There is always a short term reason to not make positive financial choices. Life now tempts us with one click shopping,  a taxi is only a few taps away and our lives are so hectic that popping out for lunch over a packed lunch has become the norm. Added to this, life seems to have continually given us signals that money is taboo.

British society teaches us  that it is bad to talk about money at home, in the work place and even with our closest friends. It’s also acceptable (even funny) to admit that you are bad at maths. Maths and money are so often filed in the same mental compartment  that is it also  OK to be bad at money? Finally , the financial industry is notorious for jargon and making things so complicated that we take two steps back rather than one step forward.

Steps to gaining financial control

So how to take your first steps towards being financially in control. The short term consequences of good money habits are rewarding and hopefully liberating. However the long term impact of financial savviness is life changing. It’s the difference between living a life where you use money to achieve the things that are important to you; that make you happy rather than money dictating the life that you should lead.

If you look “savvy” up in the dictionary it is described as: shrewd and knowledgeable; having common sense and good judgement

When it comes to money, no matter your age, the majority of people wouldn’t count themselves as ‘financially savvy’. In fact, most people make financial decisions on a day to day basis as questions about spending  present themselves, and stick their head in the sand when it comes to thinking about longer term finances. However, if you just stop for a moment, and ask your brain to think about money, what are the questions that pop into your mind? Perhaps they go something like this:

“Will I ever be out of debt?”

“How am I ever going to buy a house?”

“will I ever be able to retire?”

“Am I stuck in this job forever?”

If these questions leave you feeling stressed,, or with a feeling of dread in your  stomach, you aren’t alone. For many people, money worries are the last thing that they think about at night.  So how do we get from being financially scared to financially savvy?

What does being financially savvy matters

For me, the definition of being financially savvy is having freedom from money worries. Not just living hand to mouth, being in debt and having very little in the way of savings. It’s the freedom that comes with having the knowledge, and confidence to make sound financial decisions that can help you to build (over time) your dream life. It’s feeling comfortable talking, thinking, and doing when it comes to money, having confidence in your own abilities to manage your finances. This is good financial wellbeing.  I

Financial wellbeing, what does it mean to you?

When I have the  discussion with my clients about their financial wellbeing, very often they haven’t given it a thought.

The reason why most people haven’t thought about it, is because it is not something that we are used to doing. School and sometimes family background teaches us to get our head down and work hard regardless direction of whether the destination is actually what you want?

How many people take the first graduate job going on a meagre salary, only to realise ten years later that they are in an industry that doesn’t interest them and their income hasn’t grown the way they thought?

How many of you have followed the financial choices and career paths that would please their parents but not them? *How many of you Don’t know your own worth when it comes to the money you should be earning? – If you don’t know your own worth and the value of  your time ( after all we only have a finite amount of it) how will you build the life that you deserve?

If you are wasting the money you earn on unnecessary things or even indulging in the excess of modern life, will you ever keep up with yourself? Not just financially (debt is very draining) but also in your career, will you be trapped in a job you hate because of the pay packet?

Taking care of your financial health and wellbeing

The need to assign time to focus on self-care and personal development has become a given. How does the time that you spend on taking care of yourself compare with the time that you spend on your financial wellbeing? When so much of our mental wellbeing is tied up in our money, should we all be doing more? If you spent an hour a month nurturing your finances  for the next 12 months, how would you feel this time next year? What would be different?

This is your opportunity to take a step back and spend some time mapping out the future you want, identifying what will make you happy and how your finances can enable you to do this. This point is really important as most people look at it the other way round. Their finances dictate their life and their happiness – which to me just doesn’t make sense. Money should be the tool that you use to achieve your dreams.- not the thing that holds you back from reaching them.

As time goes by, your aims in life and the things that are important to you will change, and so too will your financial plan, so it’s important to make sure you enjoy the process along the way!

Want to learn more?

I will be running a money workshop with Found & Flourish on the 1st August where I will be coaching you through all of the above and more!

You will learn:

  • How to be financially savvy
  • Pension planning and pension schemes
  • Tax relief, what it is and how to benefit from it
  • Why financial health matters
  • How to set financial goals

By the end of this workshop, you will have a better understanding of how to get the most out of your business including tax advantages and tax relief, pension planning, financial goal setting and more.

Looking forward to seeing some of you there!

About the author

Lisa Conway-Hughes is a qualified Financial Advisor with fifteen years of experience and a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society. She also blogs and speaks publicly on financial issues. After 8 years as a financial adviser, Lisa realised that most households, no matter what their income, face very similar dilemmas when it comes to money.

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