Episode Transcript:

Welcome to episode three of the Meadowsweet Money podcast! I’m Mimi Cirbusova, a Certified Financial Education Instructor and shame-free money mentor. I’m here to walk alongside you as you climb the Money Mountain. Thank you for letting me be a part of your journey.

Today we’re discussing a topic that, honestly, I hadn’t given too much thought to until I was asked the question, “Are you going to tell me I just need to fix my mindsets? That’s what I hear from all these other coaches.” Ooh, friends, that’s such a good question. And, yeah, I totally get that.

Well, I’m here to tell you my honest answer. Let’s dive in.

That question came from someone that had reached out to me for a free consultation for one-on-one mentoring. I thought it was such a brilliant question, because I, too, have experienced that kind of financial content creator. Someone who says, “well, it’s your money mindset that’s the problem. If you let go of your scarcity mindset you’d be fine.” And anytime I came across that kind of content, it always felt so…icky. Just completely detached and a little holier than thou.

As you’ll remember from episode two, I talked about the second fundamental level of the money mountain, which is all about mindset and values. I will always bang the drum about the importance of working on your money mindsets as an essential part of your financial journey.

But…it is definitely not the only part of a strong and successful pathway to financial literacy and competence.

While our money mindsets can be an incredible tool to help us stick to our goals, and find ways to reduce regrettable and forgettable spending, as well as help us stay focused on the important things as we build our wealth, there’s a lot of stuff money mindsets can never, ever fix. Let’s talk about a few of them.

First up: Your money mindset will never repair the long term damage of broken systems.

No matter how much we work on healing the stories we tell ourselves about money, it will never correct the policies that trapped marginalized communities in generational poverty. Your mindset can’t fix the fact that we have a for-profit healthcare system in the United States at least, making medical debt one of the leading causes of bankruptcy for Americans. There’s so many examples of the ways broken systems mess with our lives – financially and otherwise. To be honest, researching examples for this episode was pretty taxing and I had to take a lot of breaks.

Side note –  the whole time I worked on this episode, I kept thinking about the overview effect. Which is basically a phenomenon that astronauts often experience when viewing Earth from space. They have this cognitive shift where they see with perfect clarity the beauty of our planet and how interconnected we all are to one another. Edgar Mitchell, an astronaut on Apollo 16, said of the overview effect, “From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, “Look at that, you son of a bitch.” 

Pardon my language here, but it’s part of the quote. Honestly, that is one of my favorite quotes. Anyway, back to the episode.

Your money mindset cannot change the circumstances of your life.

I know many of my listeners face challenges with executive functioning, or chronic health conditions, or grew up in poverty. Your mindset cannot change those facts. I will say, your mindsets can support a new, kinder, gentler view on things. Personally, I look back at the financial choices I made in my 20s, and there was a time I was really mad at myself for all the years I was severely underpaid. And it would have been easy to let that anger eat at me. But instead, I focused on creating a new narrative. One that could forgive my 20-something year old self for putting the mission of the nonprofit I worked for ahead of my own needs and my own career trajectory. Working on my money mindset also helped me be brave to negotiate a significant pay raise at my next employer (which happened to be my last employer). 

That leads me to say…Your money mindset cannot change the rules around money.

Having strong, healthy, and aligned money mindsets won’t change the fact that a better credit score means you will likely qualify for a better interest rate. Your mindset won’t change the fact that you still have to pay taxes, or need some kind of government issued identification to open a bank account. There are certain rules around money in our society. And sure, some seem really archaic and arbitrary. Don’t get me started on how I feel about our credit scores and reports being managed by massive corporations. 

Whether we like it or not, those that understand the rules of money are able to move more nimbly, make better financial decisions, and take advantage of opportunities that others might overlook. 

So, what can we do? Does working on money mindsets still matter?

In a word, yes. Your money mindset still matters. I believe deep in my soul that you deserve to feel calm about money. You deserve to feel capable and competent. I know people that make just above the poverty line, and people that make multiple six figures a year. And it’s shocking to learn that their mindsets can be eerily similar.

There’s two quick things that I think can make a difference in strengthening and improving our money mindsets. First, I always tell my people, start with forgiveness. Forgive yourself for all the times you felt like you should have known better. For all the times you messed up with money – no matter how big or small. Forgive yourself for the times fear took control and you made snap decisions that you later regret.

The second thing that I think is important, mostly because all of those things I talked about earlier…the broken systems, the hard circumstances, the really messed up rules our society has around money…none of that is with your control. 

There’s an idea in psychology that looks at what is worth our energy worrying about. It’s called the circles of control, influence, and concern. At the center is the circle of control. These are things you actually have power to directly change. Things like your thoughts, words, and behaviors. It also includes your attitudes and mindsets. Now this is not to say that it’s easy to change things, but you do have the capacity because it is within your control. For instance, I could totally spend my life believing that I’m bad with money and that’s just how it is. Or I could choose instead to believe that I am capable of learning how money works, and celebrate every brave baby step forward.

Just outside the circle of control is the circle of influence. These are things we don’t have direct control over, but can affect (either positively or negatively). For instance, I could not control whether or not my boss put enough money in the budget to give me a raise, but I can influence their decision by bringing up the subject and stating clearly the objective I needed to hit to deserve one.

