I recently read a book called “The Miracle Morning” because I’m a bit of a sucker for self-help books. The essence of the book is that you take a bundle of practices such as meditation, visualisation, journaling and exercise and find the time to do them all by getting up earlier.
We are all trying to make the most of every day we have on the planet, so why would you not want to bounce out of bed every day and get cracking? Don’t answer that, we all know it’s easier said than done ?
Sometimes we just don’t do the things we know are good for us. Developing healthy habits is a technique that the most successful people do, often without realising, but we can all emulate that by changing our lifestyle to accommodate disciplines that we know might bring short term pain in the interest of our future happiness.
Which brings me nicely to money…
It’s just another habit that we could all fine-tune in order to achieve wellbeing. You can look after your health, your career, your home and your relationships but if you have money worries it’s all in vain, because you know for sure you won’t sleep at night. On a more serious note, socio-economic issues are a massive contributing factor in depression and suicide. I’m not suggesting that people with mental health problems have been reckless with their money, but for example if a family member is unable to work, a small matter of not having mortgage protection can be a tipping point to a spiral of events with serious consequences which inevitably takes its toll on mental health.
People generally underestimate how important financial wellbeing is to their overall health and contentment. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about knowing potential problems and risks have been managed. This could be anything from a potentially large tax bill, to not having life insurance when you have loans.
So let’s develop some healthy habits…
1) Do a simple income and expenditure analysis (this is the short term pain bit)
2) Make sure you can pay your debts if you can’t work for any reason (you will be able to find savings from above to do this. If you are young and healthy cover might be the same as a couple of lattes a week)
3) Save up for something you really want, you will be surprised how good it makes you feel. Don’t put it on credit.
4) If you feel overwhelmed by how much (house deposit) you need. Make a plan. What do you need to sacrifice and how long will it take. It will be worth missing boozy nights out for example, when you achieve your goal. Your brain cells will also thank you.
5) Think sensibly about the cost of things. I know Martin Lewis goes to some pretty extreme lengths to save money and we don’t all have time for that.
6) But on the other hand, know the value of things. Just because something is cheap does not mean it is good. Clothes are a very good example of this. I actually use a dress exchange (shhh) and it helps the environment too.
7) If you have any assets make sure you have a will, even more so if you have dependents…and don’t do it DIY (see point 6!)
So if you think you haven’t got time to sort out your finances, perhaps getting up half an hour earlier for a few days to find the peace and headspace you need would be just the ticket. There is research to suggest that a new habit takes 30 days to embed, so why not try identifying some savings and stick to it for a month and see where you get!