Find your financial freedom
For many of us, money can be a real trigger topic. Whether we feel bad about even the smallest spending sprees or completely out of control, our feelings around money are often loaded. So much of our financial literacy comes down to our relationship with money at a very early age. Yet having financial freedom is key to empowerment and having ownership of our lives — so how do we make this work?

Natasha Janssens is a Certified Money Coach who is passionate about empowering women to achieve financial independence. That's why she started her organisation Women with Cents. Through a combination of free resources, online courses, webinars, personal coaching and public events, Natasha has helped thousands of women across Australia facing various financial challenges, from a financially controlling partner to the risk of bankruptcy, through to cutting back spending or pinpointing specific wealth-building strategies.
Understand your relationship with money
Financial freedom often starts with improving your own relationship with money. Ultimately, you can't eat money, it can't house you — it's a facilitator. "Scientists have found that the way we deal with money is more emotional than logical," says Natasha. While financial literacy can help (and there are lots of resources out there), it's not the main thing impacting our decisions. According to Natasha, "90% of what we do comes from our subconscious mind."

This translates to Natasha's experience working with people on very high incomes who still struggle to make good decisions when it comes to money.

"They were making very bad decisions, or had their money tied up in investments they didn't really understand," she said.

That's when she started thinking about what she could do to make understanding money easier for everyone — and that starts with understanding where your emotional ties to money come from. When are you most likely to make decisions about money? What emotions drive your spending choices. Financial literacy is important, but to be really smart about spending we need to start by understanding ourselves.
Start to rewire your brain and money habits
"Money is key to getting food and getting shelter," says Natasha. This means that it's deeply tied to our fear responses — which is possibly why it's such a trigger topic for so many people.

When it comes to human evolution, money is a very new concept. So many of the survival skills we have embedded in our DNA just don't translate when it comes to our instinctive decisions about money. Natasha uses the example of following the pack, "this used to be a great survival instinct. But when it comes to something like, say, investing, following the pack is the last thing you should do."

When we can recognise that our decisions are driven by instinct, we can start to recognise and rewrite these habits.
Think consciously and deliberately about money
"Money is something a lot of us do on autopilot, but actually that can be a big mistake," says Natasha. "I can impact your relationships. It permeates everything in your life. Arguments about money can be the number one indicator of a relationship breakdown."

When a relationship is on autopilot, we can often neglect to give it the care it needs to thrive. Similarly with money, we need to take time to actively think about it and engage with it if we want to make smarter decisions to ensure financial freedom.

"Money is at the heart of everything we do, but we're never taught to think consciously about it."
By taking time to sit down and consciously think about money outside of emotionally-driven moments, you can start to heal your relationship with money and make better economic decisions.