I've got 99 problems, but having less than $99 in my bank account isn't one of them. Anymore.
One of the greatest struggles of my adult life has been money. In my early adult years, I spent too much compared to what I made, I didn't save, and I got myself in over my head with debt before I even knew what had happened. So in my late twenties, when I was trying to make better decisions, I still felt it was impossible to keep money coming in and not so much going out. As soon as I was able to deposit money to my account, I had to pay a bill or buy groceries for an empty fridge. My bank balance was constantly frighteningly and embarrassingly low, and more than once I had to buy groceries in spare change.
I knew it was no way to live, but everything I "tried" seemed to make no difference in my living-check-to-check rut. So how did I get out of this wretched pattern? Well, the answer is different for everyone. Our needs and lifestyles are different. But I can tell you that there are two people you need to let into this possibly dark and stormy side of your life if you want to let some light in, and with support from these two people you will see a difference in your finances.
The Money Friend
About a year ago, I recognized that one of my very best friends understood my struggles. She was in a place where she was beginning to see some success in her career and her situation was changing, as mine was (hopefully) beginning to do as well. Money can be a very private thing that shouldn't be discussed among all your girlfriends, but this one friend and I talked about being a sounding board for each other as we began to reach for new goals - in income, in spending and in investments. Having someone to talk to made a huge difference in feeling like I could finally make some big changes and that they would stick.
The Money Coach
Don't let the financial advisor stereotype mislead you (i.e. your parents' friend, or the very salesman-like guy who somehow got your number and calls weekly...). The best criteria for choosing this person in your life is that YOU feel comfortable with him/her. Of course, this person needs to know his/her stuff, but if you don't feel like you can say what you need to say and be heard, or that you'll receive advice that truly applies to your life and lifestyle, then you won't be working with the right person and the relationship will be short lived and the results nil. The other hesitation people have, and I know because I did too, is that it costs money - money I didn't have - to get help in the first place. Let me assure you, the investment you make now, however large it feels, in creating a better financial future, will return to you quickly and save you months or years of heartache and struggle. Just like with anything, when you need help, ask for help.
In short, in the last year I've cut my debt in half, increased my income, my average account balance is higher and I live more comfortably and most importantly - without fear!
We give money a lot of power. It can define our happiness, stress levels and even our self worth. Money might be something you keep really quiet. Like Kimberly, you might feel embarrassed that you aren't further along in your saving or believe that you should be able to do it on your own. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, feel behind on your savings goals or experiencing stress around your money life, you are not alone.
As a money coach, it's my mission to demystify the world of money and personal finance. I will empower to make conscious and intentional financial decisions. With me as your partner, we will create a harmonious relationship with money that maximizes your happiness, defines a vision of success and achieves results beyond what was once thought possible.
You might think “if I’m trying to save money, why should I spend money to hire you?! Why spend money to save money?!” I get it. It sounds ironic to make an investment in your financial wellness when money is scarce or you are trying to save as much as you can. If a money coach can get you out of debt, help you achieve your savings goals for your dream wedding or first home and reduces your stress tremendously, does it really matter how much you paid? You are still coming out far and above financially where you would have been if you continued doing it on your own.
If you've been struggling through something on your own, let 2015 be the time you really make a change and let an expert help you. Professional help can get you to the finish line in a fraction of the time with a whole lot less struggle. Think of it as a gift to yourself to really reach those big goals in the New Year! You don’t have to do it alone.
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