5 Ways to Improve Your Relationship with Money

5 Ways to Improve Your Relationship with Money

Our relationship with money generally begins at a very young age. That connection is very simplistic. We want stuff, and we use the cash to get things. We get the money that gets us the stuff from our parents, grandparents or any family member that happens to be handy at the moment with a few bucks in hand. We are not particular.

Fast forward, and we grow up. Hopefully, along the way, our parents will teach us some fundamental money management skills because if, as adults, we don't have some control over our finances, they will control us. The result is mounting debt and sleepless nights worrying about how we will pay it down.

Money Management is an Acquired Skill

If I've just described your situation, don't take it as a personal judgment. You are not alone. Americans have a problem with handling their finances. Need proof?  Look at the 2008-2009 real estate market crash where 3.9 million Americans faced foreclosure. We collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loans and another $1.4 trillion in credit card debt. To make matters worse, 60 percent of Americans cannot cover a $1000 emergency expense, and nearly 45 percent of baby boomers (aged 55-73) have no retirement savings.

Maybe you are a rock star at handling your money, and you feel a bit smug. Kudos to you, and I say that with respect and sincerity. Adulting is hard work. But if you feel like inserting your head in a gallon of chocolate ice cream right now, please read on. The development of a fiscally responsible lifestyle is an acquired skill. Let's get started right now with five tips that will put you on the path to a healthy relationship with your money. 

Establish a Consistent Income Flow

If you do not have a steady job and cobble together an income with short-term gigs, part-time assignments, and occasional handouts from your mum, look for a full-time position with a steady income and preferably benefits. It's impossible to learn how to manage money if you don't have it coming into your account on a regular, dependable basis. I told you. Adulting is hard but worth it.

Prepare a Budget

Yes, I went there. Budgeting is not a dirty word, and it is not a revolutionary concept. If you don't know where your money goes each month, it is unrealistic to expect to achieve any control. List your expenses, and deduct them from your current income. Simple right? Whatever remains, you can allocate to savings and discretionary spending.

Save Money Every Month

Once you have emergencies covered, continue to save regularly. Set up a financial goal like saving to buy a home, a new kitchen, or a vacation. The point is, make saving a regular part of your economic life and learn to plan for large purchases and life events. Dare to be creative in finding new ways to save money and make a game of it.

Start a Retirement Account

It is never too early to start saving for retirement. If your employer offers a 401K savings plan with a match, be sure you save up to that amount to take advantage of that extra cash your company puts into your retirement account. Your contribution comes right off the top before taxes, which is an added benefit. If you have no company plan or are self-employed, you can set up an IRA.

Some relationships are complicated. The one between you and your money doesn't have to be. People who have a healthy relationship with money are generally more successful and happier with themselves. Worrying about money requires a great deal of emotional energy and creates stress. Who needs that in their life!  

 

Post a Comment