You can stop money stress today. The best way to do so is to think about having an “adult relationship” with money.
You know what it means to be an adult. Think about your spouse, children and career. Even though you may not have the perfect relationship, at least you know what an adult relationship looks like in these arenas. But do you know what an adult relationship looks like when it comes to money?
Do you argue about money? Do you keep track of your budget? Do you lose sleep over financial concerns? How much money do you need? How often do you worry about money?
Did you know that 30% of us worry about money MOST of the time we’re awake. That’s 90 million Americans walking around like zombies – consumed by financial woe.
When it comes to the sandbox of life, we just don’t play nice with money. I think it’s time for a time-out. Why is money such a problem for us? For one thing, we are hard-wired to worry about money.
What are the most basic elements that money represents? Food and shelter. When we lose money, some little voice inside (from the caveman days) tries to convince us that our very physical survival is at stake. Losing money is therefore intolerable. It’s scary as hell. You might be thinking about making the better investments, but the voice inside tells you it’s a question of life and death.
And let’s not forget that we live in a materialistic society. We buy into the game of keeping up with the Joneses. We’re convinced that we’re losers if we don’t have more – or at least as much – as the next money zombie.
It doesn’t matter so much what we have – as long as have more of it. If not, we worry that our children will ridicule us, our spouse will dump us and our careers will turn to mush. Since you woke up this morning, have you spent time worrying about money? If you worry about your income, is it a real threat or are you making more out of it than you should?
If you’re like most people I know, you fall into one of two camps.
The first group is made up of people who let financial fear overcome their lives. Fear controls how they spend (overspending or financial anorexia), budget and/or invest. They don’t understand sustainable withdraw rates, so they sit at home afraid to spend. And they feel guilty if they enjoy anything that has a price tag attached to it.
The second group lives under a rock. They are in financial denial. They don’t understand how money works, and they don’t want to. Which group do you fit into?
Sometimes people fit into both camps. Do you think either of these two approaches are adult or healthy? They are, in fact, both rather dangerous.
The first group needlessly wastes their lives worrying. They deprive themselves of having a full, happy, joyous and free life – regardless of how much or little money they have.
The second group is kidding themselves. They remind me of a child whistling as he walks past the graveyard at night. These folks are often plenty worried. Deep down, they know they’re flying blind and may be flying into the side of a mountain. The fact that they refuse to look out the window doesn’t make them safe – and they know it.
My premise is that, no matter what, you don’t have to worry about money. You can stop your money stress today. How?
You must understand how investments work and how financial advisors work. You must know how much money you’ll need to retire and how to generate income from your investments.
You must know how to get everyone in your family on board with similar financial objectives. The way to do that is to have family meetings and to listen more than you speak. Get everyone’s input rather than try to shove a solution down other people’s throats.
Once you understand how the various components work and have agreement within your family, it’s time to take action. Forge a plan, execute it and hold yourself up to scrutiny to make sure you stick with it.
These ideas are very straightforward. They are simple to understand, yet difficult to implement at times.
Are you stressed about money? Why? What has helped you alleviate this problem in the past?