Make 2019 the year you gain more financial freedom. But how exactly do you do that? You don’t need to find a new job, go back to school, or invest in bars of gold. If you feel trapped by your bank account or anxious about your current relationship with money, it simply takes an attitude shift to really put things in perspective.

Of course, making more money to fund extracurricular activities for the kids or pay off student loans is nothing to shy away from. But if you want to feel more financially fulfilled on a daily basis, it’s time for a money mindset makeover.

Allow Yourself to Make Financial Mistakes

We’re often told that making mistakes with money should be avoided at all costs. But how else will you learn what saving methods, investment stocks, or retirement accounts work best for you? Knowing how to handle money is a skill, and just like any other talent you might possess, practice makes perfect.

If you make a poor financial decision, use it as a learning experience instead of a reason to be scared of money. Big rewards often require risk, so taking a calculated risk that fails is better than never accruing the wealth you want because you’re too afraid to pursue it. To be human is to make mistakes, so choose to transform a loss into a win by applying your newfound knowledge to future opportunities.

Know the Difference Between Good and Bad Debt

Debt can be a major source of despair for adults across all income levels. However, it’s important to understand which kind of debts are worth accruing and which are not. For example, what brings you the most benefit throughout the rest of your life: a college education or a shiny Ferrari? A higher education will open new doors for you to make more money, meaning student debt should be looked at as an investment in your future success. But a fancy sports car that buries you in debt? The value of it depreciates every day, making it a debt that won’t bring you any potential for money in the future.

Of course, the difference between good and bad debt differs depending on individual circumstance. Perhaps you don’t want to go to college and instead go straight into the workforce. Buying a car will allow you to get to work, prove your worth, and climb the corporate ladder to a higher salary. Just perhaps think about making it more affordable than a Ferrari. The bottom line? Don’t stress too much over debt you know will lead you to wealth later down the road.

Money Can Buy Happiness (But Only to a Certain Extent)

It’s common practice for people to look at money in two extremes: it cannot make you happy, or you can never have enough. What studies show is that the truth actually lies in the middle of these opposite mindsets. Happiness increases steadily up to a $75,000 salary, but often plateaus after this amount. This correlation stems from the sense of security that is provided by an annual income of $75,000. Not having to worry about groceries, rent, and daily living expenses significantly decreases financial anxiety—and all other forms of anxiety.

So what does this mean for your own money mindset? Don’t view sustainable happiness as something that will always be out of reach. You don’t need endless amounts of cash to live a wonderful, comfortable life. Pro tip: spend the money you can spare on experiences instead of stuff. Numerous studies have also shown that people who prioritize going to events are far happier than people who fill their homes with material items.  

Are you ready for a healthier outlook on your money this year? Keep these tips in mind, and you might be surprised by how an attitude shift can affect your relationship with wealth.

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