I work with many people every week—either through individual sessions or in my seminars—that have such a hard time following their money plan. Why? Because our money feelings get in the way. One way to overcome this is by combining your emotional and practical sides of money. You don’t have to do all six of these tasks—just pick one!
Don’t do it alone though, sign up for my classes and get the benefit of a group.
- Create safe money environment. When you are feeling vulnerable about your dwindling savings account, or your growing credit card bill, or your unopened investment statements, your inclination is not to share your money thoughts because you are embarrassed or worried about feeling judged. To move forward with your money goals, you first need to accept where you are today about your money, feel safe to share it with someone, and know that it is acceptable to be where you are. Only then you can move forward to actually take these action steps.
- Homework. Most of us don’t know where to begin with our money. Having a bite-sized homework assignment to do for the next week allows us to feel like we are doing something and have a plan to follow. For example, you fill out the worksheet of what your weekly cash spending should be, then you have an amount to spend that week that lets you live within your income. Or you want to increase your savings, so your homework is to setup an automatic savings account for money to be saved into an online savings bank every month automatically. Once that account is set up, you don’t need to think about that one afterwards!
- Exercises. Many of us know what to do with our money but we are held back and don’t know why. Taking the time to work through money exercises can help us overcome our money obstacles. For example, a great exercise is evaluating your money type: hoarder, spender, worrier, or avoider. Describing the different kinds and seeing part of yourself in one of them can really shed light into why you are dealing with your money in a certain way.
- Accountability. By taking a money class or teaming up with a money buddy, you are more likely to see your money goals actually happen. Many people who attend my regular seminars follow through on their action steps the night before class or right before they are meeting with someone, such as increasing the contribution percentage to their 401k. That means it is getting done!
- Learn new topics. Unless you learned personal finance in college, through a course, or are an avid reader of personal finance books, chances are you don’t know how to evaluate a mutual fund, investment terms, how to raise your FICO credit score, and much more. Learning the ins and outs of specific personal finance topics in a group setting is especially helpful because the group dynamic allows you to feel better about your state of knowledge.
- Bring money into life in a positive way. Who wants to be around a complainer or whiner? Not me! When you find that you are complaining about your money, you probably don’t even notice that you are doing so. Talking about your money in a positive way takes practice, and is a habit we need to learn. Start by finding something about your money life that you are good at, such as paying your bills on time, or opening all statements that come in the mail, or doing online banking, or reading this article and signing up for a class! Commit to saying it a few times a week to a friend. The next thing you know, you aren’t whining anymore but instead sharing your personal finance expertise.