Affirmations are a great way to take advantage of the fruits of the field of Neuroscience. The theory of Neuroplasticity suggests that our brains can change, grow, or reorganize based on how we ‘train’ it. With affirmations, we train our brain to believe something by physically saying it routinely.
According to the research Catherine Moore was able to dig up at PositivePsychology.com, using affirmations can help broaden a person’s perspective.
In essence, the behaviors and choices we make throughout the day are often made with a narrow interpretation of who we are. Affirmations broaden that perspective so we can make different or new choices… perhaps choices we thought were unavailable or unattainable in the past.
What Do Affirmations Have to do with Personal Finance?
Understanding how using affirmations may impact your financial narrative is best explained by looking at personal finance through new lenses. The field of personal finance is concerned with molding and predicting the effects of an individual or family’s money through the understanding of financial instruments and human behavior.
Why do personal finance gurus have such sage advice such as ‘Pay yourself first’ and suggest mathematically inefficient ways to pay off your debts such as the ‘Snowball Method’? Because these experts understand that the secret sauce to being financially successfully is preventing your subconscious from sabotaging your own self.
By finding and saying a phrase that helps broaden your perspective, you will be short circuiting your brain into believing it. You will create a pathway in your head that will become a default way of understanding whatever it is you are saying.
The inner dialogue in our minds is always chattering… by saying affirmations you will be subtly changing the conversation. Eventually, your affirmations wills override what you thought was true.
How to Use an Affirmation
Using an affirmation is very simple. Find a simple statement that describes a positive outcome to some scenario you are either expecting to find yourself in now or in the future and say it regularly. You can say it every morning or even tie it to a specific event like getting into your car. Here is a quick scenario:
Scenario: Your budget only allows for a certain amount to be spent on fast food and you are looking to find a way to avoid the fast-food lane on your way to work. The temptation seems to always win, whether you have packed your lunch or not. The expenses have started to add up and has led you to miss your budget targets several times.
Example Affirmation: “I am strong. Not eating fast means retiring earlier.”
Use: For such a scenario, saying this affirmation each time you get into your car for work would be a perfect time. Write it down and place the statement on your dashboard. Make it unavoidable that you will see this statement. Say it out loud… every time you get in the car for work.
Expected Result: Over time, certainly not immediately, the idea that you ‘have a problem’ with going out to fast food when you don’t intend to at the beginning of the day will change. One day you will drive right past the fast-food drive through… then again and again.
Affirmations are not Magic
Keep in mind that affirmations are not magic… but they do expand your perspective.
Saying words will not redefine reality, but they will help you expand the world as you see it.
With personal finance, we are often concerned with modifying how we spend money so we can achieve a desired outcome. If we can find affirmations that marry up with our expected end state, then we can expand our perspective to include our new intended reality… our behaviors and thoughts will start to follow suit.
In other words, if you don’t believe that you can save $1,000,000 for retirement then you are right… you can’t.
Affirmations help override the sabotage that goes on in our heads… it frees us from false facts and previous poor judgements about our own capabilities that have gotten lodged in place.
Positive Affirmation Examples
Below is a listing of affirmations for personal finance that are split up by category.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. You should feel empowered to make your own affirmation if you don’t find any that suit you. Using an affirmation is like finding a puzzle piece that has been missing. It fits in a place where you don’t have clear solutions… only you know where the gaps are.
Affirmations for Saving
If you are looking to cut down on expense while eating out, then trying to get only water as a beverage maybe a goal you are looking to achieve. Say this affirmation each time you enter a restaurant.
“My body desires water. I do not need soda or alcohol at dinner.”
Other affirmations that relate to savings goals may look like this:
“Each dollar I save now is $16 in 29 years.” (Based off the rule of 72)
“By saving now, my children won’t have to worry about me.”
“I am strong, I make smart money choices.”
“I am financially savvy, I can know what it takes to be successful.”
Affirmations for Investing
If you have been finding yourself anxious about the swings of the stock market, then try this affirmation.
“I am a long-term investor; I will look at my account balances only yearly.”
Here are a few other affirmations that could help with your investing efforts.
“The more I invest, the more I will earn.”
“I have placed my money in a broad index fund, the market will go up and down but that is fine.”
Affirmations for Retirement
If you find yourself nervous about your retirement plan that know deep down is just fine, then these affirmations may help.
“I will retire. I am saving now so I can retire when its time.”
“I am doing the hard work… I will be secure in retirement.”
I find using affirmations to help ensure I reach my financial goals a must. Usually, I find myself identifying blind spots in my planning during my monthly budget meeting that I have with my wife. From there I try to craft up 1 or 2 statements that I can say at specific times to help broaden my perspective.
I always try to tie my affirmations to a certain event or time of the day… such as while I am brushing my teeth or right before I go to the gym. Any time I get into my car is also another time that I stop and try to think back to any affirmations I may have tied to things that are happening outside of my home.
Using affirmations can be powerful and I hope you found this article useful to that end. If you know of any affirmations or ways of using neuroplasticity that may help towards personal finance goals, put them in the comments!
I think targeting our own behaviors and thoughts is a great way to help get us each to where we want to go financially.
As a formally trained Data Scientist I find excitement in writing about Personal Finance and how to view it through a lens filtered by data. I am excited about helping others build financial moats while at the same time helping to make the world a more livable and friendly place.