I have not met a person who wanted to struggle with their finances. We may end up being poor financial managers, but that was not the goal. It is usually the enemies of good financial management that trip us up.
There are tensions to good financial management as with anything in life where we seek success. Most people will struggle with one or two more than the others. We can overcome these struggles if we can identify, acknowledge, and make the necessary changes to improve our finances.
Today for my 5 Thursday Thoughts, I want to share five enemies of good money management.
Every single advertisement intends to make you discontent. There are more efforts to make you discontented than ever. We see ads in our email, social media, television, road signage, uniforms - almost everywhere we look. Their goal is to make us less satisfied with what we have, so we will buy whatever product or idea they are selling.
Contentment is a state of satisfaction in our current circumstances. Contentment is not the same as complacency. Contentment finds satisfaction in the current circumstance while continuing to grow and move forward. Budgeting is a great practice for contentment in finances. Budgeting is contentment practice. Learning to live within the margin of what we earn and spend helps bring contentment to our lives.
We are born selfish. It is part of our natural method of preservation. We learn early to look out for ourselves. But that selfishness can cause us problems if we do not mitigate it. Selfishness makes us consumers who care about nothing else than “how does this make me feel at this moment?” When selfishness is the driving force of our lives, we will struggle to keep our finances in order.
The struggle for some people is they have no idea what they are doing or how to fix the thing that is causing them problems. Public schools do not normally teach personal financial management, and colleges and universities rarely address it. That means most people enter their earning years with limited knowledge of handling the money they are earning. You do not need a college degree to be able to manage finances proficiently. There is plenty of information available to the public at limited or no cost. YouTube is a valuable source of learning for any subject. Finances are one of the most written about topics in the world. Finding the basic knowledge you need to improve your financial management is easy. The difficult part will be putting into practice what you learn.
I saw this quote recently: “Buying on credit is merely stripping your future to enhance your present.” Buying things we cannot afford at present is usually a sign of impatience. We want something now and put little value on how it will impact our future. Consumer debt is one of the greatest indicators of impatience. Impatience can also trap us when we are trying to address our financial struggles. We rarely get ourselves in a predicament overnight, and we will probably not resolve our issues overnight either. Don’t allow impatience to sabotage your finances.
It is often said that the greatest gap in the world is the gap between knowing and doing. Many people know they need to make changes but just keep putting off starting the process. We put off making a budget or paying down debt. We delay having difficult conversations or getting the knowledge we need. Procrastination is a financial planning killer. It can cause us to miss deadlines, due dates and cause us to get further in a hole. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you know to do today.
These money management killers are not in any particular order. But you should probably take time to place them in the order of your own needs. Know where you struggle and then take steps to correct it. Your finances will improve, and your stress will go down.