What to do with your finances when 'life' happensMar 23, 2023
In this week's Video I talk about what to do with your finances when life stumbles happen.
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Hey and welcome to Mel's Money Musings.
Now you probably noticed that I am congested to the max at the moment. At least it's not dripping like a tap anymore, but it led me to think about you and what do you do when there are times when you are just not feeling it, where there are stresses when life happens.
Certainly for Lawsie and I, so she had Covid again last week, absolutely unexpectedly, which put our plans all just threw them up again. I was sick this week even though I had masterclasses and speaking gigs and more. Over Christmas, during downtime, I was incredibly unwell for a month. We both had Covid last year, like during times when life just happens and you feel like you just constantly, it's one thing after another.
My question is, what do you do? Because certainly with your finances it's really easy when life is good, when things are just smooth sailing, but when life happens, whether that's through illness, whether that's through losing your job or divorce, but even if it's just through the inflation and interest rate rises, then the question is how do you react to that?
And I wanna suggest that there are a few things that I think you could be doing to make sure that you are able to keep going. In the same way that when I first started this happening, I instantly went onto my ArmaForce. I started sucking down manuka honey and lemon drinks. I started drinking water more than ever before. I moved from doing HiT classes to just gentle strolls.
Now I knew how to behave physically in order to get through this. The same is true of your finances. It's understanding what - see even brain fog, it's trying to deal with that - which means I've got notes today, which I never have, but it's understanding how will you get through the short term in order to hit your long-term goals.
So if you are in a position financially where you're feeling a little bit buffered or that life just seems to continually be happening, then let me tell you a few different things that you could be doing.
First of all, when it comes to stresses, it's about being aware of them. I'm a fan of having a stress log so that you know, if it's everything from that customer or that argument with your spouse, that instantly makes you grab handfuls of sugar and jump onto online spend or just behave in a way that is out of alignment with the goals that you are wanting to achieve.
And instead it's recognising that behaviour and asking the question, what could it swap? What could I swap it for instead? Do you need to go and do a boxing session at the gym? Do you need to go for a run? Do you need to jump on the phone and debrief with a friend? Do you need to create memes and send them out to your friends going? Ah, I can't believe the day that I'm having. Do you need to go and do you put a dollar limit on it when that happens? We had someone inside the My Financial Adulting Plan that's got a $20 limit and when that happens, which she said happens about once a month with a client or something, she goes and buys a $20 bunch of flowers, puts it on a desk and she feels like she's got that dopamine hit and she's looking at something pretty. So it's putting boundaries around what am I going to do when those trigger moments for me happen? Recognising what I do at the moment and then what am I going to swap them to?
But it's also looking after and protecting you in the short term whilst we're looking after us in the long term. So it's protecting us in the short term while we're looking after the long term. I call that the urgent and the important. The urgent is just getting you well in the short term, but the long term is making sure you are well long term so that you can go the distance.
So in the short term, it might mean making sure everything's automated. So there's just simply another life admin off your plate. It's making sure that you're doing things regularly so that every week, you're having a check-in, that you're doing your best year yet bits and bobs so that you know the goal you are working towards for this year and you know the activities you should be doing. It's making sure that you're listening to finance podcasts or you're in communities like mine inside the My Financial Adulting Plan. So you've got that regular, this is what we are doing.
But protecting is also making sure that we've got good boundaries in place. We're not following people on socials that are causing us to overspend. We're not just operating out of the one bank account, but we've got multiple bank accounts so that when we dip into our everyday account and that's gone, we go, well, well that's it. And it's now rice and beans for me for the rest of the week, and our bills are in that account and our savings are in that account and protected. It's setting up your life so that it protects your finances from when those moments happen.
But it's also moving forward. It's making sure that even during times when life happens, you are still able to move forward. What that moving forward might look like might include making sure that your investing is automated, so it's just happening in the background and you are not having to think about it. It might be that you put yourself challenges where you go, what, I know life has happened at the moment, but I'm giving myself an $833 challenge so that I have to find $833 over the next 30 days. That will then give me that agency around, I can do this and also give me some cash to put towards this fire that's just turned up. And I've put a free webinar together last year called 50 Ways to Find 10K in 12 months. That's where the $833 came from. I'll put a link below so that you can sign up for that if you're interested.
But the idea is when times of stress happen, when those moments happen, when life happens, it's protecting you in the short term. It's having a plan for that, but it's also making sure you can continue to move forward.