You’ve been wanting to start optimizing your finances - saving for retirement in a smart way, refinancing your home, rolling over that old 401k - but maybe you’ve been encountering all kinds of … stuff… standing in the way. I’ve worked with literally thousands of people and I know that a lot of that … stuff …can lead to money shame. Which isn’t particularly helpful because shame never helped anyone move forward on something that feels unfamiliar or daunting! I dig much deeper into this (and share 6 baby steps you can take towards optimizing your finances) in this podcast episode.
Surprising Things That Are Holding You Back From Optimizing Your Finances
Not understanding what’s REALLY holding you back from getting your money in order
Beyond the practical stuff, why haven’t you gotten started on this if you know it’s something you want to do? If you’re only thinking about optimizing your money because you think it’s something you SHOULD do, then double check whether it’s something you need to do at all!
I’ve already talked a bit about fear in earlier episodes, but in the context of actually making money moves, that fear is mostly about being afraid of making a huge mistake. Usually, we’re afraid of repeating a past experience, but when we really dig into these experiences, we discover that there’s not a whole lot we could have done to change that outcome anyway.
For example, maybe you’re afraid the housing market is going to crash right after you buy your house.
Maybe you’re afraid that you’ll lose your job if we ever actually enter a recession or the market will fall as soon as you make your first investment. These are all things that happen and there’s actually nothing you can do to stop it. So if you’re worried about the housing market, just make sure you’re buying a house you’d really want to live in no matter the current value. If you truly think your job is at risk, then there are some specific money defensive moves you could be taking.
If you’re worried about the market crashing, well, that happens! That’s why you don’t want to invest money in the market that you’ll need in less than 10 years, which is more than enough time to ride the wave and see it bounce back.
Procrastination via perfectionism
Whoooo-eeee, does perfectionism have its claws in us! So many of us feel we have to know the exact perfect amount we can afford to put away each month before we can start saving. Or we have to feel confident that we are picking the exact perfect investment before we can start investing. Or we need to have the exact perfect budget that projects exactly how much we will spend each month on dining out, Target runs, personal care and the dog walker while also setting aside the perfect amount to save ahead for bigger things like trips, a new car, your best friend’s wedding and the other unknowns that could come up. Which, of course, we want to perfectly predict. You see how that’s just not possible, right? Life happens! Unexpected expenses arise! Stocks go up and down and interest rates change!
Plain old lack of confidence or knowledge about how to manage money (Shameless plug: this is something I help with in my one-on-one coaching!) People go to Fidelity.com to open an account but they have no idea how to answer the questions that are being asked or they freak out because there are just so many terms that they don’t fully understand. I totally get this and I’ve been there, too! Or maybe you tried to work with a financial professional before and they talked over you, didn’t understand your life goals, nudged you towards financial approaches that didn’t feel right, or didn’t explain themselves clearly. And that experience shook any money confidence you had. The very good news is: All of this is figure-out-able. You can make the time to get honest with yourself about what’s holding you back from optimizing your finances, you can start taking steps in the right direction. You can release the goal of financial perfection and know that it is - quite literally - impossible. You can seek out information and grow your knowledge base so you feel more confident in your money.
Listen to the whole podcast episode here or get in touch about 1:1 coaching here!