Recognizing a Scarcity Mindset

Many of the people I see come from impoverished backgrounds. They may have worked their way into the middle or upper social classes, yet they often continue to struggle with a scarcity mindset.

A scarcity mindset is the underlying belief that at any moment you could have nothing. Financial security does not feel very secure and you may find yourself engaging in behaviors that fit the past, not the present.

A scarcity mindset can be observable in:

  • Guilt around taking vacations or reducing working hours

  • Fights with partners about financial planning

  • Intense anxiety in response to seemingly typical financial discussions

  • Restrictive or binge eating

  • Restrictive or binge spending

There are a number of reasons you may have a scarcity mindset.

  • Learned habits around finances that are tough to get perspective on

  • Guilt for out-achieving a parent or caregiver

  • Painful memories or emotions linked to past experiences of poverty

It can be useful to identify a scarcity mindset so that you can become increasingly aware when it arises. Through understanding the related beliefs and emotions, you can become more aware of patterns and find opportunity for change.

Questions? Thoughts? Reach out to talk.