This article was originally published January 25, 2018.
Personal finance is something that’s easy to put on the back burner. I hear it from clients all the time:
I only have $200,000 saved for retirement and I’m already 62 years old!
I’m co-signing all of my child’s student loans, and I realized I’m nowhere near as close to paying off my existing debt as I thought I was!
Let’s face it: life gets busy. Between our professional and personal lives, we often have very little time left over to work toward big-picture goals. Inevitably, some important things end up getting neglected.
Many people think about working with a financial planner for years before they take the leap. In reality, it often takes a crisis or a large life change to shift them to a place where they’re ready to set up a consultation.
Why Do We Procrastinate?
If the above description sounds like you, don’t worry! You’re in good company. It turns out procrastination is a big part of most people’s lives. When it comes to personal finances, there are a few main reasons we put off planning:
- The task is unpleasant.
- Our finances cause us anxiety.
- We’re not sure where to start.
Let’s take a look at these procrastination-causes, and how we can work through them to get a jump on your financial planning.
Viewing Finances as Unpleasant
It’s no secret there’s a taboo that exists around money. In general, people don’t love talking about it—or even thinking about it. Oddly enough, though, this taboo primarily exists in the United States. Elsewhere in the world, discussing money is seen as anything but gauche. It’s a part of life!
To change this view of money and motivate yourself to start working on your finances, it’s smart to purposefully alter your perception. When you view money as an entity that shouldn’t be discussed, you give it power.
Instead, try viewing money as a tool to help you live the life you want—whether that’s traveling more, giving more to your favorite charity, or retiring comfortably around family. As soon as you take the power away from money, you realize it’s not unpleasant to try and create a financial plan. It’s actually kind of exciting!
Money Causes Anxiety
If you’re like most people I speak to, you know the value of financial planning. But too often it takes a personal crisis to move you toward dealing with your finances. This is often because, to put it simply, money stresses us out.
The idea that there isn’t enough money—or that we aren’t moving closer to our money-related goals—is enough to send most people into an anxiety spiral. To avoid these negative feelings, we avoid financial planning altogether.
The crazy thing is that if we were to face our fears and create a financial plan that helped us get on track, our money anxiety would dissipate significantly. But because we continue to avoid it, we continue to feel anxious, and the guilt cycle goes on and on.
If money anxiety is what’s stopping you from starting your financial planning journey, there are several things you can do to ease the stress:
- Try making a to-do list with bite-sized tasks (like calling a financial advisor for a consultation, checking your account balances, or writing down upcoming financial goals).
- Set a spending budget.
- Focus on what you’re doing right. Not everything’s bad news! Rather than always beating yourself up about financial mistakes, focus on the big and little financial wins you experience, too!
Not Knowing Where to Start
Often times, it’s a lack of confidence that prevents us from getting started with financial planning. We’re not sure where to begin, and the information that’s available online is daunting—to say the least!
Luckily, this financial hang-up is the easiest to fix. Working with a fiduciary CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ can help. As a fiduciary advisor, I have a duty to my clients to provide financial advice that’s always in their best interest. Years of practice and education make a financial planner your best ally when it comes to financial planning.
At the end of the day, you are busy. Carving out time to handle your financial planning alone can be incredibly intimidating. I’d like to help. We’ll work together to get you started on the right financial path, set meaningful goals together, and strive for success. Contact me today to set up an introductory phone call. I’m excited to hear from you!