How we interact with money is a deeply personal relationship that is born from a compilation of emotional and practical interactions with stored value (money) as it relates to our lives. We earn, save, and spend money based on how we value certain aspects of life: material items, travel, experiences, education, entertainment, and time.
Each person views money differently and therefore it can affect a person’s perception of worth, level of stress, personal relationships, and more.
Here are a few pieces of advice that can help in your personal journey of deciding what the right balance is for your situation:
PRIORITIZE YOUR COMMITMENTS
Prioritize your most important personal and financial commitments. Create a long list of personal and financial categories that you view as goals that need to be addressed in order for you to feel fulfilled in your life. Understand that there are categories that can’t be forgotten for another day, such as savings/emergency fund, debt payment responsibilities, investments, and stress relief (gym membership, vacation day, monthly babysitter fund, therapy session etc.). Once you have your long list, take time to prioritize each personal and financial category until you have a top three of each. Focus on your top six in terms of prioritizing personal and financial category goals interconnectedly without forgetting about the rest of your long list if you have excess cash flow to allocate some months.
ORGANIZE YOUR LIFE
Organize your life so that you are better able to meet your goals after having prioritized them. Determine if you need to make new connections within the community, find a different stress outlet, set up or alter savings and investment accounts, research travel destinations, take a class on tax preparation, or rearrange your work schedule to have more time at home. Devote equal time between both personal and financial goals so one side of your list isn’t getting all of the attention. This will help increase the likelihood that you are able to stick to your new balancing act as you’ll look forward to spending time on some more than others.
STRATEGIZE YOUR PLAN
Strategize how your plan may impact your current life as well as the potential it has to alter your future life. Be flexible in terms of what takes precedence some months over others. You might be ready to book your next adventure when the water heater breaks in your home; or, you may find that the housing market is too expensive for you to purchase this year and you’ll wait for a pull back. Also strategize how you will accomplish your goals and what your process will be. Some people directly send a portion of each paycheck to a savings account and a spend account. Some people prefer all money be deposited into their bank account first and then allocate it to line items on their budget. Find what works for you and implement it.
Taking practical steps to balance our personal and financial lives can help us better enjoy life’s luxuries. If we’ve already created and implemented a plan to get student debt paid off in three years instead of five, we can enjoy the beach vacation or extra concert tickets. Likewise, if we hit our savings goal, we can drop a second job to afford more personal time off. Creating a balancing act specific to your situation can help decrease guilt around other decisions, allowing for more peace of mind.