Did you ever think of yourself as a "Financial Management Planner?" Most likely, your reaction to hearing that title is to picture it on the door of a mahogany-paneled office containing a large desk. You probably do not work as a financial consultant, money management expert or even as a bank teller. If you are like a lot of people, you even might recall working as a cashier and needing a calculator to add up the change for a $3.99 sale. Money just may not be your niche. But that being said, you are your own financial management planner; you are the money manager of your own finances. Even if you do feel inadequate in this area or simply feel stressed out about making ends meet, you can still take much of the stress out of your finances by viewing yourself in this light. In particular, three simple, yet dynamic ideas that can help ease this stress and aid you in becoming a more effective money manager.
The first concept is seemingly so basic that you might be tempted to skip over it. However, do not let it slip by because sometimes reminding yourself of it is important. The concept is simply the fact that you need money to live in this world. It sounds obvious, but if you really understand the point behind that statement it can be a revolutionary catalyst in your life. When it comes to money, we all, figuratively speaking, are in the same boat. Finances and financial decisions are a major segment of life, including marriage, family and beyond. Because everyone needs money and finances, you are not dealing with unique problems. You are not alone; no matter what financial situation or difficulty you face, others have successfully dealt with the same situation. Of course, on the reverse side of this concept is the sobering reality that you are responsible for your own finances. Once this concept of money being a universal necessity really sinks in, your attitude toward finances will change. Knowing that you are personally responsible for the management of your money helps you remember that it is possible to face and correct your financial problems. There is no magic fix for these situations, but the good news is that you can actually do something to improve your financial story. The bottom line for this first concept is that there is hope for every financial situation. This helps reduce the stress of managing finances simply because it means that no situation is hopeless.
The second concept can potentially be even more life-changing. This concept simply states that you probably do not need more money. Believe it or not, in many cases financial hardships are not evidence of a need for additional funds, but simply of a need for adjustments that allow you to use what you have more efficiently. It is a fact that people who cannot properly manage a small amount of money certainly will be no more successful in managing a large amount of money. More money, in that case, would often only translate to greater mismanagement of funds. This concept requires you to put on two hats, one being that of a money manager and the other that of a financial planner. As a money manager, the main question you need to ask is what to do with the money you have -- no matter how much that is. Here is where Concept One, the one about personal responsibility, reemerges. Where did you spend your money, how much, how often, for what and when are all questions you need to be able to answer. This concept is like a doctor's prescription for bad-tasting medication. You certainly would prefer not to take the medicine, but you do so anyway since you know it will make you feel better. Once you know what you are doing with the resources you already have, you can make any necessary changes to improve your situation. Your second role as a financial planner will now come into play to work out a budget to help you properly manage your funds. Comparing your current use of your finances to your budget will help you find any changes you need to make to reduce your financial stress. If you have no experience with budget creation, you can find many different books, DVDs and even seminars to help you get started.
Concept three for taking the stress out of your finances is simple, powerful and challenging. It states that debt reduction must become a major lifetime financial goal. In many cases, if you think you have too little money, the actual problem is that you have too much debt. We live in a plastic age of easy credit, but that credit often comes at a very high price. Interest rates, finance charges and miscellaneous fees all eat up your income. Eliminating your debt also eliminates these money pits. Carrying significant high-interest debt means you are shooting yourself in the foot financially, so make it a priority to pay off these debts, starting with the smallest. To accomplish this, you must go back to budgeting and planning. Three guidelines can help you reduce your debt and its accompanying stress. First, unless absolutely necessary, do not make purchases with credit unless you pay them off each month in full. Second, limit your buying by sticking to your budget. Learn to be a smart shopper, to wait for sales and to say "no" to purchases you do not truly need. The third guideline is related to the second, and it involves your attitude. Remember that one more purchase is not going to make you any happier. There is a hidden emotional and stress price to be paid when you put yourself in debt -- plus, of course, the financial price. In the long run, eliminating debt from your life will make you happier and less stressed than owning the additional purchases.
These concepts are not a magical remedy for personal financial difficulties. However, they are common-sense ideas that have been proven effective to help reduce the worry and stress caused by managing your money.