Everyone worries about money at some point. Financial stress can keep people up at night, strain relationships, and just wreak overall havoc on your daily life.
In fact, according to a recent study, 23% of Americans (36% of Millennials!!) suffer from PTSD type symptoms related to financial anxiety. Not good. We’d like to help you decrease that stress load. You’ve got enough going on in your life to be constantly worrying about where you stand financially. Refocus your brainpower on what you can control, and the rest should start falling into place.
Here’s your list of to-do’s to keep you moving in the right direction:
Save for retirement: Even if it seems like retirement is light-years from now, you’d be shocked at how quickly time can get away from you. It can take mucho money to retirement comfortably, and it takes many years to save it all. It’s never too early to start socking away funds into a retirement savings account. As soon as you have a steady job, sign up for that company retirement plan. If one’s not available to you, open an IRA on your own. Plan to contribute every month, even if it’s just a small amount. Set up an automated deposit after each paycheck, and don’t look back.
Follow your financial plan: If you’re under the impression that a financial plan just isn’t your thing, think again. There are lots of myths out there about the whole process. In fact, we’ve blogged about them before! Financial planning is always a good idea. It serves as your roadmap for the future. Once you have a plan in place, make sure to stick to it. If you’d like us to create your financial plan, or take a look at one you have already, we’d be happy to do so.
Think long term: Sometimes it can be sooooooo hard to see the forest for all the financial trees. Start changing your mindset about your money by looking longer into the future. Set some goals for yourself to work toward, put them into your financial plan, and see what it’s going to take to get you there. You’ll be a lot more disciplined about your day to day spending if you have some goals set out in advance.
Lower your debt load: First off, don’t let how much debt you have overwhelm you. It may take many, many, many years to pay off student loans, credit cards, car loans, etc. Baby steps are where it’s at. Make it a priority to steadily whittle away at your debt over time, and work toward living within your means moving forward. The last thing you want is to finally pay off your debt, and then let those account balances slowly rack up again. How mentally deflating is that?
Check in on your risk tolerance: Your tolerance for risk will change over time, as your life changes. It’s important to assess it regularly, and make sure your investments are in line with where you are. Here’s our post on the ins and outs of risk tolerance, and why it all matters. If you’d like to check in on where your comfort level currently stands, take this 5 minute questionnaire to find out.
Keep around some emergency funds: Nothing can get your blood pressure up faster than an emergency in your life that requires money you don’t have. Whether it’s an unexpected home repair, a broken-down car, a medical problem that crops up…you name it. We’ve all been there. Rather than have some event totally derail your finances for months to come, try getting ahead with an emergency fund. Put money aside on a regular basis until you feel confident that you’ve saved enough to handle life’s curve balls.
So the next time you’re starting to feel like your finances are causing you to go into a frenzy, check in on your progress toward these to-do’s, take a breather, and know you’re moving in the right direction. Give it some time, and before you know it you’ll feel way better about where you’re headed. As always, if you have any specific questions you’d like to run by us, don’t hesitate to drop us a line!