There are several reasons for this. First of all, money can be a source of stress. We’re sure you’re well aware of how crunching big numbers in your head can keep you awake into the small hours of the morning. Or how not knowing whether you can afford something you really want can fill your life with uncertainty.
Secondly, some aspects of finance can seem rather boring. To the untrained eye, the daily performance of the FTSE, foreign currency exchange and bond markets can look intimidating. While we find the numbers quite interesting, we do understand that this isn’t for everyone.
We think the best way to fall in love with your finances is to get a bit creative. It helps to really understand the relationship you already have with money so you know what you’re dealing with. As with a partner, you have to really get to know them before you fall in love. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to ‘break the ice’ with your finances:
What’s the most fun, frivolous thing you’ve ever bought?
Answering this should help you get a handle on whether you’re someone who likes to splash out from time to time, or if you prefer to sacrifice a bit of enjoyment for personal security. If you have made any such purchases, do you consider them to have been worth it, or do you find yourself regretting that you hadn’t spent the money a little more practically? The answer to this could provide some guidance if you have the opportunity to make similar purchases in the future.
Would you like to have more money? If so, how much more?
If you take pride in your pay packet, then skip to the next section. If you’d like a bit more money in your pocket, think about what you would do with it. Pay off debts, a mortgage? Or go on holiday, buy a new car, a bigger house? If you set yourself a reasonable goal that is achievable within a 12-month, 2-year or even 5-year timescale, then you’ll more likely appreciate those tiny percentage rises in your salary, or the savings that mortgage overpayments make, or the cash in your pocket after switching to a cheaper energy provider. It all adds up, and it all gets you closer to your goal.
What’s your dream retirement scenario?
Looking at what you want in retirement will let you know how much you need to prioritise saving for retirement. If you plan on living adventurously you’ll need to save considerably more than if you think you’ll be happy having a quiet retirement. Trips of a lifetime don’t come cheap, so the sooner you start saving and investing, the more you’ll be able to do.
Like all long-term relationships, your relationship with your finances won’t always be easy. Good relationships take work, but the rewards are more than worth it.