We may all be guilty of putting our finances on the backburner from time to time, especially when life gets hurried and there don’t seem to be enough hours in the day to, well… breathe! Between career responsibilities, family duties, and trying to remember to drink enough water (does coffee count as water?), your finances may deserve a little more love.
Here are some ways to rekindle the romance and fall in love with your finances again.
Schedule a Date with Your Statements
Go ahead and cozy up next to the fire with your favorite glass of red and your financial statements. Actually, your cell phone or laptop will probably be preferable since you likely handle much of your financial affairs online.
Now, all of this may seem a little unnecessary. The wine, the fire, etc. But the reality is that many of us avoid getting intimate with our finances because of the stress we believe will go along with it. Yet it’s important to recognize that this is perceived stress. The act of going through your expenditures may not actually be as stressful as you’re imagining. And this is why it’s important to set the stage for an enjoyable experience.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be a red wine discussion; it could be waking up before the rest of the family and checking on things while your mind is still fresh and clear. You choose a time and ritual that is enjoyable to you. Then, schedule time on your calendar each week or each month to repeat it.
What you do in this time will depend on what your financial goals are. If you are a notorious over-spender, you may need to take a look at your bank statements each week to see if you’re staying within your target spending goals. (And even if you don’t yet have strict spending goals, you likely know how much you can safely spend each week/month without incurring additional debt.) If you are working to build up the habit of investing, it may be worthwhile for you to check in on your investments at least once a quarter.
Keeping an eye on your money can help to:
- Minimize Risk: Checking your bank account regularly can help you spot potentially fraudulent activity.
- Eliminate Recurring Expenses: Do you still read Cosmopolitan? If not, cancel it.
- Avoid Banking Fees: Overdraft fees, monthly maintenance fees, minimum balance fees, paper statement fees, and balance inquiry fees can sometimes be eliminated. Are you paying fees you shouldn’t be?
- Course Correct: You spent how much at the dog spa last month? You could be spending more than you think. Being aware of how you spend could free up cash flow. Does your spending align with your values? Or are you wasting resources on things that aren’t that important to you?
- Stay Motivated: Seeing our money working for us can be extremely reassuring and garner a sense of pride in our ability to save and build wealth for our future. This sense of accomplishment encourages us to keep going with these positive financial habits.
If you have a good process for monitoring your behavior and your goals, you will find that being a good steward of your money becomes a habit, and you will meet your financial goals more easily.
Include Your Spouse
Money causes more rifts in relationships than there are stars in the sky. That’s because money isn’t just money, and conversations about money aren’t just conversations about money. Money and our attitudes toward it are part of who we are, so opening up about it can make us feel very vulnerable and open to judgement.
Our feelings and attitudes toward money are deep-rooted in our own histories and experiences. From childhood, we have internalized money’s meaning and developed our own money behaviors as a result. Because you and your partner come from different backgrounds and have different experiences, you won’t always see eye to eye in matters of the heart—or wallet.
This is why open and honest communication about your goals, milestones, and planned action is so important. Avoiding those conversations only makes things worse
As you open up to one another about big picture topics like your ideal retirement scenario or drafting an estate plan, be gentle with one another. And if necessary, enlist the help of a third party to facilitate life’s tougher questions.
Fan the Flames with Financial Education
Take a few minutes each week to read or listen to an article or podcast that expands your financial knowledge. Finances don’t have to be boring. There are a number of great writers and podcast hosts who make financial topics quite entertaining. Besides, the more you know, the better you’ll feel about your money and the easier your decisions can become.
Find a Financial Advisor Who Can Bring Your Romance to Life
Good relationships of all kinds—even the ones you have with your money—take work. But since this is a long-term relationship (one you’ll be in until the day you die), the rewards are more than worth it.
Having trouble finding the spark? If you’re having a hard time getting excited about your finances, it may be because you are having a difficult time envisioning how your finances can help create greater opportunities in your life.
What is most important to you? Your business? Your health? Your children? How does your money help you invest in those priorities?
For many individuals, these stories come to life when they find the right financial advisor who can help them identify what is most important to them and align their financial lives with those goals. Once the financial objectives are paired with the favored outcome, falling in love with the process comes easy.
Schedule a call with one of our trusted advisors to learn about your possibilities today.