Now it’s time to find out where your motivation is going to come from.
Exercise #1: On a scale from 1-10, how stressed out are you because of money, financial uncertainty, or debt?
Exercise #2: On a scale of 1-10, how stressed out are you because of everything else in life that is unrelated to money?
In these next exercises, we are trying to figure out how normal financial stress is for you.
Exercise #3: How stressed out are your friends due to finances, spending or debt?
Exercise #4: If you have a romantic partner or significant other, how much stress are they under because of finances? Also, how many of your conflicts are about money?
Exercise #5: How much stress was your family under when you were growing up?
Exercise #6: How many of the conflicts you witnessed growing up were caused by financial uncertainty?
Exercise #7: Again, the idea here is to find out if financial stress has been “normalized” for you, and to figure out how to change that definition of “normal”. Who do you know that is financially stable? In other words, who can you find that will serve as a concrete, real role model to remind you of why the path to financial stability is worth it?
Exercise #8: If you could name at least one person in Exercise #7, how can you spend more time with these potential role models?
Exercise #9: If you could not name someone in Exercise #7, how can you meet people who are living a financially stable life? (It’s going to be very hard to change for the better if you are always surrounded by broke people. This exercise may be no fun to do at all, but somehow you’ve got to change your surroundings.)
Now we’re going to find out whether you have an attitude towards money that is shaped by shame or stonewalling.
Exercise #10: When you were growing up, did your family talk honestly about money? Feel free to elaborate. It’s especially important to note if your family just didn’t discuss money at all.
Exercise #11: If you have a significant other, do the two of you talk honestly about money?
Exercise #12: Do you and your friends talk honestly about money?
Exercise #13: If the answer to Exercises #10-12 is consistently a “no”, who can you find that will talk with you about money honestly, without shame or judgment? If you don’t know anyone at all, how can you find someone? (Now might be a good time to drop the hint that there is an email address at the bottom of every Class Exercise.)
Now it’s time to figure out how often you make spending or other financial decisions under difficult conditions.
Exercise #14: How often do you feel that you have to make financial decisions while tired, stressed, worried or hungry?
Exercise #15: How often do you go shopping while tired, stressed, worried or hungry?
Exercise #16: What can you do to make sure that when you are spending money or making financial decisions, you are not tired, worried, hungry or stressed?
Money doesn’t buy much happiness for most people, but being broke buys plenty of unhappiness. Let’s find out how much unhappiness we can remove from your life.
Exercise #17: In your own words, using your own values and your own concepts, how much would it be worth to you to have less financial stress?
Exercise #18: Make a list of all the stresses that will disappear when you succeed at getting your finances under control. Make a list of all the day-to-day mental aches and pains that will disappear.
Final Exercise and Question: Now go back to the monthly expenses that, for whatever reason, you decided you couldn’t improve on. Look at the money you spent on your lifestyle that you don’t want to give up. Look again at the list of stresses that would disappear if you were financially stable. Now ask yourself, how important is that spending, really? Feel free to elaborate.
If you’d like to talk about your answers, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org
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