#vanlife #goals #financialhealth

Wrestling with Money Vigilance: money stories

financial anxiety financial health Jan 12, 2021

According to Brad Klontz, a financial psychologist, CPA, researcher, and author, he reports that a person with money vigilance is alert, watching, and concerned about their financial health. In doing my own mindset work in the financial arena, I am a person with fairly high money vigilance. Overall, money vigilance is associated with positive financial behavior but at an extreme, like in my situation, it caused much anxiety and distress over a recent purchase. 




My husband is an avid #vanlife follower where the idea/dream is to convert a sprinter van or the like into essentially a mini RV. He has researched vans and their buildouts in hope of retiring and converting one for our family to have lots of adventures. Well, cue the pandemic and we essentially decided to prioritize our van purchase. We started actively looking for a van that was either semi-converted or not converted at all. It was an adventure to see the array of vans on the market with the idea of transforming them into something magical and functional. I was more on the side of let’s buy one that is perfectly outfitted (read: more costly) and he was on the side of less initial investment, more creative input. Well, the perfect van, which met each of our wishes in varying capacities, appeared on the second-hand market. Acting with financial prudence, we took time to go over the purchase price, the cost of registering and insurance, maintenance, etc. and it was all within reason for our financial health, status, and goals. The purchase aligned with our value set of creativity, travel, and adventure. Living debt-free, we purchased the van outright, but here is the thing..it was really, really hard letting go of that money! To be completely honest it is still causing some chest tightening. I have had to employ several different stress reduction techniques including deep breathing and grounding as we incorporate all of the new expenses into our spending plan. 


So, where does this excessive worry come from and why can’t I fully enjoy this new purchase which offers so many opportunities for us (especially after these winter months)? Part of my money story includes money representing security. It is a part of my story that I always have to contend with and essentially work towards creating balance. When I part with a large amount of it, I feel it physically, mentally, and emotionally. I feel joy when I save it and anxiety when I spend it. However, what is the joy of hoarding money? This purchase is only one step towards the many decisions we will make on our path to retirement where we will no longer be accumulating money. Even though it is hard to part with our hard-earned money, it is sometimes necessary and needed to fulfill other needs and dreams. And, with each larger purchase such as a car, college, and maybe, a beach house one day, even if anxiety-provoking at first, it will feel good in the long run. So, over the last few days, I have tempered my anxiety with gratitude and the positive emotions the van has already brought through connection (showing it to family members/friends), eating breakfast and lunch in the van which sits on the driveway to appease my young son's excitement as well as watching my son and husband take off to the driveway for the night to “try out” the sleeping quarters. There is happiness in this purchase. 




Connecting with your money story and beliefs coupled with clarifying or resolving limiting beliefs can bring you confidence or increased joy in your relationship with your money. 

Questions: email [email protected]

Mariah Hudler, MSW, MBA is a financial health consultant, coach, and speaker. She works with couples and entrepreneurs on making their money work for them. 

Disclaimer: This blog is for education only. Please consult with a qualified professional when you have any questions about your personal financial, tax, or legal situation. Information contained in this post is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace professional advice.

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