The last circle is the circle of concern. This is where we don’t have any control, but may be impacted anyway. I mean, I don’t have the ability to change our credit scoring systems to make them more equitable and transparent – I am after, all, just one person. But learning how credit scores and credit reports work, being willing to look at my report on a regular basis, freeze my credit so no one can fraudulently open an account in my name, and setting up systems to ensure I don’t spend more than I can pay back each month…all of that, that’s within my circle of control. 

It’s really the circle of control and the circles of influence that is worth investing your time and energy into. That’s why your mindset matters. Because, honestly, the more we all focus on what we can do for ourselves and the people we can positively influence, the easier it is for all of us to collectively speak out against the stuff that isn’t working but we can’t change on our own.

Anyway, if you found that helpful, let me know. It means so much to me if you would leave a five-star review, and comment on any ah-ha’s you had during this episode. It really helps others find this podcast, and I would be deeply grateful.

Here we are in one of my favorite segments of the podcast: In Case You Missed It. Because nobody likes to learn about cool stuff after it has happened. When I was a kid, my mom would get so upset seeing our local news reporters covering free family-friendly community events that took place earlier that day. She’d say, “how does that help anybody to learn about it after the fact?!” 

Well, I certainly don’t want you to miss out on all the cool things that are happening here at Meadowsweet Money. So if you want to get all the details and be the first to know, make sure you are signed up for my monthly email newsletter. Once a month, usually on or close to the date of the new moon, I share fun stories, ideas, and thoughts about how to manage your money better. Plus, I have at the bottom of those monthly emails a section I call the Happiness Roundup, where I share links to songs or tv shows I am obsessing over, recipes for mocktails, and anything else that is bringing me joy. And no, there are no affiliate links, because you know how I feel about those. 

And of course I also share very quick bullet notes of what’s coming up that you won’t want to miss. So if you want to get on that email list, click on that link in the show notes, or you can head on over to my website, MeadowsweetMoney.com, and sign up on my homepage. So there’s that.

Up next, let’s take a moment to get a little mindful about our money.

Here we are my friend, the last segment of today’s podcast. How are you doing? Hanging in there? Maybe you’re listening to this while you’re driving. Or maybe you’re cooking dinner. I do a lot of my podcast listening while cooking and doing dishes. Wherever you are right now, or whatever you’re doing, I invite you to take a breath with me. 

With everything happening in the world, I found myself needing to find some soothing activities that didn’t take a lot of effort and kept my eyeballs off the headlines. So I got back into playing a game called Animal Crossing earlier this year. My brother and I played it when we were kids when it first came out on Nintendo. If you’re not familiar, your little character has all these tasks to make visiting animals happy. And one of the ways you do that is by crafting furniture or clothing, or little amenities for them to enjoy. But the thing is, you only get three little crafting spaces, and some of the items they want can take like 24 hours to make. 

And this was reminding me about our own financial goals in the real world. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by all the goals you have of saving, and investing, and paying off debt, and on and on and on. And you can do it – but not all your goals, all at the same time. This is where you gotta prioritize.

Prioritizing your goals may not sound like fun, and it may seem a little daunting. I get that. A long time ago, I dreamt about being my own boss and being an entrepreneur full time. It was such a big dream, and most of the time, I didn’t actually believe I could do it. But achieving some of my other goals first, particularly becoming debt free, gave me the courage and the freedom to finally see a pathway forward toward entrepreneurship that made sense to me. Sometimes we don’t see that our goals can have a domino effect on each other, even when they don’t feel related.

You only have so much capacity and space to work on your goals, and that includes your money goals. Right now, you might be focused solely on saving for an emergency, even though you dream of someday owning a home. In this season of your life, you might need to pay off your credit card, even though you want so badly to travel the world. Focusing on one or two goals at a time doesn’t mean you’ll never get around to the other goals you have. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The more you actively chip away at the goal in front of you, instead of dreaming about a whole bunch of goals at the same time, the faster you’ll knock out each goal, one after the other.

So here’s your permission slip: it’s okay to set down any goal that can’t be the priority right now. It’s okay to stop dwelling on it, ruminating about it, and letting your mind chatter on. It’s okay, even if just for today, to say, “you know what, I don’t need to worry about this because I have more important things to focus on.

If you’d like, I’d love to talk more about some of the processes I use to help me prioritize my money goals in a future episode. So be sure to share that with me on Instagram or a review of this episode.

But I’ll leave you with this final thought: the time will pass, whether you like it or not. And you can achieve anything you want, but not all things all at once. Are you going to decide to take a chance on yourself, and start building toward your dreams today?

And with that, I’m Mimi Cirbusova with Meadowsweet Money. Thank you so much for listening.

The Meadowsweet Money Podcast, a production of Meadowsweet Money LLC. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please leave a 5-star review on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. This helps others find us and is greatly appreciated. And be sure to follow us so you don’t miss a single episode.

For more shame-free personal finance content, please visit meadowsweetmoney.com.

Thanks for listening. You’re doing great, and I’m proud of you.