People often assume that money and finances will always be associated with stress, confusion, and worry. Or that more money will automatically lead to a feeling of financial freedom. However, it is possible to have a healthy relationship with money, regardless of your income! There are a number of “toxic” mentalities that can lead to an unhealthy relationship with money. Here are some of the most common and why they are negatively affecting your life.
You’re an Emotional Spender
If a tough day at work or a fight with your significant other often ends up with you reaching for your credit cards, you are an emotional spender. This can be a dangerous mentality because what may start out as harmless pick-me-ups can eventually lead to mountains of debt. This, in turn, will only add to the amount of stress in your life. If you’ve noticed this habit in yourself, try to look for other ways to de-stress and don’t rely on spending to create a false sense of happiness.
You’re a Stressed-Out Spender
If even the smallest purchases stress you out and lead to feelings of guilt and anxiety, this means you essentially fear your money and spending it. A big reason why this could be is because you simply don’t feel like you have enough money to go around. Regardless of what your income is, if spending leads to stress, having a budget in place could help you avoid these feelings. A budget can help you see what’s coming in and what’s going out, and ultimately help you better manage your cash flow so that you can spend without feeling like you’re being reckless or that you’ll run out of money.
Photo Courtesy of The Huffington Post
You’re an Avoider
If your bills often end up in your kitchen drawer or you’re dodging calls from debt collectors, this means you may be an avoider. Denial and avoidance are common coping mechanisms, but only make the problem worse. While avoiding confronting your finances may make you feel better in the short term, this mentality leads to an ever-increasing toxic relationship with your money. A hallmark of financial responsibility to taking action to acknowledge your financial struggles and take steps to get back on track. This may be as simple as catching up on some overdue bills or it may mean speaking with a debt attorney.
You’re Waiting to Make More Money
Something that comes as a surprise to a lot of people? Making more money won’t solve your financial issues. In fact, it can often exacerbate them.
If you don’t practice healthy financial habits when your income is more limited, you are only more prone to reckless financial management when there’s more to spend. So don’t wait for your next raise or career move to start being more financially responsible.
Make efforts to achieve financial wellness now – such as budgeting, saving, investing, etc. That way, once you are in a position where you are making more money, you’ll already have developed good financial habits and be in a better position to put your higher income to good use.
You’re Constantly Comparing Yourself to Others
Trying to keep up with others – what they make and what they spend it on – can be emotionally exhausting. The truth is, there will always be people who have more money than you and who can afford things you can’t – and that’s ok! It’s important to come to this realization and be accepting of it. As long as you make efforts to responsibly manage the money that you do have and create goals for yourself, you’ll still come out on top. As they say, the grass is always greener!
Your relationship with money is often overlooked, but it’s one of the most important relationships in your life. It’s a relationship that should be nurtured and problems within it should be acknowledged. Many people are guilty of having one or more of these mentalities that create a toxic relationship with money. Once you acknowledge them and make efforts to improve your relationship with money, you’ll feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders!
In many ways I am a shining example of the American Dream. I was born in Hungary during the Communist era, and my family fled to Israel before coming to the U.S. in pursuit of freedom and safety. When we arrived, I was just a young, shy girl who couldn't speak English. After my childhood in Hungary, New York City was a marvel; I couldn't believe that such a lively, rich place existed. Even a simple thing like going to the market and seeing all the bright, colorful produce and having so many choices was new to me. I'll never take that for granted. I think it's where my love affair with color truly began.
One thing I had was a strong work ethic. I worked hard in school, to learn English, and at jobs including my first job at Dairy Queen -- which I loved! Ice cream is easily my favorite food. From there, I moved into the garment district where my brother-in-law's family had a business. During this time, I was able to see how a business was run and began to hone in on my eye for aesthetics and willingness to work hard at any task I was given.
Eventually, my brother-in-law bought a dental supply company in Los Angeles and asked me to join him. LA, a place with 365-days of sunshine. How could I say no? The company started as Odontorium Products Inc. During the acrylic movement of the 1980s, we realized that nail technicians were buying our product, and that the same components used for dentures were used for artificial nails. We saw a potential opening in the market, and we seized it. OPI began dropping off the "rubber band special" at every salon on Ventura Blvd. in Los Angeles. A jar of powder, liquid and primer – rubber-banded together – became the OPI Traditional Acrylic System and was a huge hit, giving OPI its start in the professional nail industry. It was 1981 when OPI first opened its doors. I couldn't have predicted our success, but I knew that hard work and faith in myself would be key in transforming a new business into a company with global reach.
When we started OPI, what we were doing was something new. Before OPI came on the scene, the generic, utilitarian nail polish names already on the market – like Red No. 4, Pink No. 2 – were completely forgettable. We rebranded the category with catchy names that we knew women could relate to and would remember. The industry was stale and boring, so we made it more fun and sexy. We started creating color collections. I carefully developed 30 groundbreaking colors for the debut collection -- many of which are still beloved bestsellers today, including Malaga Wine, Alpine Snow and Kyoto Pearl.
There is no other nail color brand in the world that touches the totality of industries the way OPI does.
With deep roots in Tinseltown, we eventually started collaborating with Hollywood. Our decision to collaborate with the entertainment industry also propelled OPI forward in another way, ultimately leading us to finding a way to connect with women beyond the world of beauty, relating our products to the beverages they drink, the cars they drive, the movies they watch, the clothes they wear – even the shade they use to paint their living room walls! There is no other nail color brand in the world that touches the totality of industries the way OPI does. It also propelled my growth as a businessperson forward. I found myself sitting in meetings with executives from some of the top companies in the world. I didn't have a fancy presentation. I didn't have a Harvard business degree. I realized that what I had was passion. I had a passion for what we were doing, and I had my own unique story that no one else could replicate.
Discipline, hard work, and passion gave me the confidence to grow from that shy immigrant girl to become the person that I am today
Bit by bit, I grew up with the business. Discipline, hard work, and passion gave me the confidence to grow from that shy immigrant girl to become the person that I am today -- an author, public speaker, and co-founder of OPI, the world's #1 professional nail brand.
I learned quickly that one can be an expert at many things, but not everything. Running a business is very hard work. Luckily, I had someone I could collaborate with who brought something new to the table and complemented my talents, my brother-in-law George Schaeffer. My business "superpower," or the ability to make decisions quickly and confidently, kept me ahead of trends and competition.
Another key to my success in building this brand and in growing in business was being authentic. Authenticity is so important to brands and maybe even more so now in the time of social media when you can speak directly to your consumers. I realized even then that I could only be me. I was a woman who knew what I wanted. I looked at my mother and daughter and wanted to create products that would excite and empower them.
There's often an expectation placed on women in charge that they need to be cutthroat to be competitive, but that's not true. Rather than focusing on my gender or any implied limitations I might bring to the job as a female and a mother, I always focused instead on my vision. I deliberately fostered an environment at OPI filled with warmth. After all, at the end of the day, your organization is only as good as its people. I've always found that being nice, being humble, and listening to others has served me well. Instead of pushing others down to get to the top, inspire them and bring them along on the journey.
You can read more about my personal and professional journey in my new memoir out now, I'm Not Really a Waitress: How One Woman Took Over the Beauty Industry One Color at a Time.