Financial Advice You Need to Know
Money is like the wind. You can only feel it when it’s moving. Sometimes it’s a light refreshing breeze of income and outflow. Other times its blowing away so quickly you can’t see straight. And that’s a difficult way to live.
To live a more fulfilling day to day economically and to achieve financial stability, here are six pieces of financial advice you need to know.
Avoid “Hangry” Decisions
The portmanteau of angry and hungry, known as “hangry,” can make us insufferable to be around. It can also affect the quality of our decision making. Ever gone grocery shopping while hungry or slightly irritable? You probably buy all sorts of items you normally don’t on a full stomach.
According to one study published in the Journal of Neuron, the sensory perception of larval zebrafish shifted when hungry, meaning a hungry fish was more likely to go after “risky” targets than a satisfied one. But we don’t necessarily need a study to know that hanger can be detrimental to clear thinking. Making financial decisions while in a diminished, scattered state of mind will never yield positive consequences. In other words, it’s vital that we make clear and rational decisions when it comes to personal finances.
Know Your Weak Spot
We’re all guilty of spending weak spots. Chances are you know yours. Maybe it’s all that space you bought or rent. Or the car you drive that’s beyond your means. Whatever it is, reflect on what you’re trying to compensate for. The same story’s true if you feel the need to go out every weekend and spend a bunch of money. Or perhaps you have a costly hobby that you overindulge in, like impulsively purchasing redundant outdoor gear or constantly traveling in luxury. Whatever your financial kryptonite is, know how much it’s costing you and consider if you could cut back and still get the same enjoyment.
Keep Financially Responsible Company
No matter how strong the individual, the company kept will eventually rub off. In the case of money management, you could have strong intentions of frugality and discipline, but if your social group is financially frivolous, you’ll make bad financial decisions simply by being around them.
You don’t have to change your friends merely because you want to be good with money, but it is worth looking at the people in your life and their respective financial discipline; spend more time among the people who exercise solid financial habits.
Avoid Excessive Holiday Spending
We should all strive to be the type of person who loves giving gifts. However, like many things, giving gifts is really a quality over quantity thing. Why give five gifts, when you can show your care, thought and love with one? More gifts only dilute the act of giving. Avoiding excessive holiday spending is one of the top things financial thought leader Andrew Housser preaches, and it’s because over-indulgent holiday spending is ubiquitous in our culture, regardless of income level and overall financial standing.
An argument can be made for giving kids multiple gifts, but in that case, there’s little reason to give several relatively expensive gifts to a child. Kids often get excited about the random, inexpensive stuff anyway. So, do the opposite: give many gifts of less value so they can enjoy the unwrapping process.
Understand You Get What You Pay For
This one can be sensitive. A quality made pair of shoes might last 10 years compared to a few seasons for a cheap pair. However, the quality pair will cost considerably more. If money’s tight, cash flow might not be available to purchase the quality pair.
But this rule does hold up with most life purchases, so look for relatively inexpensive opportunities to exercise this rule. Here’s a handy list of affordable items that still fit the buy-it-for-life mantra.
The last, unofficial, piece of advice would be to consult with a financial advisor on how to make your current situation work long-term. Money blogs, finance books, and expert advice can still be helpful, but it won’t be geared toward your financial position. A financial advisor can look at your income and expenses along with your long-term financial goals to strategize the best savings and investing strategy to make it happen.