Money, (or lack of it), makes many people very unhappy, so what ways are there to help money make us happy again? After all, money is only a tool, it's of no use in itself.
Whether you have very little, or a lot of money, basic principles always apply, and they are worth a reminder:
- Understand where your money goes and what it is doing
Maintaining a good understanding of what money is coming in, going out, and where and why will help you sleep at night. It will also help you to make good decisions quickly, like whether something is affordable.
See what online tools are available, some banks for example offer free tools that will break down what your income and expenditure looks like using online tools.
1. Stay within your means
It's easy to think this applies to those with less money, but not so; even those with incomes so high they seem extraordinary to the rest of us can vastly overspend. If it's not sustainable, spending needs to be reduced, it will only store up problems.
This doesn't mean going without; scaling back can be a project, but spending less doesn't mean being unhappy, it'll be quite the opposite when a stable financial position is achieved.
2. Have a plan
If you don't know what you're trying to achieve with your money, you won't know whether you've achieved it. Whether it's saving for a purchase, or retirement, or another big expense, making a plan to get there is the only realistic way of achieving a financial goal.
There's a real sense of satisfaction in reaching a goal. One which spending on credit and repaying will never achieve. Without long term planning, it's impossible to reach the goals you need to. A key one is to think about retirement; what do you dream of doing, and how much will it cost? With a plan, you can work backwards at how much you might need to save to achieve it.
3. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
There are many people who can help (it's what Money Week is about after all), but if the internet can't give you an answer, a Financial Adviser can be an excellent option. After all, if finance were simple, then financial advisers wouldn't exist.
4. Use your money for good...
Investing in a more sustainable, and ethical way can make a real difference to the world we live in. Knowing that you are doing something positive with the funds you are saving or investing can give real peace of mind, so ask where your pension funds are invested, or whether your bank is an ethical one.
Investing like this doesn't necessarily mean lower returns or higher charges. It's important to get advice from a professional who understands what you are looking for; for whether global warming or human rights, or any other topic is the most important to you. This is an area of ever growing importance, and can give a real positive benefit to the way you feel about saving or investing.
We all know the old adage that money doesn't always bring happiness, but we can all act to stop it making us unhappy.
Worrying over money isn't healthy, especially long term. It's vital to address all of these issues as soon as possible, and get onto a solid financial footing. Talking about money is the best first step.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.