An excellent indicator of what your set points are and how they are working in your financial life is your personal cash flow. “Cash flow” is a term used in business to describe how money comes in and goes out over time. When a business is in positive cash flow, it has increasingly more money in its accounts once the expenses are paid. Negative cash flow means that what’s left over is decreasing over time.
This concept also applies to our personal finances. If we’re in positive cash flow over time, we’re building wealth. If we’re in negative cash flow, we’re heading for trouble.
Okay, you say, that’s very interesting. But what does it have to do with my money set point?
It has everything to do with your set point. Your cash flow is like a canary in a coal mine. It chirps happily along until you get to the upper limit. And then something happens to kill the canary. Sudden, unforeseen expenses show up out of nowhere and you have to start spending more money than you did before.
Or you start “needing” bigger and better things and experiences. You figure you “deserve” it because now you have more money kicking around. You feel flush so you spend more because “Hey, we have it! Might as well enjoy it!”
Well, that may be. But it also may be that you’ve hit your upper limit and your subconscious wants to “protect” you from going past it. Soon you’ll be in negative cash flow, and then you’ll be…well…right back where you started before more money came in.
Today take a look at your cash flow. Is it negative? Or is it positive? In general, when more money starts coming in, what happens to it?