If you’re reading this blog, you’re most likely a member of the “I Got It All Figured Out” Club. But hey, this is a judgment-free zone. Stick around, I might be able to provide a few nuggets of insights or even switch your club membership for something shinier.
I write these letters from the financial planning magical land, where unnecessary budgets roam free and pointless money experts try to get you to save for retirement. In this blog, I’ll explore why people on the parallel multiverse tend to avoid financial planning and how mental health ties into our financial well-being. I’ll also give you some tips – just in case you’re feeling frisky today – to make this whole money management thing a tad less intimidating.
What is Financial Planning?
Financial planning is the development of a long-term strategy – as well as short and medium-term milestones – to manage your finances wisely. Basically, it is about understanding the whole picture of how, when, and why you spend money so you can implement strategies to avoid risks, be prepared for unexpected events and build wealth so you can achieve future goals, among other things.
Of course, you don’t need to do any of that because you’ve got your bases covered (or will for sure deal with it later). Who needs to discuss finances when we can be anticipating an Amazon package like Pavlov’s dogs or binging the latest Netflix series, right?
I’ll still tell you a bit about why you may think you don’t need to worry about financial planning. Bear with me.
Reason #1: Avoidance.
You’re Not into Talking About Money and Your Relationship with It
You’re at a party, enjoying your beer and a riveting conversation about climate change. Everyone’s got an opinion. It’s getting heated so suddenly, someone switches the topic to personal finance. Boom. The room falls silent, crickets chirp in the distance, and everyone becomes an expert in gazing longingly at their shoes. Ah, the avoidance of talking about money! You would rather go help take out the trash than discuss how you manage your financial situation.
Well, that’s precisely what’s wrong. For some people, talking about money can be uncomfortable, as if financial jargon and spreadsheets form a secret society that only the chosen few are privy to. It’s easier to just open their bank app and if there’s a number there, if there’s still some money, then definitely go shopping. It’s all good. Credit cards? Pfft, blow them up, we will only live once, right? Then something like this happens:
Reason #2: Confrontation
This is You Saying: “Hello Darkness, My Old Friend. I Won’t Confront My Bad Financial Habits.”
You know the inexplicable urge to splurge on shoes, designer sunglasses and Yeti tumblers or the tendency to convince yourself that buying that fancy espresso machine and the incredibly huge TV are an investment? Yeah, those are clear and well-defined bad financial habits. Confronting those habits feels as daunting as facing an army of the animals you fear the most – and they are armed with your credit card bills.
I understand, it’s difficult to admit that you have not saved a penny for retirement, even when you’re half through your work life already. It’s tough to realize that your credit card debt got out of your hands or that your student loan debt hasn’t budged an inch and creepily stares at you while you sleep. But when will you say “okay, this is an issue in my life”?
Reason #3: Boundaries
The Elusive Art of Saying “Nothing Will Hold Me Back” to Yourself
Setting boundaries—especially when it comes to money – is a concept that seems to elude us like the perfect punchline to a joke. We love to indulge ourselves, why would we set boundaries and curb our desires? “This shopaholic can’t be imprisoned”, you may say. It feels like someone asked you to swap your condo for a monastery and your designer clothes for a potato sack because you need to save that money.
I know, I know…. You’re perfectly disciplined, and you have the willpower and knowledge to manage your finances “just fine” without setting boundaries.
Still, here’s one thing I would like you to think about: Not setting financial boundaries drags us into a scarce approach to life, which is a space governed by stress, anxiety, limitations, excessive competition and even fear. Setting financial boundaries is about finding a balance between satisfying your wants and securing your future. It is about choosing an abundance approach where you’re focused on opportunities, trust, investment with a return and ultimately financial freedom.
Reason #4: Accountability
You’re oh, so good at blaming anyone or anything. Just not yourself.
We’ve all been there. You had a budget, a plan, and then… whoops! Suddenly, you’re swiping your credit card like a magician with a never-ending deck of tricks. When it comes to financial planning, accountability can be as elusive as that sock that mysteriously vanished in the dryer.
