“I am totally overwhelmed by money and finances.” Does this sound like you? I hear this comment from prospective clients a couple times a week. Whether you have these feelings because there’s not enough money, you aren’t sure how to manage it, or you don’t have the proper knowledge to invest it or work with an advisor, the stress can leave you unable to enjoy the money you have. The truth is, it is never about the money. It is always about how we think about the money. Before we can shift our thinking and relationship with money, it is important to have a few things in place.
Figure Out What You Want
In the absence of knowing what we do want, we focus on what we don’t want. When we focus on the aspects of money and finances that are creating the overwhelm, we get more of them. It is crucial to have goals. Short term, mid-term and long term goals will create the framework for your spending, savings, giving, and investing. When your mind wanders to what you don’t want, goals give you a positive place to redirect your thoughts.
Automate Payments, Savings, and Giving
Some payments, like phone bills, are recurring, so rather than deal with manually paying them each month, set them up on auto debit. This saves time and the stress of dealing with them.
Set up an automatic savings plan, contributing a certain amount of your paycheck each month, even if it is a small amount. This tends to nurture that part of us that needs security. It is empowering to see the amount grow when the monthly statement comes in. Set up an automatic charitable giving plan. Giving and receiving are two sides of the same coin. The Law of Circulation states that, in order to be able to receive, we must give. It is not about the amount, but rather the continuity.
It has been said that, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Quicken or Mint are great tools to help manage your money. Not only will they keep you in the know about where money is coming from and going to, they allow you to reconcile in minutes and find discrepancies before they turn into problems.
Set Aside Calendar Time
Schedule a regular time to manage your finances. For most people, setting aside bookkeeping time once a week allows them to stay on top of things and pay bills on time. When money or financial concerns pop up, press the internal “pause button:” Acknowledge the concern and inform that little voice inside your head that the concern will be dealt with at the scheduled time. Refocus on the task at hand. If it is truly urgent, don’t minimize or catastrophize it; take responsibility and deal with it.
Ask, “What?” Not “How?”
We tend to ask questions like, “How am I going to make it until the next paycheck?” When you do that, the only ideas that come to you will be answers to that question. You will be stressed until the next paycheck and you will somehow scrape by until then. A better question would be, “What resources do I have to create additional income and put money into savings this month?” You might be surprised by what ideas and opportunities reveal themselves to you.
Does putting these tools in place seem overwhelming? Check out this guide for help implementing these strategies!
Chances are if you are overwhelmed about finances, you are overwhelmed in other areas of life as well. I find that to be the case with most of my clients who are feeling stressed about finances and financial decisions. If this is true for you too, click here to learn more on how to overcome overwhelm. You can also set up a personal one-to-one Strategy Session with me here.
Tracy Williams is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.