Two Money Mindsets

Most of us have at least two distinct ways of managing money: the business one and the personal one.  The interesting thing in this to me is that the Money Mindsets for these two different arenas are often really, really different.Money mindset

As you know, my clients are often small business owners and recently I’ve come across a couple of people who had similar issues with the difference between their business money and the personal money.  In both cases we had been chatting about personal money things that were messy and frustrating.  Things like bounced checks and credit card debt.  You know, those nasty, often scary things that happen around money.

The conversations both became even more intriguing to me when I asked about their business money.  Any bounced checks there?  Any credit card debt?  Guess what?  The answer to both those questions from both people was “No”.

Here’s the fun part of this:  We make up that we are just stuck with the way we manage money.  We have a certain mindset around it that we’ve had forever and it would be really hard to change that.  Yep, that’s the belief.  And yet…

Here we are with not one but two people with small businesses that are run on a sound money mindset and personal lives with messy money mindsets.  Now, that’s interesting!

Here’s what I think is going on.  Our personal money mindset is being run by our five year old selves (see this blog for more on that: ) and the business money mindset was set up and is being operated by your adult self.  Thus, there are two different behaviors around money.

When I asked one of these people what was behind him about being more effective with his money in his business he said that there were three motivating factors for him in his business.  First was the reputation of his business, second was that the company be seen as reliable and third was that he took good care of his employees.  Those are truly great values and standards for any business.

When I asked what the process with his personal money was he said that he really only looks at or pays attention to his money when there is trouble.  Very different values and standards.

What you and I now know about these folks is that they can absolutely be effective with money.  It’s not a skill set issue, it’s a mindset issue.  And they are “making up” something that isn’t working about the difference between personal and business money mindsets.

What I suggested to him (and would like to see with many more people) is that he treat himself the way he treats his company:

  • That he honors and protects his reputation
  • That he is reliable
  • That he takes good care of himself

After all, his company is a reflection of him, just like the way he is handling his money is a reflection of him.  His company reflects his “grown up” money mindset and his personal life reflects a “little kid” money mindset — a little kid that is stuck with a job he’s not good at.

How does this show up for you?  Do you handle your business money differently than your personal money?  How about handling both your business and personal money from the grown-up side and in a way that supports you?


Shell Tain, The Untangler

Need a bit of help teasing the business and personal mindsets apart?  Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at


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