Sometimes we say or believe things about money because it’s what we’ve been taught. It’s what we’ve come to hold as true.

Perhaps, your parents told you “renting was a waste of money”, and “if you want to be a ‘real adult,’ you have to buy a home.”

Or, maybe you grew up thinking college was the only way to have a successful career because it’s what you heard from teachers, parents, and friends your entire life.

There are many things people say and believe about money simply because it’s what they’ve come to know as true. No facts, no research, just unquestioning belief.

Here are six of the more ridiculous things people say and believe about money.

 

1. “I bought a house for the tax deduction”

There are plenty of other ways to take advantage of tax deductions, ones that don’t require a large down payment and a 30-year financial commitment.

Okay, so it’s rare someone buys a home just for the tax deduction. What usually happens is someone is already looking for a home and uses the “tax deduction” as justification for buying more home than they can afford.

The self-deception works because it’s grounded in truth: you do get a tax deduction. But, it’s a half-truth.

What if I framed the tax deduction another way and said, “Hey, I’ve got a deal for you. Spend $100 more than you should and I’ll give you back 25 bucks. So, in the end, you’ll only spend $75 than you should.”

Spending a dollar to save a quarter doesn’t make sense. In fact, it’s ridiculous.

 

 

2. “Renting is a waste of money”

This debate has been going on for forever and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. While many people adamantly believe it never makes financial sense to rent instead of buying, this is simply not true.

Choosing to buy or rent comes down to a number of financial calculations and lifestyle choices.

Do you plan to stay in your home for a long time? Do you like to move around? Do you want to take on the risk and responsibilities that come with homeownership? Do you have enough money saved for a downpayment? Can you afford all of the extra costs associated with homeownership (maintenance, property taxes, utilities)? What is the housing market like?

It’s the answers to these questions (and many others) that will help you make an informed decision as to which route is best for you.

The next time someone tells you “renting is a waste of money,” ask them to provide the answers to the questions listed above. They won’t able to. You can then tell them how ridiculous they sound.

 

3. “I don’t want to make more money because I’ll have to pay more in taxes”

Wait … let me get this straight. You want to forgo a big raise at work because you don’t want to pay more taxes? You lament getting a bonus because “it’s taxed at a higher rate?”

Some people are afraid to make more money because it will “push them into a higher tax bracket” and, presumably, means less take-home pay because of higher taxes. That’s just not how this works.

Making more money may indeed push you into a higher tax bracket but this does not result in less take-home pay.

In the U.S., we have a progressive tax system. This means as we make more money, we’re taxed at progressively higher rates. But, here’s the important part: you only pay a higher rate on the portion of your income that has moved into the higher bracket.

This means your original salary will NOT be affected by the “bonus” and only the new money will be taxed at a higher rate. Yes, you will be paying a higher rate on the new money, but it doesn’t affect all of the money you’ve earned.

Bottom line: it’s ridiculous to make less money just because you’re worried about being bumped up into a higher tax bracket.*

*Note: this is not to be construed as tax advice. Consult with your accountant about your specific situation.

 

 

4. “A college education is always worth the money”

It’s true. A college education is often an important step in finding a good career. In fact, many companies require a degree just to get a foot in the door. But, things are changing.

Today, many of the leading tech companies like Google and Apple don’t require employees to have a college degree. Instead of looking for “credentials,” companies are focused on whether or not you can do the job.

Additionally, many of the trades don’t require a college degree and offer high starting wages, union-quality benefits, and higher job security. In fact, the trades can’t find enough young talent to take these quality jobs.

In contrast, the thirst for a college education, and the high price tag that comes with it, is running on all cylinders. Student loan debt in America sits at $1.68 trillion. The average federal student loan debt is $36,520. Student loan debt is growing at a rate 6 times faster than the national economy.

This is staggering.

Part of the blame falls on predatory colleges. Part on consumers.

We can’t control what colleges do, but we can control how much debt we take on and what degrees we’re getting for that debt.

Taking on $80,000 in student loan debt to get a degree in a low demand, low paying field is a terrible financial investment.

College is a wonderful thing for many, but not all. It’s not always worth the money, and it’s not always worth the debt. The financial cost of getting a degree can’t be greater than the financial benefit. Too often we forget this and simply go with the old trope “an investment in your education is always worth it.”

 

5. “To determine your stock allocation, subtract your age from 100”

It can be challenging to figure out how much of your long-term investments you should allocate to stocks. To help with this decision, a simple rule of thumb grew popular in the 1970s and ‘80s and persists to this day.

The rule: subtract your age from 100 to determine your stock allocation.

For example, if you’re 40 years old, subtract your age (40) from 100 (100-40) and that tells you how much to contribute to stocks (60). This means 60% of your money should be allocated in stocks and 40% in bonds.

This rule of thumb has stuck because it provides a simple answer to a complicated question. And, logically, it kinda makes sense. It follows the fundamental investment principle of matching your level of risk to your time frame. This crude formula does this.

The formula is: 100 – age of investor = % in stocks

Going back to our example, of the 40 year old investor.

100 – 40 (age) = 60% in stocks

If the investor is 70 years old:

100 – 70 (age) = 30% in stocks

According to the formula, if you’re 40 years old and have a longer investment time frame, you’d invest 60% of your money in stocks.

But, if you were 70 years old and have a shorter time frame, the formula says you should only invest 30% of your money in stocks.

This matches the basic principle of investing more in stocks if you have a longer time frame and less if you have less time.

So, it fits the pattern of: older means less money in stocks

Unfortunately, outside of this weak correlation, there’s little validity to the formula.

In general, the formula is too conservative for younger investors. In the example above, the 40 year old investor allocates 60% of her money to stocks. For many investors, this is far too conservative especially for women who have longer life spans. It also doesn’t allow for an investor to be 100% invested in stocks irrespective of her age. How can that be the rule?

As humans, our brains have developed to seek the simplest, quickest answer to the question even if the answer isn’t exactly right. This is fine for avoiding sudden, physical danger but doesn’t work well for complex, intellectual problems.

The formula of subtracting your age from 100 and investing that amount in stocks is painfully inadequate for solving such a complex problem.

 

 

6. “You should have 5 times your current income in life insurance

Here we go again with using the simplest of solutions for a complex problem.

People like rules of thumb and heuristics because it means we don’t have to think so hard. The math of “5x your income” is a lot easier than working through an actual financial analysis.

How much life insurance you need is a function of what you want your life insurance to cover.

