The good news is you can actually learn the staples of personal finance fairly easily.
1. Check in on your finances regularly, even if it makes you queasy
This above all else: Don’t treat your bank account like a spider you trap under a jar and leave marooned in the middle of the kitchen floor for three days until your roommate disposes of it. Ignoring your finances will only compound any money problems you have (and it won’t do your anxiety any favours either).
The first step in getting things back on track is actually looking at your income and expenses, even if you might not like what you see. With so many budgeting apps out there today, it’s incredibly easy to get a snapshot of where your money is going. Once you’ve tracked your spending for a few weeks, you can begin identifying patterns and finding ways to make improvements.That could be cutting expenses, earning more income, or a combination of the two. How to fix the problem is up to you — the hardest part is admitting there is one.
2. Search for painless cuts to your budget
The internet is teeming with articles offering this up as a “hack,” and promising that you’ll save thousands by eliminating your some habits.
Instead, find painless but more impactful cuts in your budget; the secret is excising something that won’t disrupt your lifestyle drastically. If you go through something that is kind of painful in the short term, you eventually habituate and you come right back up to being just as happy as you were.
3. Don’t assume your parents are right
They raised you, one of them may have birthed you and presumably since then they’ve given you bountiful advice — some wanted, some not.
Here’s the thing, though: Even if your parents are incredibly money-savvy and have built a great nest egg of their own, financial plans are not one-size-fits-all. Additionally, although the fundamentals are the same, circumstances have changed drastically since the 1970s — what worked for them might not work for you. It’s okay to seek other opinions.
4. Financial Advisors aren’t just for rich people
Personal finance isn’t intuitive, and it’s OK to need more help than the internet or this article can offer. And you can seek that help even if you’re not raking in the money.
There’s a big misconception by people that they don’t deserve professional financial advice or a financial planner until they have significant resources. Seek out someone who is willing to spend the time, and teach you the fundamentals. Because any financial planner should be thrilled to work with someone that wants to get it right from the get-go.