As promised, here’s the next instalment in my guide to achieving Financial Health. If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend reading the previous 2 steps, before you continue with this article.
Improving Your Financial Health – Step 3
To have choice
In “Step 1″ I mentioned a number of phrases that encapsulate what “Financial Health” or “Freedom” meant to me, I have included them below.
Full awareness – (of my Financial Position)
The ability to be open and honest – (with my family)
To have choice – (where we spend our money)
Ability to handle “surprises”
Guilt Free Spending
In this post, we are looking at the 3rd phrase, To Have Choice – (where we spend our money)
Grasping this idea, is one of the most single most freeing things you can do for yourself and your financial health situation. Take your “choice” back when it comes to finances & spending.
I have personally found it invaluable and see the amazing effect it has on others, as they get to grips with the concept and implement it over time. The truth is, you can have most anything you want, but consciously knowing what you REALLY want is key. The choices you then make come from a more balanced place.
Let’s face it, it is rare, unless you are in the top 1-5% financially, that you can have everything! Having to make choices is inevitable, what I want to be sure of is that we FEEL we really have a choice. That’s the freedom side. Having choice is aligned very closely to peoples idea of happiness, for many it’s seen as rite! Often, particularly with financial decisions, we feel bound to take a particular path. We feel there is no choice!
Some things we want are pure fantasy right ? Some things are a necessity, I HAVE to have it/do it/spend it. NO! I want to share with you an example from my own life. One which shaped a number of decisions I’ve made since, and not just in my financial health planning.
Say hello to your inner child
I’ll talk about my “inner child” here. It’s a concept a number of people are familiar with, in this case it’s that little part of you that says “I want xxxxxx“. I’d always tried to quiet that voice, to shut it up or ignore it, saying, “you can’t have that!”, “don’t be ridiculous!”, “how can we afford that!” etc etc etc. What I found was that voice just got stronger, “I really want xxxxxx” or “I’ve just got to have xxxxxx“, and on and on, the cycle went. I would feel dissatisfied, I never had enough, life wasn’t “fair”. Any of this sound familiar ? The more I tried to push that voice down the more I would want to do whatever “it” was, and the more dissatisfied I became. I had to break the cycle.
When it happened for me, it was a revelation, and I’ve been grateful for it every since. The concept was introduced to me by my Guru, in the UK, about 8 or so years ago. I kept saying “I really want an Aston Martin DB9”, I had pictures of it on my computer wallpaper, I knew the stats, I was even upset when I heard they TRASHED 6 or so of them making the remake of the Bond film – Casino Royale. They could have given me just one of them! Although I had this dream, it didn’t make me happy, I didn’t believe I would really ever be able to get it. I DIDN’T HAVE THE CHOICE.
My guru challenged me to fully accept the desires my inner child had. To “work with it” to help it FULLY investigate the actuality of having an Aston Martin. I was uncomfortable with this approach at first, but I went with it. I truly looked into what it would take to have one. What would it cost, insurance, purchase, lease costs, fuel, maintenance etc. I got quite excited, I was taking this seriously and you know, it turned out I COULD have an Aston Martin. It did come with some choices. However, even before making any decisions, I noticed something…
My desire to have an Aston Martin had diminished significantly
The more of a possibility it became, the less strongly I felt about getting one. To this day, I still like the idea of owning the prestigious Aston, but I am totally at peace with whether I have one, or not. In fact, I would go as far as to say I rarely think about getting one.
Now I had a choice… I could actively choose one thing over another. Once I was fully aware of all the facts, the need diminished, I could make a decision I would be at peace with.
The other thing that happened at the time, was I realized I no longer resented the things I felt were holding me back. I was no longer trapped by the life I had, by the restrictions I had felt were placed on me. It became clear, although I could have had the car, I would have to sell the house & live in the car. The house was our family home, I love my family, therefore (and this is important) as my desire had subsided, I could fully understand and enjoy the life I already had. No resentment, with full ownership for the choices I made.
I have reminded myself about this example many times in my life, and eventually it becomes an ingrained attitude. Your car is off the road, you feel like you have no choice but to spend all this money to get it fixed. Do you feel angry? “NOW I have to spend $$$$ getting this car fixed.” Truth is you don’t. You can not get the car fixed! You can walk, take public transport, ask friends for a ride. But you want the convenience of driving yourself… so now you WANT to get the car fixed. There is a huge difference, a difference in how you feel.
The multi pot budgeting approach, then helps further with this concept. You put money away for things you need/want and are a priority for you. Then when they happen, you have ALREADY made the choice to spend the money, after all, you saved specifically for this situation. Even less stress.
- You always have choice, you just have to be at peace with the outcome
- Always pay attention to your inner child, ignore it at your peril
- My Multi pot budget approach is built on choice, on understanding what is important to you & then working to provide it