Money can be a hugely stressful component in life, but it does not have to be. Studies have shown that over 65% of Americans are losing sleep over money, and here in New Zealand, we are considered to be among the world’s worst savers. No doubt there are many sleepless nights being had here too.
Tackling your personal finances head on can help overcome the shame we associate with this part of our lives. After all, money is just a tool we can use to help us reach our goals.
Let’s get this conversation going and lets get a better nights sleep!
Below is an example of a basic template for a Wealth Mind map that I have recently created to track my own personal financial situation. After the purchase of my first home (no avocados for me thanks) I needed to ensure I was being tighter on the purse strings for any unexpected household expenses now I am no longer renting and paying someone else’s mortgage. If you are a visual person this is a great tool to stick to your fridge, check in, adjust and always refer back to.
On my own Map I also included things like fixed expenses I classified as ‘investments in myself’ so my Toastmasters Club membership, and my Gym membership, as these too are contributing to my overall goals.
While it is good to have those big, long term goals in the pipeline, it is important to start small and look at the short term. For example, paying off short term debt like a credit card, personal loan, or saving for a particular item like a new laptop or phone.
For me this was unsubscribing to emails for retail outlets, one day deals and online stores, so there was no temptation for spontaneous spending. I cancelled memberships that weren’t a necessity, joined the library, carpooled to work and shopped around for the best utility providers to ensure I was getting the best deals. Small changes build up over time and these small savings are a start to get your finances back on track. Every little bit counts.
Also make sure you treat yourself too. If buying one coffee a day makes you happy then buy that one coffee a day. Life is to be enjoyed so don’t make yourself miserable in this process!
These could be Health, Family, Career etc. There is no correct answer; choose what is right for you. Under each of these headings, write how you show up to these areas in your life and how you wish these areas to look in the short to long term. Where does money fit in? How can money help you achieve your goals in each of these areas?
Now take a holistic approach and think about how you see your life in five years time? What steps can you take now financially to get you there? What would your Wealth Map to look like then? Map it out!
It may seem an uncomfortable process at first but creating a Wealth Map is a great first step to tackling your finances head on and working towards your short and long term goals. Let’s change the negative discourse around money and start using it as a tool to get us to where we want to be.