Here are a few questions to consider:

  • How many years of income do you want to replace? One, five, ten, twenty years?
  • What debts do you want to pay off? The house? The cars? Any and all debt?
  • Will your spouse continue/go back to work? How much income can he/she expect to make? Does he want to take time off to be with the kids?
  • What future goals do you want to fund? College, weddings, retirement?
  • Will you remain in the same house? Downsize? Move back home?

You can see why people are quick to latch onto an answer like “buy 5x your income.” It’s simple and you’re doing something. But, you’d have to get awfully lucky for it to be the right answer. Chances are you’re either overinsured and paying for something you don’t need or you’re underinsured and unknowingly putting your family at risk.

It treats everyone the same. It doesn’t account for marital status and number of dependents which is ridiculous. Should my business partner who is single and has no dependents have the same amount of life insurance as me who has 6 dependents?

Ridiculous.

Remember, personal finance is personal

When you hear people say things like, “You should always do this” or “You should never do that,” take it with a grain of salt.

 

 

Everyone’s situation is different. One person’s ideal financial decision could be another person’s worst decision. Rules of thumb sound reasonable on the surface, but quickly fall apart and can reach “ridiculous” status when under increased scrutiny.

You work too hard for your money to leave things to chance. Be inquisitive and don’t be afraid to challenge long-held beliefs even if you feel a little ridiculous in the process. Chances are you’re on the right track.

 

 

Life can be busy and complicated, especially as we head into 2021.

If you’re looking for ways to streamline your life and finances as we head into the New Year, then you’re going to love these four easy steps for simplifying your financial life.

1. Consolidate

Consolidation is the process of combining lots of little things into one larger, more effective thing. In the case of your finances, consolidation can be used to simplify bank accounts, credit cards, and other debt.

Some simple ways to begin the consolidation process include:

  • Consolidate your bank accounts. Unless you’re running a business, you probably don’t require multiple bank accounts. Having one checking account and one high-interest savings account will make it easier to keep track of your money.
  • Eliminate credit cards you don’t need. If you’ve lost count of the number of credit cards in your wallet then you have too many. The fewer credit cards you have, the easier it is to control your spending and prevent credit card debt. If you’ve already racked up a few credit cards then you may want to consider consolidating all of your balances onto a single low-interest credit card.
  • Consider a debt consolidation loan. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your debt, consider combining all of it onto a single consolidation loan. If your loan is at a lower interest rate, your debt could disappear faster. Plus, because you have a set payback schedule, it may help reduce your overall debt. Now instead of having 3 or 5 or 10 debtors to pay, you simply have one. But, be careful not to run your credit cards back up and make things worse!

 

 

2. Automate

Now that you’ve cleaned your financial house by consolidating, it’s time to simplify things even further. Automating your finances may take some initial effort, but it will afford you more time and money in the long term.

Some simple ways to automate your finances include:

  • Direct deposit. If you haven’t already, then sign up to have your paycheck directly deposited into your checking account. This will save you the hassle of having to go to the bank to deposit your paycheck.
  • Automate savings. As soon as your paycheck is directly deposited into your checking account, you want to automate it so that a portion of your paycheck goes directly into an emergency savings account as well as your retirement savings account. By automating this process, you take away all of the barriers that can prevent us from making smart financial decisions like a lack of motivation or effort.
  • Automate bill payments. If you have recurring bills then you can also automate these payments. This can help you to avoid missing bill payments and getting hit with late fees. You can set up auto-payments for your mortgage or rent payments, utilities, and any memberships.
  • Automate investments. The last thing to automate is your investments. Not only does this simplify the investment process but it will also stop you from trying to time the market.

 

 

3. Use cash (and one credit card)

Have you ever noticed that it’s much harder to part with a crisp twenty-dollar bill than it is to swipe a credit card?

There’s something about the tangible feeling of money leaving your fingers that makes even the most seasoned shopper think twice about their impending purchase! When you use cash it’s easy to recognize when you’re running low. All you have to do is look in your wallet. You feel the immediate effects of your spending. The same is not true with a credit card.

A classic study of behavioral economics by MIT professors, Drazen Prelec and Duncan Simester, found that people are willing to spend up to 100% more when using their credit card as opposed to cash. Other studies have found that people make larger purchases when visiting a department store and leave larger tips at restaurants when paying with their credit card.

Credit cards make spending too easy and they remove a lot of the emotion. When shopping with a credit card there are no immediate consequences; you often won’t see any evidence of overspending until you receive your credit card bill.

All this being said, it is 2020 and the world is largely going cashless. There are still many times when you may need a credit card. So, keep one on hand and get rid of the rest.

 

 

4. Create a “things I didn’t buy list”

Now that you’ve consolidated, automated, and started using cash, you’ve set yourself up for success. There’s one last tip to simplifying your finances. It’s time to create a “things I didn’t buy list.”

When you feel the urge to spend money on something you really want but you don’t need, then you simply write it down on your, “things I didn’t buy list.” Simply record the item and the cost. For instance, “Striped sweater – $70.”

The goal is to do this for a month. At the end of the month, you go through your list and tally up everything you didn’t buy. The total tally might shock you, and you’ll probably feel very happy and proud that you didn’t spend the money.

Now you can take all of the money that you saved by not buying little things that you don’t need and you can put it towards a bigger goal. Perhaps you invest the money, create an emergency savings fund, or start saving for a dream vacation. The point is, when you stop buying all of the little, unnecessary things, you can save more for the big, important things.

If you want to take this a step farther you can also record how you felt when you wanted the thing that you didn’t buy. Were you happy, sad or stressed? How did it feel to say no? All of this extra information can reveal some interesting trends. Maybe you learn that you find it extra hard to say no when you’re feeling overwhelmed at work. You can use this information to change your behavior in the future. When you start to feel overwhelmed, you can head to the gym or go for a hike instead of visiting the mall.

 

 

Are you ready to simplify your financial life?

Getting your finances in order can seem like an uphill battle that you don’t want to fight. But it doesn’t have to be a struggle. With these four steps, you can begin to create a simplified financial system that largely takes care of itself. You can focus your attention on growing your savings account by shopping with cash and continuously updating your “things I didn’t buy list.”

 

 

The end of 2020 is just around the corner, and the New Year can’t get here soon enough. Whether or not you’re someone who sets New Year’s resolutions, it’s a great time to initiate change. Why not make 2021 the year you (finally) position yourself for financial success?

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that the world is unpredictable. And while many things are outside of your control, you have the power to take control of your finances. With this simple six-step program, you can make 2021 the year you begin to build lasting financial success.

