How to Manage Your Money Worry

“Money… can be seen as the place where our internal selves engage the external world.” – George Kinder, Seven Stages of Money Maturity

A frequently asked question in the times we live in, especially as we are constantly challenged to do more, is “How can I worry less right now?” Meditation has become a bit of a buzzword in business and creative cultures over the past decade, and it makes sense – the 2010s were a stressful collection of years. Then we moved into a new decade, and 2020 proved to be a culmination of transitional experiences that, depending on how you experienced them, could be seen as great or terrible. Even as I researched “Money Meditations,” the emphasis among the most popular responses usually centered on how to make or attract more money. Rarely was there any attention paid to factors that are equally, if not more important: contentment, calm, collectiveness, and maintenance. We’ll look at each and see how they impact our emotions towards money.

  • Contentment: No matter where you are on your journey with financial wellness, being able to feel at peace with your decisions and outcomes is key. Whether you’re a newbie just beginning to discover productive skills like budgeting and saving, or as Jamila Souffrant defines within the stages of the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) Movement, a Commander who’s fully financially independent, you will still hopefully have one thing in common: tranquility. We may often get overly tied to destination anxiety: I’ll be happy once I’ve saved $75,000 USD or Once I’ve purchased that Jaguar, I’ll know I’ve made it. Yet, joy comes from within and needs to be refilled like a gas tank. If you chase a number, event, or life stage as a meter for happiness, you may find yourself perpetually unfulfilled, or worse, unhappy once you attain it because all you can think about is the next level or goal. Make sure you continue to be uplifted, and uplift others wherever you are with your money goals. If you can enjoy where you are, you’re more likely to experience gratitude wherever you end up.
  • Calm: This goes back to contentment. What are the physical ways you maintain or refill your joy tank? On finance journeys, it can be all too easy to compare ourselves to others who are where we’d like to be or have already conquered things we have yet to overcome. How are you prioritizing fulfillment in your physical environment or through your work? The financial journey is a lifelong one, so you’ll need to be able to practice joy while also opting out of toxic positivity. If you find yourself needing to access savings sooner than you expected due to an emergency or even simply survival, rather than beat down on yourself, choose to pat yourself on the back for your forethought, and put what you can back into the account as soon as it’s prudent to do so. Remember, your money habits are meant to support you, not control you. So if you find yourself getting tense whenever you see a bill is due, rather than succumb to that tension, remember that you can usually predict what’s due and when. Take some of the stress and surprises out of your money routines. That way, you have emotional resources when an actual unexpected financial event arises. And it will, but you’ll be okay.
  • Collectiveness: This refers to joint activities. You don’t have to do this alone. Team up with like-minded friends or ask someone you trust who’s good with money to mentor you as you change your habits. Sharing milestones with folx who genuinely want to see you succeed will help encourage you on days when you feel like you’re not making any progress, or when you’re still looking at a higher debt-to-income ratio than you’d like. Whether it’s a weekly accountability group, a coach such as our very own Kenny Davis, or a regular update from your financial teammates such as an advisor or manager, knowing you’re not alone goes a long way.
  • Maintenance: What are some ways to make this process more straightforward? We’ve often heard that making sure your savings and retirement contributions are automatically deducted from your paycheck goes a long way towards ensuring that the funds reach their intended destination. Another method is finding a fun way to manage your funds and keep yourself on track when it gets boring – and it will get boring. Do you listen to financial podcasts? Do you have a savings system that works for you if you’re a freelancer? Don’t work against what already feels right. Instead, double down on what’s already working for you. Finding methods that help you reach your goals rather than trying to force yourself to do it in a way that doesn’t feel right won’t get you where you want to be, and that will merely contribute to stress.

We want to enjoy achieving our money goals. Making sure you look out for yourself emotionally and mentally will help more than social media tells us. While it’s exciting to hope for windfalls or unanticipated raises – and they are awesome when we get them! – there’s plenty to do that will help you stay motivated over the long haul.

How do you keep your head in the game when it comes to maximizing your financial strategies? Let us know in the comments below.

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