Three Financial New Year’s Resolutions
In many ways, our bond with money is similar to a personal relationship. Both can provide a sense of security. Both can bring us feelings of validation. And yes, just like a human relationship, both can cause us to feel frustration or disappointment.
Just as a relationship between two people has to be tended to and nurtured, so too does our relationship to wealth and money. We have to step back from time to time and make sure the relationship is healthy and that we’re getting what we need from it.
Setting New Year’s resolutions is one way to do that.
Ok, hold on. I don’t believe in resolutions either! But these are short, and they can help, so take an extra minute to finish reading this.
Resolutions can help us to remain aware of what we want from our wealth, and they can remind us that we are in control of our money, not the other way around.
With that in mind …
Resolution 1: Appreciate your wealth. Take a minute and write down five things you are grateful for. Your list might include your money. It might include your life partner, your house, your health. Money is important, but true wealth is larger than money. It consists of everything good in your life, large or small. If you regularly list – or at least think about – the things you’re grateful for this year, it’s likely you’ll be a happier person.
Resolution 2: Ignore the stock market. Having money to invest is a blessing, but obsession over the day-to-day gyrations of the stock market can make it a curse. Many of us understand that successful investing is a long-term project; it requires patience. We know that jumping in and out of the markets is, over the long run, counterproductive. Yet we keep peeking at the market results, or at our mutual fund portfolios. It can easily become an obsession. So the next time you’re about to succumb, ask yourself why. If you can’t think of a truly positive reason, do something else instead. Challenge yourself to ignore the market for longer than usual. Your nervous system will thank you.
Resolution 1: Create or review a financial plan. It can be as simple as a broad outline scratched on a yellow pad. Something is better than nothing. The act of creating a plan—or updating one based on changes in your situation or goals—helps to clarify exactly what it is that you want. And committing a clear goal to paper can be a powerful springboard to success. A good plan can help you reach your goals by providing a set of practical steps and benchmarks with which to measure your progress. Too many of us ride on the winds of fortune, uncertain where we’re headed. A financial plan puts you in charge. It allows you to work toward a future that you have consciously chosen.