I’m a realist. I realize that we only have so much energy and focus that we can reasonably put toward our financial lives. Our financial stability is vital to our ability to focus on OTHER areas of our lives. It’s really kinda weird. Appropriately, all we really want to do is ignore money and live our lives independent of our financial realities. I know that I feel that way. I know I don’t want financial stress, financial limits, or financial issues. And no matter how hard I try to create a perfect financial life, guided by the respect I have for the resources I’ve earned, I still run out of financial energy a few times per year.
Did you sense this post switchover from being about you to being about me? Yeah, me too. So here I am, as transparent with you as ever. Nothing is wrong with me financially, but I’m simply out of gas. I poked and prodded and even preened my financial life so much, that I’m finding it hard to care. I’m not discouraged by this. We all run out of steam. I’ve long thought my advice to the masses works because I take my own financial life so seriously. I’m never sitting on top of mountain, sending my advice down to you in the valley. I’m living this advice with you. And I’m tired. Let’s recharge our batteries together.
What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander. I guess this makes me the goose. Here’s what I’m going to do to recharge my battery. Here is how I’m going to encourage myself to care again.
1. Take inventory of past victories– I’m going to take some time to retrace some of my financial accomplishments. This isn’t spiking the football. This isn’t patting myself on the back. This isn’t an exercise in materialism. The goal is conjure up the feelings that I felt when things were going swimmingly. How did it feel when I paid off both cars, just two months apart? How did I feel when I opened my kids’ college funds? How did I feel when I wrote a check for a gigantic home improvement project? Sometimes the mundane accomplishments of discipline and resourceful living aren’t enough to keep the battery charged. It’s important to think back to your proudest moments and find inspiration in them.
2. Give money to charity- Want to feel like you’ve got plenty of money? Give some away. If this whole financial journey ends up being about me, in the end, I’m going to be sadly disappointed. When I developed The Four Financial Stages, I wrote it to emphasize the importance of focusing our resources toward others. When you give money to charity correctly, you’re able to leverage the juju into something great. I need juju right now. When you give to charity, you put your money where your mouth is. This is almost always a good thing.
3. Turn to my partner- Sure, I’m out of juice, but is my partner? I doubt it. I’m going to turn to Mrs. Planner and ask, “what’s important about money to you, right now?” Who knows what she’ll say. That’s why I’m asking. I want her thoughts and ideas to rush into my brain. When your battery is empty, you are less likely to have preconceived notions about others’ thoughts. I’m going to let her lead. I’m going to find joy and inspiration in helping her achieve something that she wants to achieve with our financial resources.
Yep, I just let you inside. You already know this, but you and I are exactly the same. I’m constantly reminding us both that money isn’t about money or math. Money is about discipline, behavior, and heart. You might temporarily be out of money, discipline, behavior, and/or heart. But you need to recharge the battery. Your money focus must return.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.