Stress Busters #1 Finances

Finances Causing You Stress?

Chances are, that like most people, your finances may be causing you to feel stress at this time of year.

By about this time, the credit card statements start rolling in, detailing how much we “saved” on those sales that just seemed too tempting to resist before Christmas.

If that wasn’t bad enough, we start to hear rumours about RRSP season coming up, and advertisements alerting us to “make sure we take FULL advantage” of our contribution ceilings.

When a lot of us are feeling like we are looking up from the financial basement that is the holidays, and maybe hoping if we are lucky, to scrape up enough money to get away for a sunny winter break, maxing out those RRSP contributions might as well be like winning the Powerball for a lot of us!

It can all add up to one thing: Financial Stress!

Who You Gonna Call? Stress Busters!!!

At this point, we have a few options we can follow:

  • Do nothing. Hope that things will miraculously right themselves (Powerball option)
  • Spend even more, and dig ourselves even deeper.
  • Become unconscious and numb ourselves out, and hope that things will be better by next Christmas.
  • Take a financial inventory and survey the damage. Yikes! As in consciously sneaking up on our financial position, and counting all the chips, marbles, beans, or lack thereof, whatever you choose to call it.
  • Return Christmas presents. NO! That probably won’t work. Besides, too late!
  • Make a budget. ARGHHH!!! Oh God! Not that! Anything but that! What else can we do? Please, there must be something!
  • Consult a financial adviser. Wait a second! Isn’t that like seeing someone whose job it is to professionally prepare a budget for you? I’m not having any of it, some may say. We love our freedom, err, debt, err, lack of ability to do what we want when we want, way too much to have someone we don’t even know tell us what we can, and can not spend!
  • Save?  OMG! This is getting worse, you might be thinking. At this point you might find yourself wondering, “Is it really true that you can’t cross the border with a Powerball ticket? Who do I know who lives in Washington state?”

What Next?

At this point, some might be thinking, there are no original ideas there!

It’s all been tried before.

Looking at how much I owe? And what I make?

Are you kidding me?

This is supposed to help me deal with stress, not depress me! 

Next thing I know, you are going to tell me to go ask for a raise! God forbid, that went out with the 90’s didn’t it?

Budgeting?

Didn’t we discuss this already?

Everybody knows that the price of things keep going up and up. And with the Canadian dollar nearly at record lows, some people are talking about paying $9 for cauliflower!

Why would I want to keep track of what I can barely afford right now, let alone when the price goes up higher?

And besides, I tried it 2 years ago, and it all went down the drain when I got back from Club Med and my American Express bill came in! That was the end of my great budget experiment.

Okay, so I am getting the impression that you are not much interested in the concept of budgeting?

NO! Next unpopular option please!

Savings?

I just knew you weren’t finished with that one yet. Had a feeling you might trot that one out again.

Do I have to really take the time to tell you again that I can’t even afford to make ends meet with what I have, let alone hear you are wanting me to put aside something, for a supposed rainy day?

This is the west coast! It’s practically ALWAYS a rainy day!

I need money every day. All of my money! All of the time! How can I possibly afford to save anything? This saving thing that you are so hopped up on can’t possibly work.

Is that all that you’ve got???

What If There Were Another Way?

What other way? What else is left?

Why don’t you just let me be, and let me sit and watch the Canucks teeter towards almost making the playoffs, and be done with this money stuff once and for all. It’s starting to stress me out!

Will you just hear me out for a second? I think I might actually have a financial stress buster for you. And besides, it’s not like you’re going to miss a goal by the Canucks or anything. Those went out about 3 years ago I think.

This better be good! You’ve got five more minutes. Ryan Miller just got hurt yet again, and they’re trying to fly up a goalie from Moose Jaw, so the game is delayed.

Pay Yourself First!

What the heck is that???

A lot of people don’t know what it means, but essentially what it is, is that….

Hey! Just get to it, the backup goalie is taking Uber from the airport.

Alright! Such impatience! Here goes…

The reason why you are likely poor, err, have more month left over than cash, is that you keep paying everybody, including the government before yourself!

Well, I have bills, and there are taxes to pay. Are you suggesting that I skip out on taxes and go to jail? Is that your financial stress buster plan???

Nooooo!  Not at all! What I am suggesting, is that you talk to a financial adviser, err, set aside some money, and plunk it down every pay, directly into an RRSP. That way, the money comes off of your pay directly. You won’t even miss it. And best of all, if you save, err, set aside money for your winter vacation, then you won’t have to worry about how you are going to  on holiday AND put money away for your RRSP!

And best of all… the more you set aside for your RRSP, the more money you will get back from your taxes. And then you can take that money and invest it, err, put it into savings, err, you get the idea right?

Yeah, yeah, I get it! Why didn’t you tell me about this “Pay Yourself First” stuff in the beginning? Why did you have to waste my time with all of that stuff about budgets, and savings, and investing? Yikes!

Oh, and there’s one other thing…

I’m seriously afraid of what that might be. Hurry up, make it quick! The backup goalie is finally in the net, and the Sedins have a streak going. Three consecutive games with shots on net.

Okay, here goes… if you follow this plan, err, do this thing called “Paying Yourself First”, every year for as long as you are working, and you invest it, err, give it to someone you trust who can make a lot more money for you, then chances are that you might be able to not only retire, but go live somewhere where all the traded Canucks players go.

Florida?

Right! I knew you were getting the hang of this!

Okay, so tell me about this… what was it, this stress buster plan of yours again. Somehow I get some money and I give it to some guy, and he arranges that I end up in Florida somehow, is that it?

Something like that. I’ll fill you in on a few of the finer details after the game. Three whole games with a shot on net you say? Amazing!

 

Note: For an alternative version, err, more professional rendition of the “Pay Yourself First” philosophy to money management, you may want to  consult David Bach’s bestselling books Start Late Finish Rich or The Automatic Millionaire.

 

 

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