December 31, 2015
Your money challenges are very personal. You may have a large credit card balance gnawing at you, while your best friend is awake at night worrying about being able to keep working through her 60s, while your sister across the country is stressed over how to pay for the kids’ college education. Those are all very different financial worries. But they are in fact borne from the same core emotion: fear.
I can help each and every one of you with specific financial advice-from the right life insurance to how to invest your Roth IRA-but I am here to tell you that the money advice is a distant second to what I really want to help you achieve: overcoming your financial fears.
When fear is raging in your head and heart it is incredibly damaging. You can’t think straight. You can’t make sound decisions. You can’t be your very best. Fear prevents you from being more and having more.
You deserve better. Here’s how to overcome your financial fear.
1. Face it. Write down your biggest financial fear. Becoming a bag lady. Not having any money set aside for emergencies. A whopping credit card bill.
2. Create a New Truth. Now close your eyes for a moment and think about what it would feel like to conquer that fear. I want you to write down a new truth that banishes your fear. For example, if your fear is “I will never be able to pay off my huge credit card bills.” Your new truth is “I have paid off all my credit balances and now live within my means.” Or if your fear is not being able to afford to retire, your new truth could be “By saving more and spending less I am on track to retire comfortably.” Be sure to phrase everything as if you have already achieved your goal. Don’t use phrases like “I hope I can…” or, “I want to…” None of that conditional maybe yes/maybe no wishful attitude. Your new truth is to be emphatic and triumphant. “I have an eight month emergency fund.” “My family is protected no matter what happens to me.” And keep it short. One simple declarative sentence that you can easily memorize.
3. Own it. Three times a day you are to write your new truth 25 times. And three times a day you are to speak your new truth 25 times. It can be in the shower, while you’re getting ready for work, or bed, or while you’re out for a walk. (Who cares what people think!) When I was struggling to get on my path to financial freedom I used to scream my new truth while I was driving to work. Then again, I did commute alone. But you get the idea. I want your new truth to become a central part of your day. The more you focus on your new truth the more you will be ready to take the steps that will make your new truth your newest reality. Fear not!
Answer Yes or No to the follow statements.
I pay all my credit card bills in full each month.
I have an eight-month emergency savings fund separate from my checking or other bank accounts.
The car I am driving was paid for with cash, or a loan that was no more than three years, and I sure didn’t lease!
I am contributing at least 10% of my gross salary to a retirement plan at work, or I am saving at least that much in an IRA and/or regular taxable account.
I have a long-term asset allocation plan for my retirement investments, and once a year I check to see if I need to do any rebalancing to stay on target with my allocation goals.
I have term life insurance to provide protection to those who are dependent on my income.
I have a will, a trust, an advance directive (living will), and have appointed someone to be my health care proxy.
So how did you do?
If you answered yes to every item, congratulations. If you are working on improving on a few items, I say congratulations as well.
As long as you are comitted to truly creating financial security, I applaud you. If that means you are paying down your credit card balances, or are building up your emergency fun with automated payments, that’s more than fine. You are on your way!
But if you found yourself saying No to any of those questions, and you’re not working on moving to Yes, then I want you to stand in your truth. No matter how good you feel, you have some work to do before you can honestly know what you are on solid financial ground.