The 6-step program for financial success

 

 

1. Create a cash reserve and emergency savings program

I don’t need to explain why an emergency fund is necessary. We’ve all just received a first-hand lesson in why having a cash reserve is essential. No one could have predicted a pandemic would sweep across the globe and throw everything into chaos. Remember, it’s often the things you can’t foresee that get you!

We don’t know what 2021 is going to bring. Heck, we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Having an emergency savings program is the first step to creating financial stability. It gives you the ability to live life without fear of losing your house or pulling the kids out of private school if something bad happens financially.

The goal is to have three to six months’ worth of savings in your emergency fund, but it’s okay to start small. Open an online savings account and automatically save into it via payroll deduction or automatic transfers from your checking account. The key is to automate the process and start building your lifestyle continuation plan immediately.

 

2. Invest more money for retirement and college

The next step is to bump up your investments to your retirement and college saving programs. If you haven’t started investing for retirement or college, the new year is a great time to build new, healthy financial habits.

If you’re in a 401k plan, increase your contributions by 1%. Now before you chime in with, “I can’t afford that,” check your skepticism at the door. Chances are you won’t even notice the difference in your take-home pay. If I’m wrong, it’s super simple to change back to where you were before. But, if I’m right, you may be able to retire a year earlier or be able to take an extra vacation every year in retirement.

In this example, the noteworthy change isn’t the “1% increase in 401k contributions.” No, it’s to get out of the habit of thinking, “I can’t.” When “I can’t” is your financial default – “I can’t save more, I can’t stop spending, I can’t make more” – it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What do you think the impact would be if you changed your default from “I can’t” to “I’ll try?”

You know, there’s an easy way to know for sure, right?

 

 

3. Reduce high-interest debt already on the books

Getting your high-interest debt under control is one of the best money moves you can make in the new year. There are different approaches you can take in your debt repayment journey.

Snowball method – Assess your debts and put them in order from the lowest balance to the highest balance. Aggressively pay off your lowest balance first while making the minimum payments on all of the others. Once you’ve paid off the lowest balance, you move on to the next lowest balance account. But, instead of just making the minimum payment, you add the amount you were paying on the first account to the minimum payment, thereby making a larger payment.

Like a snowball gathering snow and getting bigger as it rolls downhill, as you pay off each account, your payment gets bigger and bigger until you’ve paid everything off.

If you’re someone who needs to see progress to stay motivated on your debt repayment journey, this is a good plan for you. By paying off the lowest balance first, you feel a sense of accomplishment which is motivating and encourages you to keep it up.

Avalanche method – Order your debts based on the interest rates, from highest to lowest. Aggressively pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first while paying the minimum payments on all of the others.

This plan is best if you’re able to focus on the prize at the end of the game versus getting some wins along the way. Because you’re paying off the highest interest debt first, you will pay less in interest and shorten your payback period.

I find the snowball method to be the better of the two approaches. While the avalanche method works better on paper, in the real world – where you and I live – the snowball method wins. Hey, we’re humans. We need to see tangible progress if we’re going to stick with something as difficult and emotional as debt-reduction.

 

4. Avoid new debt

If you want to get ahead, you need to avoid taking on more debt. Do anything you have to. Cut up your credit cards, block your favorite online stores, and don’t buy things if you don’t have the cash in hand to do so.

If you don’t make enough to pay your bills each month, perhaps it’s time to focus on increasing your income. If you’re in a position to ask for a raise, do it. If there’s an opportunity to take on a higher paying role with your company, go for it. Perhaps you start that side hustle you’ve been thinking about – pick up some quick cash by selling things you don’t use on Facebook Marketplace – or even get a second job.

I’m not saying it will be easy, but it may be necessary. If you want to build lasting financial success, sacrificing in the short run is often the way to go. Whether that means spending less, working more, or both, it’s a proven recipe for success.

 

 

5. Create spending habits that align with your values

Once your debt is under control, it’s time to focus on what you’re doing with your hard-earned dollars. In other words, how you are spending your money.

The key to this step is to ensure your spending aligns with your values. Ask yourself, “What do I value? Who or what stirs my soul and provides me my fondest memories? What brings me my greatest levels of personal satisfaction?”

Is it time with your family, personal development, giving back to your community? The practice of values-based spending is about becoming more conscious of what you’re doing with your money and why. Moving forward, all spending should pass through your “values” filter. Constantly ask yourself, “Does this purchase align with my values? How does this add to my life?”

 

6. Know where your money goes

The last step is about money awareness and is a natural extension of the “spend your values” philosophy outlined above. I’m not suggesting you create a spreadsheet and input every nickel and dime you spend. That sounds too much like a budget and you know how I feel about budgets (see Budgets are Bullshit blog).

No, I simply mean knowing what your top 5 spending categories are. If you know your top 5 spending categories, you can then compare them against your values and determine how you’re doing. Without running the numbers, it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking you’re doing a good job when you’re really failing.

You can’t fix a problem you don’t think you have.

 

 

If there’s ever been a year to take advantage of online shopping, 2020 has been that year!

Whether you’ve been on lockdown status due to Covid-19 or you just want to avoid going to the mall, online shopping offers a quick, easy, and safe alternative.

Another great feature of online shopping…the savings. Using a combination of money-saving tools and savvy saving techniques, you can score some amazing deals online. And of course, the best part, you can shop in your jammies from the comfort of your home.

Here are three simple ways you can save big when shopping online.

 

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links at no additional cost to you. We understand being a trusted resource means being able to stand behind the products and services we affiliate with. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced in order to help you make the best choice for you. All opinions expressed here are our own.

1. Install a browser extension

A browser extension is a piece of software that is used to modify or add a service to your browser. The browser extensions on this list are all used to help you find the best deals online.

All you have to do is sign up for an account, install the extension, and start saving. Some of the top browser extensions include:

Ibotta

Ibotta is a free browser extension and app that allows you to earn cash back on your everyday purchases when you shop and pay through Ibotta online. Ibotta allows you to earn cash back on everything from groceries to pet supplies, pharmacy purchases, clothing, and more.

Rakuten

Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates, is a shopping rewards company that offers cash back, deals, and rewards on a huge selection of products and services worldwide. Once you’ve installed the Rakuten extension, cash back is added to your account as soon as you make an online purchase.

Honey

Honey works by searching the web for the best coupon codes available across over 30,000 popular sites and then it automatically applies the coupon to your purchase.

Once you’ve installed the extension all you have to do is shop! If a deal is available a pop-up will appear on your screen with the deal. If you’ve already found the best deal online, Honey will also let you know that so you don’t feel like you’re missing out!

