, stress over finances or talk in hushed voices about money in the kitchen. It’s inevitable that each of us was affected by our upbringing because money is a big part of life. We may have witnessed a parent build and lose a business, or go through a divorce or death and be left alone to try and figure things out.
Whatever those primary experiences were, it’s important that we acknowledge them. So much of how we interact with money comes from childhood. By acknowledging where we came from, we can make room for the type of relationship we want with money, rather than subconsciously recreating patterns from our childhood.
05 Practice Financial Forgiveness. | I am a big believer in this step and I think it’s something that holds more of us back than we realize. We have all made financial mistakes. Maybe we didn’t sell the house at the right time, or didn’t buy a house when we could afford to or we made a bad investment decision, were delinquent about a loan or passed up an opportunity for a better job. Whatever it is, big or small, we all have something that haunts us financially and it’s important that we let it go.
The fact is that, as hard as we try, we are going to make mistakes. Holding them over our own heads, thinking about how things could be different, doesn’t do anything except waste precious mental energy for our present life. Acknowledging the mistake, saying that we did the best we could in the moment, and letting it go is powerful. Let go of how things could have been and move forward with how things are now.
06 Know That A Healthy Relationship with Money Is Possible. | Many of us were told from a young age that we were bad with money, irresponsible, couldn’t be trusted, were reckless, or etc. We were told we shouldn’t even try to understand money, that is was complicated, over our heads, and we should let someone else handle it. Too many of us listened to those toxic messages about our finances.
I believe that everyone has the capacity to be good with money. We all have a financial aspect to our lives, even if at this moment it feels scary or out of control. Many of us have been taught to fear money, but that narrative can change. Start telling yourself that you can have a healthy relationship with money. Lean in to the sense of empowerment and excitment some of these tips may bring.
07 Re-Frame Money As A Tool. | Ultimately, my goal with this financial health work is for people to realize that true happiness isn’t always tied to how much money you make. Don’t wait to hit a certain financial milestone to start taking control of your financial life.
Viewing money as a tool to create the life you want is powerful and also comes with personal responsibility. The power is in your hands and that can be overwhelming, but liberating too. Start calling the shots and working towards goals that reflect what you want from life. I believe that once we start making small changes we can get ourselves to a place where we feel empowered over our finances and actually excited about the future. Life is meant to be lived and money can be a big distraction. Let’s work to change that starting now.
Inspired by Joanie’s take on financial wellness? So are we. Learn more about working with Joanie HERE.