And I’m talking finances.
For some reason, one of the obvious factors of becoming a single income household, the halving of the number of earners putting in to the family coffers, had not registered on my radar of anything, until that dip in income started to bite.
There is no pressure like financial pressure as it can feel like an ever descending spiral. This can lead to worry and depression which can itself lead to mood swings or some other harmful coping mechanism.
So the lead picture is Santa squaring up for a fight – you get the analogy; Christmas is coming and that can present a real financial squeeze, if you’re not prepared.
Speaking from experience, I’ve done the splurge for the festive season thing. It’s short term gain for long term pain. Historically, I would do this weird thing where I would pay most of my bills, before spending what I wanted to spend. This eventually led to problems, as you can imagine. When bills aren’t paid, companies (rightly) grow concerned and want what is owed them.
Then the letters start
Dealing with them is easier said than done and they are extremely easy to ignore. However, problems rarely go away if ignored so if you find yourself in this uncomfortable situation, give your creditors a call and explain your situation. It’s in all of your best interests to come to a solution.
This post isn’t about that; it’s about this
I want to talk to you about projecting forwards, as prevention is better than cure. I enlisted the help of a dear friend of mine, Zane Groves, an entrepreneur who happens to be a bit of a financial whizz. Good job really as he’s a financial advisor.
He owned his own mortgage consultancy at age 26 but more impressively, manage to grow his business when large institutions were folding as the world experienced the deepest recession in living memory.
He’s a planner and he’s come up with a short and sharp, 6 point plan for a financially fit future. Over to him.
1) What are your goals.
This may seem very obvious but have a plan. This can be from saving for a holiday to a deposit for your first home. Once you know what your goal is, plan how you’re going to get there and the sooner the better!
2) Make saving a habit.
We often say “I can’t afford to save” or I’ve only got £50 to save, what difference will that make. We let me tell you, you’ve been saving for that rainy day for 2 years and the boiler breaks, guess what you’ve got the money so you can pay for it immediately and not get into debt with your flexible friend. If you’re lucky enough not to need it then great!
3) Work pensions.
Pay! your employer does (UK law) and the younger you start the better. The average pension pot at retirement currently stands at £50,000 which isn’t going to go far. If you want a comfortable retirement save as much as you can afford. The same if you’re self-employed.
4) Protect your income.
In most cases spending 1% of your annual salary will protect the other 99%. Don’t rely on the state, incapacity benefit is currently around £88 per week, try living on that one.
5) Reduce your debt.
Where ever possible try and pay down your unsecured debt and focus on the higher interest rate charging vehicles.
6) Invest in yourself.
If finance really isn’t your bag, employ someone who’s it is. You wouldn’t after all get a baker to look after your car so find a suitably qualified financial advisor and let them work with you.
He doesn’t mince his words. As a thank you to him I’ve included a link to his website througout the post.
I want to quickly dig a little deeper on some of his points, which if you look at them again, have one key personal factor involved; self-discipline.
The success depends on your ability to delay your gratification; want it now will lead you back down the rabbit hole.
My plan for Christmas this year is to splurge, in a controlled manner of course. I’m in a position where I can guarantee overtime for most of 2018. My plan is to put in some extra hours and ‘snowball’ my most expensive debt away. It’ll be tough, but it’s the trade off for running up the cards over 2017.
Please remember this; over the festive period your children ultimately want your time.
Looking back to my childhood, I can’t remember if I ever got that train set, or the Evil Kenevil Rocket Edition, but I can remember being loved, warm and safe.
I can remember spending time decorating the tree and I can remember falling asleep on the sofa, full of food and watching Christmas films. Relax and be happy!
If you are struggling with debt, please seek help; there are some great free resources available online.
If you’re in the market for financial products as well as good advice, please check out Mr Zane Grove’s website