Friday the 13th Superstitions and 13 “Funny Money” Habits

Go figure. Jesus is at the center of one of our most feared superstitions.

But, in order to get that part of the article, you have to skip past the fact that almost a billion dollars is lost every Friday the 13th because people are too afraid to conduct business as usual.

But for me, 13 had has a different meaning. 2013 is my money year. The year that I finally embraced mastering personal finance. In honor of my journey, I thought I’d share 13 bad money habits (many of which I’m recovering from!)

1. Not looking at your money daily – up until recently, I was notorious for not looking at my money on a daily basis. I’d check in once a week or when I needed to make a transaction, but I quickly realized that looking at it daily improved my relationship with it. What we see every day matters. Just look what happened when Google was worried that fat employees would impact their bottom line.

2. Setting financial goals with no clear plan – S.M.A.R.T is great goal setting framework when you are focused on results; but mastering personal finance is more about changing behaviors and impacting everyday choices. If you focus on establishing a solid foundation, the results come. Meet Joan. My favorite part of her journey is that she introduced me to “Very Next Steps”. I prefer this methodology in planning. The ‘very’ adds an urgency and a priority and the “next steps” acknowledges that it is one of many.

3. Exception management with friends  – your social circle plays a role in your wealth building. Lenders are beginning acknowledge this, even if you aren’t. Friends and family are often the perfect scapegoats for deviating from our plans. We justify things like ‘splitting the bill evenly’ even if your portion was significantly smaller or offering small loans when you are in no position to handle non-repayment. Establish your boundaries early. Start small, ask for separate checks. And certainly, don’t ‘loan’ anything if you’re not in a position to ‘give’ it.

4. Avoiding money discussions with friends – a money discussion with two teachers sparked my passion for education reform (and subsequently, homeschooling) and non-traditional learning. I was shocked by how little they’re valued in the eyes of their profession. According to DailyWorth, “talking about money with friends who work in other industries gives you a sense of what people of equal smarts and hustle feel they’re worth.” The disparity is incredible. And if you’re a woman, talking to your male friends is often the first clue to determine whether you’re being discriminated against.

5. Not negotiating salary, fees or wages – we should take a hint from our international brothers and sisters approach to economics: anything that has a $ in front of it is up for negotiation. At the end of the day, negotiation is about getting people to believe you’re worth it. Here is a great article if you want to learn the secret to getting people to believe in you.

6. Inserting emotions into money conversations – there are lots of ways embarrassment and shame manifest themselves into money conversations, but it’s usually through disclaimers. When your financial philosophy is shaped by emotions, it causes you have an illogical response to other people’s money. Seth Godin concludes that “if money is an emotional issue for you, you’ve just put your finger on a big part of the problem. No one who is good at building houses has an emotional problem with hammers.”