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Wednesday, October 6, 2010 - Stressing Out Over Money

Posted by Gail | Filed under Life Lessons

If there’s one thing I can guarantee it is that if you pick up the reins of your financial life you’ll feel less stress. People are always stopping me to tell me just how fabulous they feel now that they’re doing something instead of twisting in the wind. So if you’re sick and tired of feeling sick and tired of your money problems, then maybe today’s the day you do something different.

If you’ve got a whack of debt – and our debt levels are rising faster than our incomes – you know that buying pretty much anything you want even when you don’t have the cash to pay for it comes with a huge price-tag: stress. Spending the credit you have on plastic or through a line of credit is only delaying the consequences of “not enough money.” Ultimately you’re going to have to pay back all that money you borrowed. So rather than stressing out about it, do something: create a debt repayment plan; find a way to make more money to pay off the debt; stop spending money.

If your PSR (personal savings rate) is smaller than a gnat or completely non-existent you’re in plenty of company. Not good company, mind you. Saving nothing now is a sure way to have nothing later. Sadly, you won’t even know how tight a spot you’ve put yourself in until you’ve got no space left to turn around. The only way to shake off the inertia of not saving is to start saving. And it doesn’t have to be a lot. I’m sure if you really put your mind to it you could come up with $50 a month. It’s a start. Get started.

If you have no emergency fund, or if you’ve bought that Tall Tale that a line of credit can be an emergency fund, it’s no wonder you can’t sleep at night. Since most people live to within a hair’s breadth of their income, just a small slip would be enough to put you into a fix. One in four people say they couldn’t deal with a $5000 emergency. One in ten couldn’t handle a $500 emergency. And two-thirds of people 18-34 say they’d be in trouble if their paycheques were delayed by a week. Wow! Talk about stress. The only way to cope with life’s unforeseen miss-steps is to have some money in the bank. I’m talking cold hard cash.

If you’re all tied up in knots about the gyrations in the stock market, maybe you should be in the stock market. Investing comes with risks. Some of them seem less frightful, but every single investment has some risk attached. You have to gage how much risk you can manage and then choose investments that don’t leave you holding your breath. My new book, Never Too Late, which will be out in January can help you to decide exactly what types of investments best suit you. If you can’t wait until then, read everything you can lay your hands on about risk tolerance and investment time horizon.

If you’ve bought into the demographic scare – boomers are a huge demographic force and their retirement will put the economy into a tail-spin – I can help assuage some of that fear right now.

Yes, the boomers are a huge force – almost 10 million large in Canada. But the Baby Busts born between 1967 and 1979 (5.4 mil) and the Echoes born between 1980 and 1995 (6.9 mil) aren’t exactly small potatoes. Between them they are bigger than the Boomers. So chill out. There will be plenty of economic power spread across our kids and their kids… and their kids’ kids. Don’t get all gloomy and doomy about this. There are some things you have control over, and some you don’t. Focus on the things you CAN do.

The cure for stress is “action”. Do something. Don’t just sit, wringing your hands and staring at your navel. Learn. Plan. Act. Take control of your money and your life. Develop some good financial habits and you’ll reap the peace of mind that comes from doing the right thing.

Visit Gails website: http://gailvazoxlade.com/blog/archives/2048
 

posted in News at Wed, 06 Oct 2010 16:39:20 -0600



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