Money mantras are a statement or slogan repeated often and can be a guiding force to help with financial decisions.
The new year is here and everyone’s starting to narrow down their resolutions for the New Year. There are several things we can strive to do better in the New Year — eat better, lose weight or maintain a positive outlook on life. It might come as no surprise that many will make financial resolutions to improve their bank accounts and wallets. A recent study reveals “money is the second most common resolution topic for the coming new year.”
As you look back, 2020 may not have been good year for you from a financial standpoint. January 1 and the first week of the month is as good a time as ever to start fresh and improve the situation. You may not reach every single money goal you set for yourself in the new year, but if you challenge yourself to live by the following money mantras, you can have a better relationship with money.
Mantra #1: My Money Supports Happiness
We’ve heard this before, and although we acknowledge the truthfulness of this statement, some people still think money is the missing piece of the puzzle and the cure for unhappiness. Understandably, lack of money has a domino effect. If we don’t earn enough money we can’t buy the things we need. This increases stress levels, and when we’re overly stressed over money, it’s hard to walk around with a smile on our face. Money makes life easier and it can alleviate some financial stress, but it isn’t happiness. That comes from within.
“In the past 50 or 60 years, real term incomes in countries such as the USA and the UK have increased dramatically, but happiness has not kept apace. In fact, people today are considerably less happy than back then: they have less time, they are more alone,” writes Neel Burton, M.D., a psychiatrist, philosopher and writer.
Even if you do increase your income and earn more, a bigger paycheck can’t protect us from illnesses, death and family problems.
Mantra #2: I Pay Myself First
If your new year’s resolution is to build a bigger savings account, don’t just talk about it, take steps to make this happen. A bank account doesn’t increase by itself, and there are good reasons to increase your cash cushion. Adopting this money mantra can go a long way in helping you live financially well.
Nobody’s job is guaranteed and a cash reserve can help you weather financial storms. Many have realized this during the chaos of 2020. It’s important to always pay yourself — first. So, before you give a single dime to your mortgage company, electric company or your credit card company, make sure you’re putting something in a retirement account or an emergency fund for a rainy day or an opportunity. A good approach is 10% of income for retirement and 1000 for a rainy day, or 6-9 months of basic living expenses to cover periods of unemployment.
Mantra #3: I Invest in Myself
You have a choice: either be miserable and go to a job you hate everyday, or do something about an unpleasant situation. There’s no overnight fix for a frustrating job or a low-paying position, but you can invest in yourself and eventually get to where you want to be. Some people go back to school and acquire skills that help them qualify for satisfying career opportunities or better pay, and others use their talents and passions to start a business and take control of their financial future. It’s not an easy transition, but certainly doable.
There are many ways to learn new skills and connect with others doing work you want to do online. Find the places where people are connecting and networking through Facebook and Linkedin Groups or online Meetups. If you weren’t satisfied financially or career-wise in last year, then in the new year find ways to improve your career mobility.
Mantra #4: Credit is a tool
Personally, I don’t have an issue with using a credit card. Credit is a tool but not a solution. You won’t solve your issues using credit but mindful credit use can support leverage that creates wealth.
I use my credit card for the majority of purchases — primarily to earn the reward points. But I will say this: if you’re going to use a credit card regularly, make sure you’re paying off the balance in full every month. If this hasn’t been your routine, why not make it a goal in the New Year? And if you know you can’t pay off balances each month, only use cash.
Debt holds you tied to a credit card company. They control the interest rate and the fees, and both can complicate your personal finances. High minimum payments can eat away at your income and too much debt can lower your FICO credit score triggering higher interest rates. If you’re going to use credit, use it responsibly; and remember, credit cards aren’t a substitute for an emergency savings account.
Mantra #5: Simplicity Allows for More
Living simple is a hard concept for many to grasp, but if you want next year to be a better year financially, keep it simple and live within your means. The benefits of a simple life aren’t as obvious. However, if you can resist the urge to buy needlessly and accumulate stuff, you’ll always have enough money to cover your bills, plus a little extra for emergency expenses. And when you have extra money, you have options.
I know many people who keep it simple. They don’t have a lot materially, but they have plenty in the bank. A frugal mindset gives them the option to work fewer hours and still maintain their lifestyle, and they have the resources to do and buy just about whatever they want.
Mantra #6: I Am Financially Well
I have a natural tendency to always view the glass as half full. It’s my makeup and over the years I’ve learned how that’s helped me achieve financial goals in spite of the challenges. Instead of focusing on what’s not going right in my life, I focus on the positive. Reciting that I am financially well as one of my money mantras. It has given me peace of mind. It doesn’t mean I don’t difficult financial goals, but I celebrate event the smallest financial wins.
Now, if you can adopt this mantra going in the New Year, you might come to appreciate your financial standing. Sure, your situation could always be better. You might wish for less debt or more money in the bank. Regardless of where you are financially, be proud of any accomplishments you’ve made thus far. The truth is, some people are in far worst shape than you. So, rather than beat yourself up because you don’t have a six-month emergency fund, be proud of the emergency fund you do have — even if it’s only one or two month’s worth of income.
These money mantras can give you the power to change your thoughts and successfully manage your personal finances. Improving your finances and adjusting your money mindset can be challenging and it requires patience. But if you recite or review these mantras from time-to-time, you can have a better relationship with money.