Applying the principle of self-care, of mindfulness, to your financial life can make a significant difference for the better—not just in how you handle your personal finances on a daily basis, but also in how you respond to different financial stressors, including unemployment and dipping into your personal savings.
Here are five ways to mindfully manage your money, that you can use today and carry with you.
1. Create an Insightful Budget
Knowing how your money ends up getting used is essential to being financially mindful—and to ultimately be financially confident. An easy yet fundamental way of tracking your spending is by creating a budget where you keep track of your income and detail your expenses. Increasing your awareness of your spending and categorizing your expenditures based on the level of importance—fixed versus variable costs—will help you become more confident with your finances. Having this greater insight into your spending will enable your ability to thoughtfully cut spending, especially during periods of increased stress and strain that could stem from filing for unemployment and volatility in the financial market.
2. Become a World Class Saver
According to a Forbes report, approximately 49% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck daily, with virtually no savings in case of emergencies.¹ Let’s face it, emergency situations can crop up at any time. And, they can happen to anyone. How it affects you mentally really depends on how much you’ve prepared for it financially. Creating a fund—that’s separate from your personal retirement savings—with a minimum of six to twelve months of expenses for emergencies like job losses, health issues, and accidents can take you from being concerned about your finances to feeling more confident about your future and financial well-being.
3. Educate Your Way to Financial Zen
If managing your money is cause for stress, don’t worry because you’re not the only one. Money management is tough for most Americans. The saying knowledge is power is right: educating yourself about the current economic situation and investigating your options is crucial to financial preparedness. The most financially confident Americans place an emphasis on learning more about fundamental financial concepts and products. Since you’re here reading this now, kudos to you, as you’re already on your way! ²
4. Breathe Before You Spend
You may be finding yourself turning to online shopping during this time, even the act of purchasing things can be mindful. Take the time to mindfully go through your cart. Ask yourself if it’s something you need—a necessity—or if it’s just something you want. This will help your mind and your wallet, as oftentimes, this can make all the difference in the cost of your final bill. By leaving items in your cart for 24 hours you will have the time to take a breath and consider whether your hard-earned dollars are best spent on those items.
5. Find a Financial Yogi to Guide You
While taking the time for self-care as you self-isolate will considerably help you emotionally and mentally navigate these tough financial times, so can having an open line of communication with a financial professional. Leveraging a relationship, like a financial professional can help you “offload” financial stress. They can provide you with sound financial guidance and access to tools that can help you keep your long-term goals on track, across all market conditions.
Remember, it’s okay to not have the answers to everything.
Mindfulness, which brings your focus into the present moment, helps in developing and maintaining positive mental health. Learning to become mindful during tough financial times can be a surprisingly effective preventative measure when uncertainty reigns supreme, and can even help you break bad habits. A direct correlation exists between your finances and emotional well-being, and learning how to proactively handle your finances is key to mitigating stress that can naturally stem from adjustments in the market and your circumstances. Learning how to be both decisive and mindful when it comes your finances is an integral part of dealing with change. You got this.
Brought to you by The Guardian Network © 2020. The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America®, New York, NY
2020-101574 Exp. 5/2022
¹ Retooling Your Budget For COVID-19? 5 Smart Steps To Take Now, Forbes, March 27 2020
² 2016 The Guardian Study of Financial and Emotional Confidence™