Honey also offers an option called Honey Gold which allows you to earn rewards even if there isn’t a specific deal available. Honey Gold is available when you shop at over 5,000 participating stores. You earn Gold that you can then use to redeem gift cards for some of your favorite stores.

Camel camel camel

It’s a strange name but a useful savings tool!

Camel camel camel is a tool for tracking item prices on Amazon. Camel camel camel was founded in 2008 and since this time online shoppers have been using it for price drop alerts as well as for searching price history charts for products sold on Amazon.

All you have to do is log on to the camel camel camel website to sign up for a free account. Once you have an account there’s a number of benefits you can access like their wishlist importer which allows you to track all of the products you have listed in your Amazon wishlist automatically. It also allows you to manage all of your watched Amazon products in one place.

 

2. Buy used

If you can’t afford, or you simply can’t justify, spending a small fortune on a beautiful pair of jeans or handbag, buying used can be a great way to get what you want for a fraction of the price.

In addition to saving money, there are many environmental benefits associated with buying used. No additional energy or resources are needed to create a used product and they don’t come with a ton of unnecessary packaging, unlike their new counterparts. Buying used also prevents products from ending up in a landfill.

Thanks to some great online resources, it’s easy to shop for all sorts of gently used items.

eBay

eBay is an e-commerce giant. If you haven’t heard of it by now, I’m not sure where you’ve been for the past two decades!

Whether it’s fashion, electronics, art, or sporting goods you seek, you can find it on eBay. All you have to do is browse the site, or search for your item of interest, and when you find it you can you can look up the time details. If you’re interested in purchasing the item, you make a bid and cross your fingers that you will win the auction.

ThreadUp

ThreadUp is the largest online consignment and thrift shop. So, it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing when it comes to used goods. Unlike eBay, which sells virtually everything, ThreadUp specializes in the buying and selling of gently used clothing.

You can search and shop by choosing a department (kids, women, maternity, or plus), by brand, or you can use the Goody Box feature to shop by theme (work from home, colour coordinated). ThreadUp makes it easy to shop for beautiful, reasonably priced clothes.

Poshmark

Poshmark is another online marketplace that sells new and used clothing as well as shoes and accessories for up to 70% off. They sell items for men, women, and kids and list their products based on brand and popular collections.

Simply browse the site and when you’re ready to make a purchase, you can also get recommendations from millions of stylists who are part of the Poshmark virtual community.

Discover Books

If it’s used books that you’re after, you can check out Discover Books online. Discover books was founded with the goal of sustainability and literacy. Keeping books out of landfills and encouraging literacy around the world.

You can easily search for books by category (kids, non-fiction, sports), popularity, or by author or title. While their prices are already low they also offer a number of additional ways to save including buying in bundles, joining their online rewards program, or subscribing for additional coupon offers. In addition, they offer free shipping on all orders to the contiguous 48 states.

 

3. Sell your unused gift cards

In 2020, over $3 billion in gift cards will go unused. This is a staggering amount of money. If you’ve received gift cards that you won’t use, don’t just forgo the money. There are some great sites you can use to trade or sell your unused gift cards.

Cardcash

With Cardcash.com you can purchase gift cards to your favorite store, restaurant, or online retailer at a discounted price. You can also sell your unused gift cards to Cardcash.com. While you will have to sell them at a discounted rate, at least you can get some money back instead of sitting on a bunch of unused cards.

Raise

Raise is similar to Cardcash.com in that you can save money by purchasing gift cards to a variety of stores at a discounted rate. Whether it’s a gift card for you or a present for someone else, there is no longer a reason to pay full price for a gift card.

If you are looking for a way to put cash back in your pocket, you can sell your unused gift cards and store credits to Raise. The best part, you set the price! And, it’s easy to get paid. When you make a sale Raise will deposit the funds through Direct Deposit, Paypal, or check.

 

How do you save online?

With these easy ways to save online, there’s no reason to be paying full price for your purchases.

We want to hear from you. Do you have any strategies that you use to save money online? Do you have a “go to” for saving money while letting your fingers do the shopping?

 

 

Tough times often bring people closer together. As Covid-19 continues to spread, our most vulnerable neighbors, and the people who care for them, need all of the support and generosity we can give this holiday season.

Here are some ways you and your family can spread a little extra cheer throughout your community.

 

1. Thank our frontline heroes

No one has done more and risked more for all of us than the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff who are fighting Covid-19 every day. Make a couple of extra batches of cookies or order some treats from a local business for delivery to the nearest hospital. You could also make care packages for medical professionals who live in your neighborhood. For a personal touch, have your kids design homemade thank-you cards. Don’t underestimate the difference these little signs of encouragement make for a nurse who can’t remember her last day off.

 

2. Put a charitable spin on family traditions

The great after-Christmas Trivial Pursuit game or Christmas cookie exchange won’t be the same this year if your family is celebrating virtually. If you’re moving some of your Christmas traditions to Zoom, consider “raising the stakes” for a good cause. Establish a buy-in for game night and let the winner decide where to donate the pot. Or, make the losers foot the bill for the family’s chosen holiday charity.

 

3. Brighten a child’s Christmas morning

Stockings and Christmas trees around the country will be a little less full this year with millions of Americans still struggling to make ends meet. Many churches and charitable organizations have moved their annual toy drives online so you can pick up something special for a child in need safely.

 

 

4. Donate locally

As a general rule, large national charitable organizations are the most reliable to donate to. Groups, like the Red Cross, have both the infrastructure and oversight to ensure your gift makes a real difference. In most cases, money is also the most effective form of donation because it doesn’t need to be boxed or shipped.

However, Covid-19, social justice movements, and widespread unemployment have put a major strain on local homeless shelters and food banks across the country. The organizations that serve your local community could be running low on canned goods, toiletries, and other essentials families need to get through the winter. You could organize a charity drive among your family or on your block. If you do, you’ll find charitable giving is contagious. Word spreads quickly, moving from family-to-family, house-to-house, and neighborhood-to-neighborhood inspiring even more giving.

 

5. Give big

If you decide the best way to give back this holiday is with a large monetary donation, consider calling your accountant before you write that check.

Working through the tax ramifications of a large donation can make your donation feel a little less genuine, but the government includes charity in its tax calculations for a reason: our leaders want to incentivize charitable giving, particularly from those who have the means. No guilt required.

If you still feel bad, you can always donate your “tax benefits” and give even more to your charities.

 

6. Start with your own backyard

One day I’ll go deeper into my “take care of your own backyard” philosophy, but for today’s conversation, I’ll simply say this: charitable giving and works should begin in our own backyards.