Many people will say “nah, that’s not me. I don’t need that Taylor guy. I don’t need a financial advisor, I’m totally accountable and responsible with my money.” Sure, you are.
The thing is that accountability is not about perfection, it’s about progress. Many people are addicted to consumption – they’ll always go buy the new coolest thing and they must get it because it’s the right thing to do. They NEED it. Well, that can turn destructive quickly. How will you know when to hit the panic button?
Now if you had an accountability buddy to keep you in check without judging you for accidentally buying another Hog (I mean, a Harley is only like 20k after all), you would rest in knowing you’ll be able to control and protect yourself. Just saying…
The Intricate Dance Between Wallets and Well-being
At this point you probably know where I’m going with this. Yes, your financial health is affected by a range of emotions and knowledge. It’s like a cha-cha dance where your emotions sway your financial decisions, and your financial situation impacts your emotional well-being.
Creating awareness about how, where, and why you spend your money can be a game-changer. When it comes to financial planning, it’s important to explore and understand what is right with us and for us. I don’t care how “well” my neighbor is doing financially, and I don’t want to get to that same point myself, because relativity doesn’t matter when it comes to finances.
I had to learn and apply this myself both as a Certified Financial Planner® and as the head of my household. In fact, not too long ago I took the time to reevaluate my financial situation and check how aware I was about my family’s spending habits. Up to that point I had been keeping a simple record where I would catalog everything we were spending money on and use that as a reference to create and maintain a budget. When I decided to, instead, use the process and tools I use with my clients, I discovered that my family was blindly spending thousands of dollars every month. Talk about a leaky bucket!
But that “problem” created an opportunity for me. It was like a “found” thousands of dollars every month. It opened the door to many opportunities like adding to our savings and to the investments that are building our future wealth. By noticing and understanding that my family and I were able to make our money work for us, as opposed to just blindly spending it and not realizing or understanding where that money went.
To me it’s fantastic to be able to stop overspending on random and unnecessary things and instead afford what my family needs while also building a financially secure future for them. But hey, don’t mind me if you think wealth is indeed relative. No hard feelings.
Financial Planning Doesn’t Have to Be a Daunting Dragon to Slay
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your financial fortress won’t be either. I invite you to take small steps and surround yourself with support.
Create awareness about how, where, and why you spend your money. Start by tracking your expenses, identifying patterns, and understanding the emotions tied to your spending habits. Are you stress-shopping? Are you using retail therapy to fill an emotional void? Recognizing these triggers can help you find healthier coping mechanisms and develop a more balanced relationship with money.
It’s okay if you’re not ready to work with a financial advisor just yet. Start small, open up with trusted friends or family members about your financial concerns, and break the silence together. After all, knowledge is power, and in this case, knowledge might just save you from eating canned beans in your golden years.
If you do feel like swapping your “Money Is Not a Big Deal” Club membership for the real deal, feel free to contact me. I’ll be happy to tell you more about the perks you can get on this side of the land.
P.s. Yes, I’m on the financial planning magical land but no, unicorns are not a viable investment option.
Advisory services are offered through CS Planning, Corp., an SEC registered investment adviser.
This Content is for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice. Nothing contained on our Site constitutes a solicitation, recommendation, endorsement, or offer by Four Points Wealth Management or any third-party service provider to buy or sell any securities or other financial instruments in this or in any other jurisdiction in which such solicitation or offer would be unlawful under the securities laws of such jurisdiction.
All Content on this site is information of a general nature and does not address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Nothing in the Site constitutes professional and/or financial advice, nor does any information on the Site constitute a comprehensive or complete statement of the matters discussed or the law relating thereto. You alone assume the sole responsibility of evaluating the merits and risks associated with the use of any information or other Content on the Site before making any decisions based on such information or other Content. In exchange for using the Site, you agree not to hold Four Points Wealth Management, its affiliates, or any third-party service provider liable for any possible claim for damages arising from any decision you make based on information or other Content made available to you through the Site.