By Charlotte Wood
Well the summer holidays are at an end. Everything has been expensive – food, toys, holidays, childcare, bills, and entertainment. With limited time to work whilst juggling childcare, fun and summer activities I have let my finances slide. I have credit card debt; my budget is disorganised, and I generally don’t feel on top of my relationship with my money.
It is time to get my finances back on track and it has made me think about my overall money mindset. I have decided I need to make some time to get a better one. Just because I am a qualified Financial Planner and adviser does not mean I don’t have bad money habits or that I haven’t made mistakes.
We are all influenced by the way we grew up around money. If we grew up witnessing our parents having a fraught and stressful relationship with money; it can create a fear of taking calculated risks to grow your assets reduce your ability to create a comfortable future. Having successful parents who work extremely hard and have achieved success in their careers can lead to you putting a lot if pressure on yourself to attain a similar level of wealth. Maybe you might try to replicate the lifestyle you grew up with before your resources can support it. Feeling inadequate if you don’t feel you are living up to those you see buying, travelling, and appearing to have it all on social media. Potentially building up debt and living beyond your means.
How do you get the right balance, how do you stop making the same mistakes, trapping yourself in a financial situation that doesn’t serve you and creates ongoing stress. Here are some steps I am going to take:
1. Making a list of what is routine, important, and aspirational about my finances. Some examples of routine would be utility bills, basic food, and cleaning products. In important I will be putting in things like debt reduction, investing, house repairs and paying into a pension. Then I when I consider aspiration I will really try and dig down into what I want in life, do I want a large home or is a comfortable efficient smaller home allowing me to spend more money on travelling for example more important. Do I want to develop my career and make a certain level of income or is time and work life balance more important to me?
2. Considering my spending patterns & triggers. So, I am going to look at when I spend more than I want to. Some of mine are likely to be online shopping after a couple of glasses of vino, when the kids are nagging me senseless, and I give in. I sometimes shop because I think it will cheer me up if I am having a mental health wobble. When I am tired and run down takeaway or a meal out seems like the only way to get the family fed.
3. Identifying mistakes I have made, one I have been guilty of in the past is cancelling important things in favour of immediate gratification convincing myself, influenced by marketing or friends or colleagues into thinking I need something now more than I need overall financial stability and peace of mind. Or running up credit card debt and not paying it all off at the end of the month.
Ok so when I have all this information what I am going to do with it? How to we change out money mindset?
First, if we have identified what our goals and aspirations really are rather than what we think other people/marketing/social media want us to be we can start breaking down our goals into bite sized chunks. Give ourselves some positive wins to start changing our mental pathways. Assessing our thought patterns negative/positive and write out statements to consider if they are true or not. Your thoughts are your own opinions and can be influenced by hormones, state of mind, mental & Physical help, and those around us, prove to yourself that you can change your mindset. Plan for your triggers and put in place alternatives and forgive yourself for mistakes we all make them! Plan to resolve any of the outstanding issues, put your problem solving, strategic head on and start moving forward. Also don’t be afraid to ask for help you will be surprised at how many people are in the same boat.
Who’s going to join me in getting everything moving in the right direction this Autumn?