Before we give our time or money to a charitable organization, we should start by giving our time and money to those in need within our own families. I don’t mean within our nuclear family (spouse/partner, children) – I assume you’re already taking care of your responsibilities at home.

I’m talking about your parents and grandparents, your sisters and brothers, and beyond.

Many of us already do this, but many more don’t. It’s often easier to give to outside organizations than to our own families. This sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true.

When we give to a “Salvation Army,” we don’t have the same expectations for what they do with the money as we do when we give to a family member. We make the donation, assume they’ll use the money for good, and that’s that. But, with family members, we’re far more invested in our giving. We want to know how they’re using the money, that they’re not squandering it and taking advantage of our generosity. Our expectations go way up and with those increased expectations comes a higher level of emotional involvement.

 

 

This often makes it considerably more difficult to give to family than to an outside organization.

If you’re concerned about wasting your money, go to the source. Go to the grocery store and buy the food yourself. Make a direct payment to a debt. Pay for addiction treatment or spring for a meal beyond their normal budget. Go shopping with her and buy her a new outfit.

You can see how giving to strangers can be a lot easier than giving to family. It’s far easier, and emotionally safer, to write a check than to get involved in a family member’s struggles.

Easier, but not better. Despite being the harder path, shouldn’t we take our first dollars and use them on the people closest to us? Shouldn’t we take our first hours and spend them on family?

I’m convinced if we did this, if we all took care of our own backyards, there would be far less need to care for others because we’re already taking care of our own.

 

 

 

What are you making for Christmas dinner? A perfectly baked ham, your grandmother’s famous stuffing, or maybe a delicious Christmas pudding?

Regardless of your answer, I want you to think about why. Why are you making that particular dish?

For most of us, the answer is, “because that’s what we always do, it’s a family tradition.”

If you grew up having prime rib with all the fixings for Christmas dinner, then you’re likely to serve the same prime rib dinner to your children. No one told you to make the same dinner. No one had to. It’s tradition. It’s just “what we do.”

This is a great example of an invisible script (see eH blog What is a Money Script and Why Does it Matter?) that’s been passed down, from generation to generation, without nary a word spoken.

“That’s just what we do.”

 

That’s just how it goes. We follow our traditions instinctively, unquestionably.

“What? Are you serious? Get an artificial tree?? Are you NUTS!!?? We HAVE to have a fresh tree and we have to cut it down ourselves. You need help.”

The same goes for traditions around Thanksgiving, Easter, even birthdays. Now, this isn’t inherently a bad thing. Some of our fondest memories come from family traditions even if we don’t know why we partake in them or where they came from. For most of our traditions, “what we do” is answer enough. But, can we say the same for financial traditions?

What are financial traditions?

Just as we inherit holiday traditions, we also inherit financial traditions. Like our Christmas traditions, we don’t always know why we hold these financial ideas or behaviors, we just do. For many of us, our current money beliefs have been passed down from our parents and adopted without question. We’ve inherited financial beliefs like:


“Renting is a waste of money; buy a home as soon as possible.”

“Always pay cash; never finance anything.”

“Student loan debt is a good investment; it always pays for itself.”

 

These seem like sound financial principles. And they are. Generally, speaking that is.

None of the statements above are inherently right or wrong. Renting can be a waste of money. Having no debt is usually a great idea. College is often an excellent investment. It’s easy to follow traditions like these because you only need to be “cocktail napkin” smart for these ideas to make sense.

But, there are many situations where adhering to these beliefs doesn’t work.

Let’s go through each examples one by one:

  • Renting is often a far better financial decision than buying. If you only have the bare minimum for a down payment, have no cash reserve, expect to move in a few years, or have just gotten divorced, renting might be a far better decision than buying.
  • “Never finance anything” makes every financial transaction only about the money and ignores what you’re getting for your money. Sometimes going into debt is the best way to get most out of life. Sure, you’ll pay more because of the interest, but you may gain something even more valuable than money – a special memory that will pay dividends for a lifetime.
  • The sentiment that college always pays for itself is simply not true .The price you pay for school matters, and college isn’t always a wise investment especially if you choose a major with limited job prospects.Emerging from your college years with $90,000 in student loan debt and a degree in art history (or the like) is almost always a terrible financial decision.

 

 

There is nothing wrong with using financial traditions as a starting point. But, that’s all they should be: a starting point. What is solid financial advice for one person could be disastrous for another even within the same family.

The problem is we adopt financial traditions as completely as we adopt cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving.


Why did I buy a house a year out of college? Because “renting is a waste of money.”

Why didn’t I finance part of my honeymoon and extend our trip? Because I should “always pay cash.”

Why do I have $75,000 in student loan debt and a lower income career? Because “college always pays for itself.”

 

You may be thinking, “Is it really that simple? Do we really take these family money beliefs and turn them into financial traditions without much thought?”

Yeah, pretty much.

Studies have shown when participants were asked where their core financial beliefs came from, they often identified their parents as the primary source. This isn’t particularly surprising. What is surprising is just how little they questioned these beliefs. Turns out, just as we make prime rib on Christmas because that’s what our parents did, we adopt financial behaviors in very much the same way.

It’s no fluke children who come from parents of “savers” are often “savers” themselves. Children of “spenders” are often “spenders.” The key is to recognize how your upbringing affects your financial decision-making today and reassess if what you’re doing is in your best interest. It’s okay to grow up to be “just like your parents” by choice. It’s another thing to do so by default.

How to create financial traditions that work for you

 

Question your financial traditions

Question your financial beliefs. Where did they come from? Are they valid for where you are right now? What options have you NOT explored because of your beliefs?

It’s easy to go with the status quo and keep doing what you were doing. But, easy doesn’t make it right. Broaden your gaze and consider financial options that conflict with your current belief system. If you do the research and your current beliefs are validated, great. If there is a better way, great.

Either way, you’re making a fact-based decision and not going with the default. Critically think your way to the right decision.

 

Educate yourself

It’s easier to create new and constructive financial traditions when you understand how money works.

If you have a lack of financial knowledge, invest some time and energy into learning the fundamentals. There’s a wealth of knowledge available, much of it free. Whether it’s financial websites, blogs, podcasts, or books, start small and you’ll be surprised how quickly you can grow your financial knowledge and capabilities.

 

Know your “why” and your “how”

Behavior change is hard.

If you feel like you need to modify some of your financial traditions, it’s important you know your “why.” Why do you want to change your ideas or behaviors?

Your “why” answers the “is it worth it?” question. If you have a compelling “why,” there’s a greater chance you’ll stick with it and do the work required of you. It’ll be “worth it.”

Equally important is your “how.” How are you going to make the changes required? What is your plan?

