If, like me, you’ve recently found yourself with some extra time on your hands, here are a few things you could do to feel financially accomplished.
“She believed she could, so she did.” – R.S. Grey, Author
With everything that has changed in such a short time, understanding your financial situation is even more important. But it’s one of those things that many women consider frustrating, intimidating or boring. Let’s flip that mindset and start viewing it as empowering.
In the curriculum I created for women, I take them through my proprietary process, the Six Pillars to Financial Empowerment. I wanted to provide some simple takeaways from each Pillar that you could apply right now.
“No one is you, and that is your SUPERPOWER.” – Elyse Santilli, Life Coach
What are some of the money values and beliefs you grew up hearing? How are they impacting you today?
“Marry a rich man.” That’s what my father told me over and over growing up. He would follow up with, “It’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as it is a poor man.” His second piece of wisdom was “Go into sales, there’s money to be had in sales.” The message was clear – money was good, money would make my life better. Maybe you heard a similar message. Or maybe you heard the complete opposite - money is bad, rich people are greedy.
Looking for a conversation starter with someone you’re suddenly spending WAY more time with? Ask them about the stories they remember hearing growing up. Share yours. Talk about the differences or similarities. You may have some fun “aha” moments.
“Outside of your comfort zone is where the magic begins.” – Anonymous
What’s your destination? What is it you want to achieve with your wealth? When was the last time you stopped to think about what’s important to you? Take some time to dream and then set the goals and steps to make those dreams reality.
WRITE IT DOWN! Neuroscience suggests that if we write down our goals, we are more likely to follow through. A different part of the brain lights up when you put pen to paper. Ask a loved one to do the same and then compare notes. Are you headed in the same direction?
“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” – Julia Child, Chef
Do you know how much your home is worth? How much debt you have? How much money is in your investment accounts? How much you need to retire? It’s difficult to arrive at your destination if you don’t know your starting point.
Your assets are the value of your home, investments, retirement accounts, savings – everything you own.
Your liabilities are the balances on your mortgage, vehicles, credit cards – everything you owe.
Your assets minus your liabilities equals your net worth. This is the indicator of how wealthy you are financially. Know your number now - and what you want it to look like in the future.
But don’t confuse this with your self-worth. Write down what makes you special, what makes you unique.
“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.” – Tony Robbins, Author, Public Speaker, Life Coach
Do you know where your money’s going? I’m not a big fan of the “b” word – budget. I think people have a hard time sticking with them – it’s a lot like a diet. Automating your savings is a great alternative, so the money gets tucked away and you don’t even see it.
But I do think it’s valuable to look at how you’re spending your money periodically. Take this time to look through your credit card expenses. You might be surprised to find some forgotten subscriptions – I know I have a few… What changes can, and maybe should, you be making right now? Get others on board with the plan.
“I’m nicer when I like my outfit.” – Anonymous.
Do you understand the difference between a stock and a bond? Asset allocation and diversification? I love investments, but I appreciate that not everyone thinks it’s as much fun as I do. I often hear others say investments are boring, scary or intimidating. However, it’s something everyone needs to understand – at least some of the basics.
There are some fantastic books and podcasts available that could help you move forward and get more comfortable. Take the time to learn more. I created a “Financial Happiness Quiz” that can be found on my website (www.ellegantwealth.com). It provides some insights and resources that could be valuable right now. Find out if you are Fiscally Challenged or a Financial Superstar!
Understand how your portfolio is invested. When we experience a rising market like we’ve had the past 11 years, it’s easy to think we can tolerate risk. When significant volatility enters the picture, our view can change. You want to remain calm and steady. Typically, staying with the long-term plan you have in place is the best path. But as we move back into a more “normal” state, be prepared to revisit, with your Financial Advisor, if that is the best plan for you going forward.
“If you think taking care of yourself is selfish, change your mind.” – Ann Richards, former Governor of Texas.
Are your financial documents a mess? If something happened to you, would someone else be able to step in and follow the crumbs you’ve left behind? Don’t send your family on a scavenger hunt.
Take the time to get organized. Provide a roadmap. Be as detailed as possible. Nobody knows what you know. You’ll want someone to be able to pay bills, find important documents, understand your wishes.
Then communicate. Talk to family members. Tell them where this is being kept and what you want to have happen. Maybe now is the time to have that conversation with your parents, your children, your significant other.