The point of this post: being busy doesn’t excuse you from having to pay attention to your money.
You know that feeling you get when your to do list is so long that you have to turn pages to see it all? When you’re overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work that your brain shuts down and you play Plants vs. Zombies instead of checking on your budget or re-balancing your portfolio?
Folks, I’m a busy woman. In addition to running a financial planning business, I’m also running (after, that is) three young children. Let’s not even mention the fact that my husband also runs his own company, and I am – you guessed it- heavily involved in the finances of said business.
This is not to moan. Believe me, I’m thankful every.single.day that our plans to build the life we want around our businesses have come together, and – hyperbole alert – I’d rather die than go back to working for a boss who doesn’t care one whit about the clients they talk so much about serving.
So, no moaning. Just stating a fact: I’m as busy as the rest of the world.
Like you, when I’m overwhelmed by my to do list, it’s tempting to ignore the bank statements and let our money get messy, and I do this for a living. Not only that, I chose to do this for a living because working with, thinking about, and planning for money gets me all jazzed up.
If a financial planner who is deeply interested in all things money gets fatigued by the thought of performing routine financial maintenance sometimes, how much worse is it for those of you who find money boring, frustrating, or confusing?
Every word I’ve written of this post so far is to demonstrate my empathy with your busy life, and to extend some understanding your way; some “two travellers on the same road” vibing, as it were. But now I’m going to get mean.
Just because it’s a task you find tedious, routine financial maintenance cannot be ignored.
“But I make enough money…”
“We’re never in overdraft…”
“We don’t carry a balance on our credit cards…”
“…so we don’t need to watch our money as closely as people who are less well off than we are.”
To that I say: bull hockey.
If you are chugging merrily through life without an accurate idea of where your money is going and what it’s doing while you’re not looking at it, then you are a fool, and you’re asking for one of two things to happen:
Thing one: you’re asking to pay a big (huge) lost opportunity cost. What kind of life could you have built by now if you’d started paying attention five years ago?
Thing two: you’re asking for something really (really) bad to happen, and you’re making it worse. By not bothering to figure out how your money works now, when things are good, you’re making it infinitely more difficult to recover in the future, if (when?) things go bad.
To lots of very smart people, money is a tedious chore, easily avoided.
Making your money do what you want it to do is more important than most things.
If you need help getting your money figured out, get it. If you need time to concentrate, make it.
Just stop ignoring it.
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