The “how” provides the discipline and structure needed to make a lasting change.

 

Are you ready to make new financial traditions?

Holiday traditions, such as cutting down your own Christmas tree, are usually harmless and fun. But, financial traditions are different and can have serious financial consequences if applied inappropriately.

Christmas is the perfect time to reflect and contemplate the origin of your core money beliefs. It’s the perfect time to reassess them and see if they’re working for or against you.

If you’re doing it right, there should be alignment between your money beliefs and your life goals. If there isn’t, it’s time to reassess even your staunchest financial beliefs. Not only do you want to get this right for you, but for future generations. After all, how you handle your money now becomes your kids’ or grandkids’ version of “that’s just what we do.”

 

 

What is required to make a romantic relationship work? I think most of us would agree that love, commitment, and trust are three key ingredients.

If your partner cheats on you with another person, this can be difficult or even impossible to overcome. Once trust is broken in a relationship, it’s hard to recover.

The same is true when it comes to money. If your partner commits financial infidelity and lies about where they’re spending money, the amount of credit debt they’ve racked up, or gambles your life savings away through delusional stock market prowess, it can be very difficult to move on.

 

What is financial infidelity?

Financial infidelity is when one partner keeps a secret or tells lies that affect the family’s shared finances. If your partner is hiding a secret credit card they’ve been racking up, have a compulsive online shopping habit they haven’t told you about, or stopped investing in their company retirement plan in defiance of your stated plans – you’ve been a victim of financial infidelity.

These are just a few examples.

And just as there are various levels of physical cheating, there are various levels of financial infidelity. Racking up tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt is different than “temporarily” stopping your retirement plan contributions. Nonetheless, they all possess the same characteristics: an inappropriate use of money without you knowing about it.

Financial infidelity can be just as devastating to a relationship as when someone physically cheats because both of these acts result in broken trust.

The partner who has been financially cheated on starts to think, “If he’s lied to me about this, what else is he hiding?”

“How long has this been going on?”

“Is this the first time he’s strayed or does this happen often?”

In addition to the lack of trust, taking away someone’s money is like taking away their freedom, their independence, and their dreams for the future. If enough money is taken, your life goals, dreams, and ambitions could be stripped away.

 

 

Why do people commit financial infidelity?

Financial infidelity is a common problem in the U.S. A 2018 survey conducted by Harris Poll found over 40% of Americans who had combined their finances admitted to financial infidelity. And it’s a growing problem.

In 2016, the number of adults who had committed financial infidelity was 33%. By 2018, it jumped to 40%. That’s a 21% increase in just 2 short years. This begs the question … why?

We know money is an emotional topic. People come into relationships with all sorts of financial baggage. This makes it difficult for partners to communicate about money or get on the same financial page. Here are some of the most common reasons people commit financial infidelity.

 

Traditional beliefs

Some people grow up thinking money is taboo and should not be discussed. Talking about money is considered classless and rude. Such beliefs make it difficult for partners to open up and have honest conversations about money. It also leads to the “I didn’t know” argument.

You know, the one where he says, “I had no idea you felt this way. I wouldn’t have done it had I known.”

But, if you’ve never had the conversation …

 

Gender roles

Others grow up believing in traditional gender roles. It’s not uncommon for men to believe they should be the primary breadwinner. If they can’t (or don’t) live up to this expectation, they feel they’ve failed as a man. This can lead to feelings of embarrassment and shame and an unwillingness to share with their partner.

In a similar vein, many women believe that finances are the man’s job and they should be in charge of it. This lack of engagement is fertile ground for bad financial behavior. Often, by the time she figures out what’s going on, real damage, sometimes irreparable damage, has been done.

 

Fear

If someone is in an abusive or controlling relationship, they may find it necessary to sneak money and put it into a secret account to fund their escape or prepare for separation. Additionally, an abused partner might feel like she needs to hide her purchases from a controlling spouse if she fears there will be negative consequences for her spending.

 

Entitlement

Some partners might feel they are entitled to a secret credit card or bank account because they make significantly more money than their partner. They believe because they earn the majority of the money, they deserve to treat themselves with “no questions asked.“

 

Addiction

Any kind of addiction, whether it’s alcohol, drugs, shopping, sex, or gambling can lead to financial infidelity. Usually, the person battling the addiction is trying to cover up their bad habit as well as the financial ramifications associated with it. They hide evidence of their compulsive shopping trips or fail to admit they’ve blown through the retirement savings to fund their addiction.

On the other side, partners of addicts may begin to hide money in an effort to keep it safe. They might open secret bank accounts so their partner can’t use the money to fund their addiction.

 

Affairs

This is the double whammy of infidelity. One partner is having a physical affair while also committing financial infidelity. The cheating partner is buying gifts and paying for romantic dinners all behind their spouses back.

 

 

How to overcome financial infidelity

It’s easy to comprehend how financial infidelity happens. That doesn’t make it any easier for the person who has been duped. In an effort to avoid financial infidelity, or overcome it if it’s already occurred, here are some strategies you can try with your partner.

 

Communicate

Couples should have open conversations about money as soon as their relationship starts to get serious. And they’re an absolute must before any shared long-term financial commitments are made like buying a house, getting married, or even adopting a puppy.

 

Take responsibility

Get your heads out of the sand. Both partners should be aware of their combined financial situation. If one person is more financially savvy and enjoys taking care of the finances, that’s fine. But, you both need to be aware of what’s going on and how to access account information so no one is surprised.

 

Come up with a plan

There’s no such thing as “one size fits all” when building a financial plan. It is up to you and your partner to discuss and decide what works best for you. The important part is to make sure you have a shared plan that outlines how your finances will be managed. This includes things like how you will split expenses, who will be responsible for ensuring the bills are paid, what are your debt and investing philosophies, and whether or not you will consult each other before making a (large) purchase.

(See Guiding Principles for a unique way to get on the same page with your partner.)

 

 

Are you ready to start talking?

Money is the number one thing couples fight about and one of the leading causes of divorce. It’s no surprise financial infidelity is so prevalent among American adults.

Partners come together as two separate people with separate beliefs, values, and opinions about money. This makes it difficult to find common ground when it comes to how to manage your money.

If you’re going to avoid or overcome financial infidelity, it’s imperative you talk early and talk often. If you are still struggling, consider reaching out to a therapist or financial coach to help you get on the same page. Given what’s at stake, isn’t it worth the effort?

 

 

Many folks are feeling as much anxiety about the end of this contentious presidential election as they were feeling during the long months of campaigning. It’s impossible to predict with 100% accuracy what a new president and a new Congress are going to do. That feeling of uncertainty can send out ripples through our financial and political systems until we get a clearer picture of the agenda for the next four years.

