Money Management - Heart Matters

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2. Personal Control (continued)


Let’s examine a way to take greater control over your thoughts and your beliefs by becoming your own coach.  Most solutions to problems are within ourselves.  
  
Here are some things you may wish to try to gain more personal control over your finances and your life.  

  1. Develop a personal financial plan—A plan is key to your financial health and writing down your plan and keeping it handy are key to achieving the goals in your plan. Don’t sweat it when you have to change your plan, either. Life requires nearly constant change.
  2. Identify irrational beliefs and dispute them—Write down the disputing arguments on a small card, carry it with you, and reread it periodically until the dispute comes naturally. And don’t be discouraged! Many of us must dispute our core irrational beliefs everyday for a lifetime.  They can be that strong.
  3. Begin to set goals that are S.M.A.R.T.—Specific, measureable, action-oriented, realistic and time-bound.
    1. Un-S.M.A.R.T.  Goal: “I’ll try to do something about my tax refund, because I received too much back last year.”
    2. S.M.A.R.T.  Goal: “I will talk with the bookkeeper at work on Monday and increase the number of deductions on my federal tax withholding statement, Form W-4, because I received too large a tax refund last year.”
  4. Identify a person who you believe is financially successful—This person doesn’t have to be wealthy, just successful at managing money. Model your behavior after this person. Listen carefully to how this model talks about financial matters. Consider reading books and watch TV shows about personal finances.  Talk to a friend or family member about what you are learning through Education Cents. 
  5. Become your own best friend—If you know how to nurture others, you surely can nurture yourself, right? Pretend you’re one of your children and take very good care of yourself. If you have no children, pretend you are your own best friend, whom you’d never put down or harm in any way. That means, you won’t put yourself down, be sarcastic with yourself, criticize yourself for making mistakes, or overspend to make yourself feel good.
  6. Avoid negative people—Nurture your associations with positive, optimistic people. This will also help with your modeling and with treating yourself as your best friend or child.
  7. Avoid negative mass media—Watching television has been associated with many negative emotions and behaviors: obesity, fearfulness, anger, and low achievement in school. Not only can watching television influence your emotions, it also appears to strongly influence your personal finances. In her 1999 book, Overspent American, Dr. Juliet Schor estimates that for every hour of television we watch per week, we spend an extra $200 per year. For the average American who watches 15 hours per week, that adds up to nearly $3,000 per year. Of course, the price of this overspending is often increased indebtedness. However, television can be a learning medium as well. So if you’re going to watch television, choose the shows you watch wisely.
  8. Reward yourself for sticking to your financial plan—but be careful that your reward isn’t too costly. Don’t overspend your budget to reward yourself. This is a common trick many of us play on ourselves. To avoid this pitfall, create a list of low cost, or better yet, no cost, rewards ahead of time so you don’t fall into the trap of impulse buying.

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