I recently wrote about how money links us to happiness. I explained how it is the common thread that runs throughout all of the components of happiness. It's a hard pill to swallow for some. Yet, once you accept it and learn how to use it to your advantage, your life will feel happier, lighter and more intentional.
Healthy financial habits are a KEY component to happiness. I'm not saying you need to make boatloads of money to be happy. I'm saying that by exercising a few simple, yet powerful tools, your life will open up and be more than just about survival and stress.
When your personal financial life is in order, your stress level reduces, your access to better quality food increases (organic, well-made food is more expensive), your health benefits, you sleep better (no worries of late bills or that huge sum of credit card debt waking you up at night), you don't have to work as much OR you are able to do something you love based on the love of the work and not the pay check. If you don't have to work as much, time is freed up for spending with your family, exercising, leisure, creativity, cooking healthy meals, travel, you name it. And let's not forget, if mama's happy, everyone is happy.
This is what getting your personal financial life in order, looks like:
- Make a budget (read "cut costs")
- Pay off debt (credit cards, car loans, student loans, even your house).
- Save a 12 month emergency fund.
- Save for things like travel, activities for the kids, holidays, or simply a rainy day fund.
- Fund retirement accounts.
- Fund college savings accounts for the kids.
- Invest, if you can.
You may be gawking at the screen right now. Simple? These aren't simple! They are once you make them a habit, when you change your thinking about money. When you've made them second nature, it becomes simple to make financial decisions that will only benefit you and your family.
These take time, commitment and courage to face. These take making hard decisions and sacrifice. They can be painful and uncomfortable at first, but believe me, it pays off sooner than you think and your family's happiness will reach a level you never thought possible.
In honor of financial literacy month, I'll be posting more detailed information about getting your financial life in shape, wherever you are in life.