5 Steps To Take When You Feel Out of Alignment With Your Finances
Summer can feel like a whirlwind. Between travel, longer days, and seasonal events, your routine may feel out of whack. Often, this also correlates to feeling out of alignment with your finances or spending. Your wealth is a tool to leverage as you see fit. In some seasons of life, this may mean you’re spending differently than you normally would, or that you have heftier expenses that you’re dealing with.
However, it can feel helpful to take stock at the end of a busy season and ensure that you’re still spending in a way that feels good or amplifies your lifestyle, and that you’re moving toward goals that are in alignment with your values. Let’s talk about the five actionable steps you can take to refocus on your goals and get back on track.
#1: Lean Into the “Back To School” Energy
You may not have kids in the house anymore, and adults certainly don’t get a “school supplies” shopping list to kick start the fall season. However, you can still lean into the “back to school” energy that’s prevalent in late August to refocus your energy and clarify your priorities and financial values. Use this time to revisit your routine, and set yourself up for success both personally and financially by getting back into a comfortable daily or weekly schedule.
#2: Focus On Gratitude
It can be incredibly difficult to feel content with your financial life if you feel like you’ve lost control during a busy summer season. One good way to get back into the habit of making values-aligned decisions about your wealth is to focus on what you’re thankful for. This may sound counterintuitive, but it works.
Studies have shown that when investors feel out of control in their financial life, they tend to focus (and have anxiety about) their current financial plan. They may even be more apt to make impulse financial decisions that negatively impact their goals or portfolio growth because they’re viewing their overall financial situation negatively.
Start by jotting down a list of what you’re financially grateful for, even if it meant a departure from your initial goals or plans. For example, having the cash flow to pay for an international trip, or to cover an unexpected medical expense, is something to be grateful for – even if it forces you to “pause” progress toward other goals, or reduces the amount available for other expenses. As the old saying goes: When you focus on the good, the good gets better.
#3: Reevaluate Your Goals
As we reenter the fall season, and life’s hectic schedules return to a normal pace, it can be a good time to reevaluate or revisit your goals – personal and financial. Ask yourself a few questions, such as:
- How do I want to spend my time outside of work?
- Do I feel challenged at work, or do I need to set new goals professionally?
- Am I on track to achieve my long-term financial goals?
- Do I feel comfortable and confident in how I’m spending my resources in the short term?
Exiting the summer season may mean that your goals have shifted and changed, or you may feel like you’re on track and don’t need any major adjustments. Still, taking time to check in with yourself during the change of season can help to ensure you don’t veer too far in an unfilling direction (financially or otherwise) as you close out the year.
#4: Look At Your Spending
When you reevaluate your goals, taking a look at your spending is a natural next step. You may find that, generally, you’re happy with your lifestyle or job, and are on track to achieve long-term goals.
However, maybe you feel like small adjustments need to be made to your day-to-day spending habits. If you’ve been overspending on things like travel, you may decide to stay home and have family visit for the upcoming holidays or reduce expenses in order to funnel resources to another spending goal.
Alternatively, you might feel like your spending is generally in check, but you want to focus more on your health this season, so adjusting how much you eat out and investing in some high-quality cookbooks or a meal-delivery service might help you leverage resources to support your goals.
#5: Make Adjustments As Needed
Everyone goes through a season where they feel like their finances aren’t lining up with their goals and values. The truth is that wealth is just one of many levers you can pull in order to help you live your most fulfilling life. You’ll be making adjustments – big and small – to how you leverage your resources throughout your life. Setting up routine check-ins to help make sure you feel confident in the financial decisions you’re making can help.
Additionally, speaking with your financial planning team can help to make sure that you stay on track for your long-term goals, like retirement, without sacrificing an enjoyable life in the near term. If you have any questions about regaining your footing when it comes to your finances, reach out! We’re here to help.