As important as elections are, we believe a solid financial plan gives you the tools to keep improving your Return on Life no matter what’s happening with our nation’s politics. Instead of fretting about what may or may not happen starting in January, try to focus on these three areas of your life that will help you control major transitions.

 

 

1. You can’t control the economy … but you can control your career.

Elections sometimes spark short-term volatility in the financial markets. But the economy is bigger than any one president, especially while Covid-19 continues to change everyday life and global business.

As companies continue to adapt to the pandemic landscape, job opportunities are becoming less centralized and more diverse. You might be able to take your dream job on the other side of the country without leaving the home your family loves. Or, you might spot an emerging market in the middle of all this displacement where you can open your own company.

 

 

2. You can’t control taxes … but you can control your saving and spending.

Presidential candidates talk a lot about their tax plans on the campaign trail. The need for Congress’ cooperation to put that plan into action usually isn’t discussed quite as much.

Whether your preferred candidate won or lost, there’s no guarantee taxes are going up or down. But, you can anticipate when your kids will be going to college, if you’ll need to replace the family car soon, or if you’re not prepared for retirement.

Yes, tax rates will play a role in handling these transitions, but your level of saving and spending have a much bigger impact on your financial plan than any other factor. If you’re not connected to your money and spending in BAD ways, make it a goal to change that in 2021.

Sit down with your spouse and weed out all those recurring subscriptions and memberships you’re not using. Make a weekly meal plan so you’re not eating out so often or buying the most expensive items on the top shelf. This could easily yield a couple hundred dollars each month and help you build that all important retirement nest egg.

 

 

3. You can’t control who’s president … but you can take control of your financial plan.

Per the clamor on social media, was this really “the most important election of our lifetimes?” It could be decades before we have enough perspective to judge. But as far as your financial planning goes, here’s another way to think about presidents:

A 67-year-old baby boomer eyeing retirement might have taken her first part-time job when Lyndon Johnson was president. As of 2020, that senior has lived and worked through ten different presidents.

It’s doubtful you’re going to love every single president who serves during your career. Yes, there are things each one does that might move the needle on your retirement accounts in the short term. But those who stick to their plans and continue to save and invest regardless of what’s happening in the outside world are the ones who build long-term wealth. You don’t need to invest large sums of money, either. But you need to get started as soon as possible and put time on your side.

No matter how you feel about the election, you can take action today to keep your financial plan on track or get started on one. Control what you can control and don’t waste time, energy, or effort on everything else.

 

We all have beliefs about money. These beliefs are important as they inform our financial decisions, for better or worse.

Below are five widespread myths that women cling to when it comes to money. All too often, they hold women back from achieving the financial future they’ve always wanted. It’s time to dispel these myths and implement simple strategies that enable you to grow your money and help you accomplish your most important life goals.

 

1 Money is too complicated

It’s true, the topic of money can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Unfortunately, the financial industry uses so much jargon and so many acronyms that it sounds like they’re speaking another language. You’re not alone if you feel confused or overwhelmed.

When it comes down to it, money isn’t nearly as complicated as it first seems. Instead, it’s the terminology and the people using it that make it difficult to understand.

We use money every single day. If you buy into the 10,000-hour rule (it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in something), then many of you are money experts. You might not feel like an expert but, if you’ve been buying groceries, paying rent, or investing for years, then you know a thing or two about money.

If you have 10,000 hours under your belt and you still feel overwhelmed by the topic of money, then you can try to simplify things by looking for resources that speak your language. Seek out blogs, podcasts, and books that break down complex financial information into simple, easy to digest terms.

 

 

If you work with a financial professional, ensure their goal is to help you understand your money instead of trying to sound smart and confuse you with unnecessary jargon.

With the right resources, some focused effort, and time, you will come to find that money is not so complicated.

 

2. “I have time”

It’s hard to think about things like retirement when you’re young and focused on having fun. Who wants to put their hard-earned cash into a retirement account when it could be better spent on travel or concerts, right?

Wrong!

The best thing you can do for yourself when you’re young is to start saving and investing. This is because of a little thing called compound interest … you may have heard of it.

Compounding occurs when you put a sum of money into a savings or investment account and it earns interest. The magic happens when you earn interest on your interest, and your money begins to grow more rapidly.

As a simple example, let’s say that you put $100 into an investment account that earns 5% interest annually.

Year 1: Invest $100, earn 5% interest. $5 in interest earned. $100 + $5 = $105
Year 2: You now have $105 to invest. 5% interest on $105 is $5.25. $105 + $5.25 = $110.25
Year 3: You now have $110.25. 5% interest on $110.25 is $5.51. $110.25 + $5.51 = $115.76

After ten years, you’ll have $162.89.
After twenty years, you’ll have $265.33.

So, when you hear people say “time is money,” this is what they’re talking about!

Compounding works because you’re earning interest on your interest. Given enough time, your interest will be worth more than your initial investment.

The key is time.

Compounding can work wonders if you have time on your side. This is why it’s essential to not fool yourself into thinking you have “lots of time.” Every day you wait is a day lost and that means money lost. Remember, time is money!

Oh, and don’t fall for the idea you need a lot of money to make money. Investing even a small amount over a long enough time can yield significant gains.

 

3. It’ll just work itself out

If you think your money problems will just magically work themselves out, I hate to break this to you, but they won’t. In fact, they’re far more likely to get worse.

 

 

Like a little baby, your money requires attention and nurturing if you want it to grow and flourish. Making your money work for you doesn’t have to be a monumental task. There are a few simple steps you can take to help your money thrive.

  1. Be connected to how you’re spending your money – you don’t need to have a budget with 20 different spending categories to know where your money goes. If you’re like most people, you have a few usual suspects where you do most of your spending. Start by identifying your two or three biggest spending categories and work toward reducing your spending in these areas.
  2. Invest – investing allows you to save for the retirement you’ve always wanted as well as other future goals. The key is to get started today and let compounding do its thing.
  3. Automate – to keep a hands-off approach to your finances, you can automate your savings and investments. Set up your accounts so a percentage of your paycheck is automatically deposited into your savings / investing account before you even see it.
  4. Seek advice – if you’re confused or overwhelmed by your finances, then find someone who can help you. Look for fiduciary financial advisors who work on a fee for service model.

Money doesn’t just work itself out. If you want to reach your financial goals, you have to be an active participant. Remember, money is like a baby, and no one will care about your money or your baby (or grandbaby) more than you, so take action.

