Rob Base nailed it, life is both joy and pain, sunshine and rain. I’ve taken away two important reminders from these sad experiences. First, life is short. This certainly isn’t breaking news, but when we get wrapped up in our petty day to day problems it’s easy to forget how fragile and fleeting our time here can be. We need to wring as much happiness from each day as possible. Second, it’s not always easy being a woman. We face some unique challenges and need to be prepared for them, both emotionally and in practice.
On the surface, these two conclusions seem a bit contradictory from a financial perspective. Life is short – live every day like it’s your last! But…we need to be prepared, responsible and tough. I believe that we can marry these two ideas to build a responsible yet fulfilling future. These are my suggestions on how to strike a balance in your financial life between planning and enjoying:
- DO what gives you joy. Identify your must-haves to be happy in your day to day. Do you need to have a weekend away every month? Would you just crumble into pieces without a weekly mani/pedi? Fantastic, do it. I find the most joy in going out to dinner. It’s partially the food, but more so the opportunity to meet and talk to new people. I always learn something.
- DON’T DO what is just a reflex. Think about what you spend money on out of habit but could frankly do without, especially the things that cost a decent chunk of change – I’m not talking about cutting your daily latte. I used to buy shoes, lots and lots of shoes. So many shoes that an entire season would go by without me wearing many of them. The wake-up call came a few years ago when I counted the number of pairs of black boots I owned as I changed out my summer/winter closet. Let’s just say it was well into double digits. I could write an entire blog post about why I needed several different heel heights, wedges, flats, suede, leather, waterproof, etc., but the reality was that I was looking at a significant amount of money that wasn’t giving much return (joy) on my investment. I haven’t bought a single pair since and I can’t say it’s hurt my quality of life at all.
- DO understand how your personality impacts your money instincts. Most of us know about Myers-Briggs-style personality types, but many don’t realize that there’s a link between this type and your attitudes toward money. If you’re curious there’s a free and quick online test that will identify your personality type: www.16personalities.com. Message me the results and I’ll help you link your overall personality type with your predisposition toward money. Understanding whether you are a natural born Protector, Player, Pleaser or Planner can help you find a better balance between saving every penny to start your life on day one of retirement and counting on winning Power Ball.