Publication date : 13/09/2019
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‘We both need some softness’ he had said to me appealing for lenience on the evening that I reproached him for some boyf-bad-behaviour or another. On the day I had happened to choose to buy one plant over another as it appeared precisely that: ‘softer’. On the nights before we returned to the busy hum of soft September.
For, it is not only in one dimmer-switch lowered does this golden month soften, but also in its sweet demeanor, its forgiving perspective. It’s as if the year winks at us encouraging: ‘go on, have another go.’ Our first ‘go’, otherwise known as new year’s resolutions, for most of us, lie in sweetie-wrapper-ruins roughly by around 3pm on 04 January in the moment we habitually reach for another biscuit. In September though, we’re reinstated. We draw the summer light inwards. For September is about new starts. September is about hope. We’re given a second chance to start over.
For this reason, each year, I anticipate September delighted. My deeply imprinted new school year focus reveals its nerdy self in the purchasing of fresh notebooks, beautifully organised stationary and tantalizingly sharpened pencils. I feel ruck-sacked, squeaky clean and ready to go, bright-eyed and bolstered. Ready to revisit, to re-learn, to try again.
And then I gulp and shudder slightly. For, in no other area of my life have I felt so consistently ‘failed’ ‘to be good’ at something as with managing money. No other part of my life so weak-willed, so easily tempted, so hope-less. I wonder even if I deserve this opportunity for another chance. Perhaps some of us don’t…after all the attempts before. What will make this time different? And then I think of Samuel Beckett’s words: ‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’ And I think then of a little sign I saw which read: ‘children need love, especially when they least deserve it.’ Do we deserve another chance, a loving regard, even as adults? I like to think we do.
Here are 8 steps to press restart to your financial well-being:
Step ONE: Perspective.
Get an overview of where you are financially now. What do you need to pay off/pay for? What are your current spending habits like? Observe and gather information. As much as you can, do this without self-judgment. Keep this loving regard, this soft light, you will have spent that money on those things at that time for a reason. You were doing what you felt you had to do then. Breathe.
Step TWO: Consider your objectives.
Let’s be clear that money is pretty dull but it’s what you can do with it that’s interesting. Consider what financial well-being would be for you, what that would look like. Having an aim in sight can support healthier habits to form and former habits (that may have been self-destructive) to fade.
Step THREE: Think-Say-Do.
Every day we make literally hundreds of choices. Let the choices you make be in alignment with your aims for financial well-being. Basically put, align your thoughts, words and actions, your heart, head and hands. Try to practice mindfulness with your spending habits, notice when and in what situations you find it more difficult and those where you find it easier and be curious.
Step FOUR: Deal with your financial past.
If you are in debt, first of all- it’s ok, many of us are. Prioritise which debts need to be paid off first, prioritising any with a higher-interest rate. Pay off debts in a managed, structured way. Establish monthly transfers from your checking account of an amount you’re able to afford. Try to use any tax returns, bonuses or left-over money to pay off debts. You’ll start to feel really good as you begin to see this amount go down. You’ll feel of growing sense of control.
Step FIVE: (Wrap yourself in) a security blanket.
Have a couple of months’ salary/income, (three months is the generally advised), for a rainy day. Easier said than done, I know. A good option is change out the monthly transfer you used for paying off debt into a savings account/investment account (do this once your debts are paid off). Knowing you have this money set aside is the baseline to a certain peace of mind. Good nights of sleep. A calm.
Step SIX: Expect there to be up and downs.
Moments of doubt, disappointment, even panic are to be expected in any change process. Don’t be too hard on yourself when these moments arrive. Some months will be better than others, some days too. Hold on to that the general tendency is positive. In these moments creatively consider how to be kind to yourself in a different way, different to those ways that involve spending money.
Step SEVEN: Dream.
If you’re now at a stage that the foundations are in place: debts managed, some safety blanket money put aside, now is the time to dream. This is your life. How would you like to live it? What does your heart beat for? Do you want to travel? Buy an apartment/house? This sets your motivation to invest. Birdee makes it easier to decide: click here to discover all our portfolios!
Step EIGHT: Make plans.
Dreams mix well with a splash of pragmatism … now you should work it out. Work out how much you can invest over however much time. See Birdee’s simulation.
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