New York City is fun, but it’s expensive. Sometimes it can be hard to figure out what you want to spend your money on, and how you'd like to save or perhaps invest. How we feel about our spending and saving decisions, directly relates to our relationship and history with money. So how do you figure out where you stand with your money, how you got to where you are and if needed, how you can change it? As a financial advisor working in New York City, here are some of my thoughts on how to build a better relationship with your money.
1. Understand your history with money. What feelings do you have when you think about your money? Do you tense up or feel anxious? Maybe your parents fought about money and it triggers that uncomfortable feeling, or maybe your family was very private about money and the messaging was “don’t talk about it”. Maybe, there wasn’t much of it to go around and you weren't able to get that new pair of sneakers for the start of school like some of your classmates. Sometimes, helping to identify the messages we received when we were younger helps us to understand how we react to money, finance and investing today. Once we get a better picture of why we have these feelings, we can begin to change how we view money going forward.
2. Ask questions a little differently. What does money mean to you? That is a very different question than "how much money do you have". Money doesn’t define you and how much you have shouldn’t either. What should matter is how you use your money to accomplish what is important to you. Peace of mind, security, making a difference. Once you understand what money means to you, you will be better positioned to work with your money to achieve that higher purpose (remember Maslow’s theory of hierarchy?)
3. Use your money to better reflect who you are and what you value. This can mean to only purchase products and services that line up with your beliefs. Or it can mean to invest in companies or strategies that look to make an impact in your community or the world. The decision is yours and it may give you a sense of empowerment if you can consciously align how you spend your money, with what is important to you.
4. Identify causes that matter most to you. Show up to the party (literally) and attend events that raise funds or donate funds directly. Consider donating appreciated stocks versus cash and take a deep dive into your portfolio to find the position that may be the most efficient way to do this. There are so many great causes in NYC that you can get involved with. The point is to find one that matters most to you. Go deep not wide. By contributing to the causes that mean the most to you, you will be able to use your money for good. Using your money to make a positive impact may also give you a sense of purpose.
5. Work in an environment that values you and your career, and is a place where you can earn and grow your money in a positive way. Make sure that the place you are spending most of your working hours, is also a reflection of you and helps you to reach your personal goals. When we are happy and passionate about what we are doing, we are usually also financially successful.
6. Invest in You. Making decisions that help you move towards your vision to create a healthy relationship with your money. Are you making an emotional purchase? If you find yourself having a bad day and then heading to a shop, take a moment to pause and think about why you are making the purchase. Is it bringing you closer or further away from your goals? It is okay to treat yourself as long as it lines up with your bank account and your end goal. Establishing a healthy relationship with your money doesn’t mean it isn’t okay to have fun along the way! It's important to remember that your financial health is an important part of your overall wellness strategy. When you don’t have a handle on your finances or you aren’t sure if you are making all the right money moves, the uncertainty can cause stress. If you know what you have you will feel empowered, and able to create a plan that will help you reach your money goals and more.
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