Being around my family the past couple days has made me realize how hard it is to be around my family.
Are you feeling the same?
Money has come up in conversation about 284 times…each encounter more awkward, frustrating and stilted than the last.
The holidays can be a time of such stress and anxiety – the time that we need financial peace the most.
So, for those of you who are experiencing negative feelings around money, here are some quick techniques to relieve some of that stress.
1. Look at the numbers.
Some days I wake up rich. I eye the Kate Spade purses in the window of Nordstrom on my walk to work. I’m gonna’ buy one of those, I think. Why not? I’m rich.
Some days I wake up poor. I watch the mile-meter in my car as I drive to the commuter train station. 3.6 miles!!! That’s like 36 cents in gas! And it’s not even 8AM yet. I’ve got to start riding my bike to the train, I think. I could save $3.60 a week!
My point is, our emotions deceive us. Our feelings of prosperity change. But the numbers don’t lie. The numbers are the one thing you can count on to always tell you the truth about your financial situation.
Rip a blank page out of a notebook and list:
– Your paycheck (if you earnings fluctuate, write down your income for the past 3 months).
– Cash in your wallet, underwear drawer, under your mattress, or in your car cup holder.
– Bank accounts (list each one separately)
– Retirement funds (your 401K and Roth IRA)
– Investment accounts (mutual, stocks, bonds, etc)
– Value of your house if you own it (find an estimate on Redfin or Zillow) minus the amount you owe on it. (if it’s a negative number, write it down).
– Value of your car if you own it (find an estimate on Kelly Blue Book). If you owe money on it, subtract that, and write down the remainder. (if it’s a negative number, write it down.)
Take a look at the numbers. Eye those numbers the way you’ve been eyeing the iPhone 6.
Do you know how much is in your retirement fund?
Do you know exactly how much your Internet / cable bill is?
How much you spent on eating out in 2014?
2. Invite your partner to have a money date.
It’s complete bullshit that there isn’t a word for a money date.
There’s a word for a meeting to discuss jobs (interview), to talk about ideas (brainstorm session), to discuss what your in-laws said to you during dinner (fighting), to complain about your significant other (bitch-fest), to eat yourself sick (carb-load), to roll a joint and listen to music (Coachella), but there isn’t a single word to describe what happens when you sit down with the person you love most in the world and say, “baby, let’s talk about our money.”
One day, when I’m having an exceptionally good-joke day (not compatible with a good-hair day), I’m going to make one up, and trademark it…but until then, I’ll call it a money date.
Here are some key tips to setting up a money date:
– Pick a private location
– Don’t have it at home
– Don’t have it today
– Pick a fun activity to do beforehand
– Don’t make plans for afterwards
3. Don’t say anything.
A couple weeks ago, I read an article about how meditating every day for 8 weeks will give you a super-brain.
So I decided I wanted to meditate everyday.
Immediately, I decided that A should also meditate everyday. If it’s good for me, it should be good for him, right? I had just seen the light and realized that meditating was the only thing standing between me and complete brilliance and bliss. So, why was he resisting? I spent the 10 minutes I had set aside for meditating trying to convince him that his resistance to meditation was ruining his life, AND MINE!
So often, when we get an idea clenched between our teeth, our initial impulse is to regurgitate it on the laps of everyone around us.
Resist telling your significant other that “things are changing around here, bucko.” Or, “we need to get on top of our finances, stat!”
Yesterday, you weren’t thinking about money. You weren’t motivated to change. You didn’t want to talk about budgets. Today you do.
Your spouse might be equally excited, or they might still be in yesterday’s mindset.
Let them come to today’s realizations on their own.