Could this be you? You’ve read a ton about investing, attended some classes. You understand stocks, bonds, and the value of diversification. You own a few funds in your retirement account.
Still, you continue to ignore or neglect your money, even though you know better. Why?
Blame it on traditional financial education…where the emphasis is on filling your head with facts rather than fostering your courage to change.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever been given the tools to boost Self-Efficacy, the most powerful predictor of financial well-being. (I didn’t think so.)
Self-Efficacy—a concept developed by the Stanford psychologist Albert Bandera—is a person’s belief in their ability to succeed in a given task or goal.
If you don’t believe you can invest wisely without screwing up irreparably, you likely won’t even try. Or, if you do try, you’ll stop at the first stumbling block. Even worse, you’ll unconsciously make bad choices that reaffirm your limiting belief.
Enhancing financial Self-Efficacy is the secret sauce for financial success. It’s the difference between knowing what to do and actually doing it, between being competent and feeling confident.
Yet, I doubt you’ll be shown how to shore up Self-Efficacy by most professional advisors. But thanks to Dr. Bandura’s research, here are 4 powerful techniques to do just that:
- Experience Success—Select a task that’s sufficiently challenging but definitely doable. Have that money talk with your spouse. Organize your financial documents. Balance your checkbook. As the saying goes, “confidence is a memory of success.”
- Find Role Models—Observe friends, family, even perfect strangers who are financially savvy. Watching others successfully complete financial tasks provides not only inspiration, but a template to follow.
- Get Encouragement—Hang around with people who will cheer you on because they truly believe in you. People who say “I know you can do it!” Stay away from naysayers.
- Manage Emotions—if you’re depressed, traumatized or anxious, the inner work is crucial. Read self-help books. Find a counselor Join a support group. Talk to a friend. Whatever it takes to relieve your pain, stress, worry and fear.
What can you do today to increase your Financial Self-Efficacy? Leave a comment below.