Introduction – I began writing How To Stop Worrying And Start Caring About Money as just one post. However, I had to many great ideas. So I decided to break it into chunks and release one by one. This is the third part in the series. Read Part 1. Read Part 2.
Lesson # 4 – Act!
“The secret of being miserable is to have the leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not.” George Bernard Shaw
You might find yourself in an even worse situation after completing a monthly review. However, you must understand that worrying will not help.
Now is the time you must take action. The million-dollar question is where to even begin?
Your net worth and budget should provide information on your weaknesses. After reviewing, analyze your finances with these benchmarks. You might see you’re in greater debt then you thought or you haven’t saved enough for retirement.
What if on paper you’re in good financial shape, but still worry about money? There is a root cause for you worry; it’s your job to identify.
The first step to eliminate worry from your finances is very important. However, personal finance isn’t one size fits all. You need to learn more about your individual situation.
I recommend that the first action you take to eliminate worry is starting to learn. Below are amazing resources that can help eliminate worry and stress from your finances.
If debt is the cause of your worries, there is no better resource than Dave Ramsey. Get a copy of his book, The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness. The book outlines a simple outline to becoming debt free.
If you are worrying about money because you have not saved for retirement, check out The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing
If after implementing a financial review you cannot identify the cause of your worry, you’re in luck. There are two terrific books that can help. First, read The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason. Second, read Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez.
If you’re worrying about money together with your spouse, read Smart Couples Finish Rich: 9 Steps to Creating a Rich Future for You and Your Partner by David Bach.
If you’re worrying about money because you fear losing your job, learn how to network. If you were to lose your job, you could quickly recover with a strong network. Start by reading the classic How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Second, read Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi.
Reading a blog cannot only be informative but very inspirational. The best part about a blog is the community. By interacting through comments and forums, you realize the number of people who are in the same exact situation as you.
Below are a few of my favorite personal finance blogs that are not only informative but have a great community.
- GenYwealth – (This is a very shameless plug)
You can’t be taking action and worrying at the same time. The above resources will provide you all the information you will ever need to succeed.
Lesson # 5 – Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
Almost everyone has had a roommate they just couldn’t get a long with. Originally, the relationship was great. You spent all your free time doing fun stuff together. You went to the movies, out to bars, the grocery store; all together. Two was greater than one.
A few months later and the relationship changes. Your amazing roommate forgets to do his dishes, always leaves the lights on, and worse of all, eats your leftovers that you planned on eating for dinner.
All this would have been fine a few months ago, but things have changed. The sloppiness and laziness add up. You can’t stand to come home to your apartment.
Chances are this situation is familiar to you or someone close. The small details started adding up. At first, you just shrugged it off thinking no one was perfect. However, once you started complaining the relationship was over. You began to search out for stuff to complain about. Stuff that didn’t even impact you, you were complaining about.
Unfortunately, this worrying about small details is transferred to many parts of your life, especially money. Have you ever spent more time thinking about how much money was being wasted every time your date wanted a $5 cup of coffee than how to increase your income?
Or you’re worried the cable company will turn off your cable because you can’t pay the bill. Is your life really going to end because you’re not able to watch Sunday night HBO?
Whenever you begin to worry about money is a great time to remind yourself what is really important. Remind yourself that food, shelter, and clothing are all you really need to survive.
Almost 20% of people on earth don’t have access to clean water. Yet, you’re worrying about not having cable.
If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t pay your bills, remind yourself, all you need is food, shelter, and clothing. Therefore, it’s OK if the cable gets turned off and goes unpaid. It’s more important to pay the utilities so you can have access to clean water and heat.
Next time you start to worry about money, use it to your benefit. Realign yourself with what truly matters. Should that $5 cup of coffee really ruin your date? Are the interest charges on your cable bill going to cause bankruptcy?
Don’t overestimate the small stuff in life. Life is too short to be worrying about something so small.
Lesson # 6 – Set A Stop-Loss
If you have been to Vegas, you have should know how to place a stop-loss order. Before you go, you tell your friends that $500 is all you’re risking. If you were to lose $500, you’re done gambling. You can’t lose any more.
It’s a pretty simple concept taken from those who buy and sell stocks. In the market, a stop loss order can protect your gain or minimize your loss. For example, you bought a stock at $30 and now the price is $50. To protect your gains, you place a stop-loss order at $40. If the stock were to decline to $40, a market order would automatically be placed..
There are many ways in which you can take this concept beyond the stock market. One idea is to place a stop-loss order on the amount of time spent worrying. However, when time expires you must get immediately to work.
For example, you’re sitting at your computer screen right now thinking about how you can’t afford to pay your bills next month and that I just don’t understand how bad things are. Place a stop-loss order on your time at one hour. In this one hour you can do vent to a spouse, friend, journal as much as you want. Let everything go. Complain about your job, your bills, your spouse, your kids, this website, anything…
Once that hour is over commit yourself to taking action. You now have plenty of ideas to get you started. The action can be as simple as going to the library or opening up a spreadsheet to track your net worth.
Another situation where you could place a stop-loss order is when you fear running out of money. For example, you’re thinking about taking the plunge to self-employment. Your biggest fear is that you will run out of money.
To make the move to self-employment, you saved $15,000, which should last you 6-months. However, in the back of your mind, you’re worried about that money running out. To eliminate worry, place a stop-loss order at $2,000. Therefore, once your emergency fund reaches $2,000, you will take a part or full-time job.
Take the concept of a stop-loss order and apply it to eliminate your worries. If you’re not going to run out of money, why even worry?
To be continued…
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