 

4. Men are better at it

If you’re under the impression men are better with money, you’re wrong. There is evidence to suggest the opposite is true, at least in the investment arena. When it comes to investing, women have been found to outperform men. There are a couple of reasons for this:

Women tend to take a more long term perspective when it comes to investing. This results in fewer trades and a greater propensity to stick to their original plan. On the other hand, men tend to be more overconfident in their investing abilities, trade more frequently, and invest in more speculative stocks.

Women are also more cautious with their money, whereas their male counterparts tend to take on more risk. While this isn’t always the best tactic, it does curb the chances of making a large, speculative investment mistake.

The bottom line is men are not better at money, though men and women do have different approaches.

 

5. It’s too late

Just as it’s never too early to start caring about your money and investing for your future, it’s also never too late. Starting to save at 40, 50, or 60 means you’ll have to save more than if you began to age 22, but having something is far better than having nothing.

 

 

There are things you can do to accelerate your retirement savings if you’re getting a late start.

  • Up your monthly investments – invest as much as possible to try to grow your retirement savings. Look for opportunities to supplement your regular income like driving for Uber or Door Dash or even picking up a side gig during the holidays. Hustle your way to more money!
  • Reduce your expenses – consider downsizing when it comes to big-ticket items like your home or vehicles.
  • Avoid debt – do your best to avoid taking on any additional debt, especially credit card debt.
  • Avoid risk – if you’re getting close to retirement age, you don’t want to take on overly risky investments in an effort to make greater returns. Align your investment risks with your age. If you need help with this, you can always speak with a financial advisor.
  • Ask for help – talk to a financial advisor about what you can do to achieve your retirement goals.

 

 

Do you know how much debt you have? What about your credit score?

Do you know how much you’re saving for retirement? What you’re invested in?

Can you report how many subscription services you’re currently paying for?

Do you review your finances regularly?

Do you have a financial plan for the future?

If you answered no to many of these questions, you might suffer from a bout of financial apathy.

 

What is financial apathy?

Financially apathetic people are indifferent to money matters. They put little time or energy into learning about money and don’t strive to better their financial situation. They may complain about their finances but aren’t motivated to do anything about it. They don’t even seem to be concerned about it.

If you’re reading this and thinking, “uh oh, that sounds like me,” or, “hmmm, that sounds like my husband / girlfriend / daughter…”, don’t worry. Financial apathy is not a life sentence. There are simple steps you can take to get out of your financial rut.

 

 

Why do people suffer from financial apathy?

There are many reasons people fall into a state of financial apathy. Some of the main reasons people become apathetic about money include:

 

Feelings of overwhelm

For many, they’re overwhelmed by money and the world of personal finance. Working through the barriers to financial success feels unreachable and far too complicated. Rather than talking about it or asking for help, they push down their concerns and hope they go away.

You know how that goes. Ignoring things just makes it worse as one bad financial decision stacks on top of the other and eventually collapses under its own weight.

Financial problems don’t go away when ignored; they compound.

 

Feelings of fear

Many people are afraid to take on the money-related tasks necessary to achieve financial success. For instance, investing.

You’ve probably heard someone say they’re too afraid to invest because the stock market is “like gambling” or it’s “too risky.” It doesn’t matter that this belief flies in the face of the fact millions of everyday people rely on the stock market to fuel their retirement and college savings plans.

Truth is it’s easier to hide behind our fears than it is to do the work of understanding how investing works and determining if those fears are warranted.

 

Trying to keep up

The pressures from social media (and those around us) can also cause financial apathy. When you look at the “perfect lives” of friends, and even complete strangers, all day, every day, it’s easy to want the things they have.

If you just buy that bag, that dress, that car, that house, then maybe you will be as happy and perfect as they are … right?

More like, “yeah, right.

 

 

People spend beyond their means trying to keep up, and they fall deeper and deeper into debt. Too much debt often leads to an “I’m just not going to look at it” mentality.

Rather than dealing with their financial issues head-on, they push it to the back of their minds, cross their fingers, and hope it’ll all just work out.

 

Lack of education

One of our education system’s more profound failings is the lack of financial education provided to our young people. Unless you grew up in a household where money talk was commonplace, you’ve had to figure out this personal finance stuff on your own. For most, this isn’t easy.

People rarely engage in activities they find difficult even if those same things are good for them (i.e., exercise, healthy eating).

Learning about money can be a frustrating and challenging road and all too often people simply give up. A lack of financial knowledge is one of the leading contributors to financial apathy.

 

 

How to overcome financial apathy

If you’re ready to stop making bad money decisions, or no money decisions, and get your financial life in order, here are some tips to get you started.

 

Admit it

“My name is X, and I am financially apathetic…”

Okay, that sounds a little over-the-top, but you get the point.

The first step in overcoming financial apathy is to recognize and admit to it.

This is a big step.

 

Educate

Becoming financially literate is one of the best things you can do to combat fear and apathy.

Find financial bloggers, podcasters, or YouTubers you enjoy listening to and spend some time getting familiar with them.

Also, don’t feel like you need to learn everything all at once. Start small by getting the basics down and then stack new knowledge on top. Before you know it, you’ll have a solid foundation from which to build upon and address more complicated financial concepts.

 

Automate

If you don’t like to deal with the day-to-day tasks associated with managing your money, and let’s be honest, who does, then you can use automation to “set it and forget it.”

Automating positive financial behaviors such as investing for retirement or paying extra on your mortgage is often the easiest and most effective way to manage your money.

Overcoming financial apathy doesn’t require a lot of time if you harness the power of automation.

 

Apps

There are tons of useful fintech apps available to help you quickly manage your finances. You can use banking apps to set up alerts and reminders to tell you when your funds are getting low.

There are budgeting apps like You Need A Budget to help you develop a simple budget and financial management apps like Mint to get real-time feedback on your bank accounts, credit cards, and investments.

Note: As per my ‘Budgets Are Bull****’ blog, I’m not a fan of traditional “budgets,” but these tools can help you understand where your money goes, which is a critical component to making smart money decisions.

 

 

Say goodbye to financial apathy

Succumbing to financial apathy is always easier than doing something about it, but it’s hardly better. Deep down, we know our money issues won’t just “work themselves out.” We know we need to be active participants to secure our financial future.

Getting over financial apathy is about not hiding from your money issues; it’s about taking action. Push yourself to learn about the financial topics that scare you, find your money mavens to guide you, and use fintech to make managing your money as easy as possible.

Financial apathy is real, but it’s also entirely within your control. It’s been said, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. When will you take your “first step” on your journey out of financial apathy? Why not make it today?