I work for Nav.it because I believe everyone is capable of navigating their personal finances in a smart, efficient, positive and savvy way. It’s the Wealth Warrior within all of us waiting to be released. In many ways, I am that Nav.it Warrior! I’ve packed a lot of life into 25ish years and I’ve figured out how to meet each new challenge in creative ways that have kept me (mostly) on track with my financial and career goals. I am confident; I own it! I have no money fears!
The Reality of Personal Finances
However I, like most people, have my moments of doubt. All of us at Nav.it have days or moments when we struggle with doubts, fears or anxieties. Life is complicated and there are barriers to reaching our goals or having a balanced life, both emotionally and financially! That’s why we need to Nav.it.
I often get that familiar, sneaky “you’re not good enough” feeling about my personal finances, my financial goals, and my financial planning skills. Finances don’t come naturally to me and I’m not a big fan of math, so when I open up my bank account to plan (especially after paying rent!), I sometimes feel discouraged.
When the financial “scaries” take hold, it can be hard to pull yourself out of the mental tailspin of the “I’m not good enough at saving, investing, planning” thoughts. But at Nav.it when these times occur, we say: keep pushing. Feel the fear, acknowledge your insecurity and then keep moving. You’re doing the best you can do, so don’t be too hard on yourself, and most assuredly, don’t give up.
To help in these moments, here are some of the tools I use to curb my financial anxieties:
List What You’re Good At.
I know the whole gratitude list is really trendy to the point of cliché right now, but in this case maybe all this woo woo can serve a good purpose! When I start to get anxious about my finances, it calms my nerves to write down, or make a mental list, of 3 to 5 things I’m good at. They don’t all have to be money related, but it helps if you pick one money related skill you feel good about. It’s a great way to reset your brain and remind yourself that money isn’t everything, and that right now, in that moment, you are ok!
Save a Tiny Amount.
When you feel like your financial goals are unreachable and you start to worry about the future, save a little. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money. Deposit $20 to your savings account right then and there! It will feel good and you won’t miss that extra $20 dollars in your pocket.
Do Something Fun!
Thinking about money can be exhausting. I try to reenergize by doing something fun that doesn’t cost me money. I might go for a run or visit a new part of town to take some photographs. Listening to music is always a great option. Diving into a project that takes your mind off of the bad thoughts can help you reset so you can be productive when you do decide to tackle your financial to-do list.
Review Your Assets.
Take a look at what you do have. I often find that when I get into a mental tailspin about my finances, I’m thinking about what I don’t have. Flipping the script and reviewing exactly how much money I have in bank or in my investment porfolios, or looking at my surroudings in terms of my material wealth (car, furniture, cool art). This reminds me that my money will continue to grow if I keep up the good financial habits that I’ve already created. Since Nav.it tries to take a global perspective, I also realize how lucky I am to have been born in this country where I have the opportunity to grow my wealth in our financial system..so perspective is key.
Do the ‘Read and Walk Away’ Move.
At Nav.it we continually say knowledge is power, and reading about how other people nav. their finances gives you the minimum understanding, and ideally inspiration, to nav. yours. If I’m not sure what to do about a certain (financial) situation I usually do a couple of hours of research, read as much as I can on the subject and then walk away to let the information sink in. Start with the basics (www.thefinancialdiet.com is a good one) and then work your way up from there.
Once I feel more informed, I revisit my finances when I’m good and ready with a new perspective. I don’t force decisions on myself because I am nervous. Everyone is different, so everyone’s financial management style will be different. Find what works for you to reduce your financial anxiety and remember to take the advice you want to use and leave what doesn’t work for you on the table –it’s your path, find your own way of moving forward, and be proud of it.
Ask for Help.
If you have a financial mentor who you trust, talk out your concerns with that person. Sometimes it helps to externalize our anxieties with someone who knows us. They may be able to quell your concerns and give you financial advice that will help you actively address your worries. If you don’t know anyone to ask, there are a million* financial bloggers out there that do respond to fan mail with advice and information.
*yes, I’m exaggerating, more like less than a hundred
Personal finances are just that: personal. Saving up for something you want, whether it is money to start your own business, take a trip, buy a home, or just to build your personal wealth is hard work. It is easy to get down on yourself when you are struggling to balance saving, reality, and living life to the fullest. Step over your money fears. Take a deep breath and give yourself a break! You will get there. If you are reading this post, I’m sure you are Nav.ing it better than you think!