Sometimes when I’m just not centered in the right mindset about my personal finance, I start to wander off on tangents about money issues I am facing and how to handle them. I know that I worry about them even though I now have a solid base in my financial plans. I am always completely honest in my approach to what has to be done and when to do it. And then it hits me. I am not alone in my worries about money nor am I alone in the many ways that are out there to deal with the money issues that I, and in fact all of us, face every day of the year. These are common problems we all have and we need the required common sense and money “cents” to solve them.
So let’s break it down. Here’s a few of the issues that I think we all worry about and what we can do to help us get through them.
Earning More Money
Unless you are Warren Buffet or Bill Gates and have more money than anyone else in the world, you probably wish you had more money than you currently have in your bank account. In fact, they probably do as well. It’s just our nature to think that way. It doesn’t make you the Anti-Mother Teresa if you do. In fact, money can be for many uses and not just about greed and creature comforts.
Money provides comfort, yes, but it also can be used for charity and helping not only you, but your family and friends. It can help total strangers and those who are truly needy.
Earning more money can be done through your job, a side hustle, extra part-time work commitments or any number of ways that are fairly well known and written about here and lots of other places. The thing is this. Sitting around just wishing it can happen isn’t likely to make you earn more. You have to work for it. That means rolling up your sleeves, brainstorming with others, networking, making a list of your resources and following up on every detail. The determined ones who plan and execute have the best chances of success.
Every time I have ever increased my income it has come from doing something to make that happen. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth and I wasn’t give a million dollars by my parents. It doesn’t have to be a second job or a side hustle. It may mean a change of job or at the very least, a commitment to your current job to maximize your value and its rewards. Whatever it is, you can try to do something about it and reduce your worries.
Setting Your Priorities
The rock group, The Who once wrote, “I want it, I want it, I want it, but you can’t have it!” (Magic Bus…yes it’s from the ‘60’s but check it out). Seriously, you can’t have everything you want and so you must prioritize things so that you can have a lot of them as well as what you really need. If you don’t make priorities in your life, you are more likely than not to suffer financially, health wise, and spiritually. It has always been my observation that we do what is fun, what we like, and what makes us feel good (even if is temporary), rather than what needs to be done. That’s why prioritizing is so significant.
The fact is that you go through many stages in your life and priorities change as you do. As a kid, your priority may be to have a really cool bike or the best and hottest new smartphone. But as an adult, you think and worry on bigger scales for yourself and eventually for your spouse and children. People who think about their priorities from a clearer perspective other than just for themselves are more likely to get that list right and have success in achieving the goals with their money.
Continuing Your Education
Here’s an important one. You are never finished with your education. If you think you are, you are probably stalled someplace on your road to financial health, well-being, and happiness. If you were fortunate, you had your higher education paid for by your parents and/or scholarships or grants. You may have had a job while working your way through school earning your tuition. But that isn’t the end of education and it certainly will be on your finances to have you own family educated now or down the road.
If you read, learn, talk about and study throughout all parts of your life, you’ll get better at it. It can be education through your work which will make you a more valuable employee. It can be education about your finances and investments so you will do better in your retirement planning. It can be educating yourself to feel more fulfilled as a person and thus make you more valuable as a spouse or parent and as a provider. All of those can and will affect you and the rewards you obtain in many ways and eventually in earning more money.
Maintaining Your Health
Unless you one of the unfortunate people who are born with a health issue or a disability, we are all pretty much the same when it comes to thinking about our health. Typically when you are young, it is among the last things you think about. You feel immortal and you don’t know a thing about what can happen or if you may be prone to or have a family history of disease. You may not even know the dangers of some of the bad habits you may be forming.
Well I am here to tell you I was just like that and now I’m “paying” for my mistakes. Life has a way of catching up to you at some point and as much as I hate to admit it, my cavalier attitude about being healthy and eating and exercise has cost me more than just “cents” as a senior. My poor lifestyle as a 20, 30, 40, and 50 something has contributed to my type 2 diabetes and congestive heart failure which limit my quality of life and have cost me thousands of dollars in my 60’s.
I admit that it may have happened that way even if I had been conscientious about my habits and my healthcare. It may have, but it probably wouldn’t have been quite this bad and I would be enjoying my retirement at a much higher level.
So how does this relate to our topic? Simple. My health relates in every way. It limited my earning power as I had to retire early due to my health problems, it re- prioritized my life because it now consumes about 30% of my income for health and maintenance of my condition. Worst of all, my health problems could have been limited and even avoided if I was more educated about the possibilities and consequences of my bad habits from all those years ago.
The bottom line for me is that my 20/20 hindsight is certainly a real eye opener. That’s why I write this blog. By using my own experiences, I am hoping that my voice can open someone else’s eyes. It may be about money, or prioritizing or health or some other thing, but whatever helps is a good thing. After all, that’s common sense isn’t it?
Are you worried about your money and where it comes from and goes? Do you have a plan and do you prioritize your spending habits? Do you think about the big picture and where you might be 10, 20, 30 or more years from now? If not, it’s time to think about that right now.