Personal Finance column: Three ways to tune in a better financial frequency
As I got out of my car, the ringing of the Salvation Army bell evoked a warm smile, and I open my purse. On my way to the office, an ambulance’s siren caught my attention, and I pulled over to the side. My scheduling app rings as a meeting reminder in 15 minutes, and I spend a few moments in mindfulness to focus on engaging with my client.
We have sounds or triggers in our life that we unconsciously respond to. There is financial noise out there that can catch us off guard, eliciting emotions, and cause us to potentially make mistakes, or if responded to wisely, will lead us in the direction of true prosperity.
How do you respond to the closing bell on Wall Street of another down day in the market? How do you contend with the product enticing noise that fills our screens — popping up with another item that you “need” to have? How do you tame the cacophony of voices in your head that tell you what you “should” do, be or have?
Here are three ways to tune in, turn down what isn’t serving you and turn up the volume on what will add value to your financial life.
1. Get clear on what is truly important. What does a healthy financial life look like to you and why do you want to have one? Clarify and write down what your core values are. Financial decisions on how you bring money into your life, how you share, how and what you invest in and how you spend need to be based on your authentic self. When you make your financial decisions based on these deeply held principles, you will be less likely to make them emotionally when the world is coming at you with heated rhetoric.
2. Get clear on what you have. Yes, financial assets are important, but so are character assets. As you build on your character assets (conscientious, creative, resilient, resourceful, relational), you will find that your financial assets will grow too. As your financial assets grow over time, it is easy to lose track and intent. A 401K here, an IRA there. An insurance policy that you bought twenty years ago — what type of product is it? Is there cash value in it? How much home equity have you built? Do you have a will, trust or other estate planning pieces? Inventory what you have, where it is and why you have it.
3. Get clear on how to use what you have. Financial products purchased over time need to be reviewed to ascertain how they are working in your best interest given your life situation, the goals you are working towards or life transitions you anticipate. What life season are you in, and what current economic season are we experiencing? Are you in the accumulation phase or distribution phase, and how do your assets need to be recalibrated to work together to create beautiful music for you?
What knowledge do you want or what wisdom do you need to apply in order to navigate this increasingly complex financial world? Take a course, read a book, start a group and engage in conversation, invest in a financial life planner or other professionals. Decide what fits and rings true for you. Get yourself involved and educated.
There are several benefits as you turn up the volume in these areas. You will better manage the tension between what calls you today versus what you need for tomorrow with more clarity. You will be less likely to bail out of your positions in a market correction if you embrace your long-term goals, and are invested in a way consistent with your priorities and values. You will make financial choices that create harmony with those who are most important in your life.
Prioritize your attention and intention around money. Listen and take note. What is working and warrants strengthening? Heed the call of being proactive in your financial life, increasing your competence and building your confidence.
Danielle Howard is a Certified Financial Planner practitioner. Her office, Wealth By Design LLC, is in Basalt. Visit her at http://www.wealthbydesign4u.com. Advisory Services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research Inc., a broker/dealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Cambridge and WBD are not affiliated.
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