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May 13, 2022

How to be more meaningful with money

May diary

How does money make you feel?

For some, thinking about their finances makes them feel stressed, and watching the news can make things worse.

Inflation, stock market volatility and the cost of living crisis is enough to make anyone feel anxious.

Well, we’ve got some ideas that might ease your anxieties and help you to focus on what really matters.

Each spring Action for Happiness releases its Meaningful May calendar.

The calendar includes daily suggestions designed to help people find more purpose and fulfilment in their lives.

Day one instructs the reader to make a list of the things that matter most to them and why.

Day 31 suggests finding three reasons to be hopeful for the future.

While the Action For Happiness’ calendar isn’t inherently money-related, as financial planners we couldn’t help but make connections between these lessons and our approach to financial planning.

Let’s take a look at how Meaningful May might help you add more purpose and fulfilment to your life.

Make a list of what matters most to you and why

Start your journey by making a list of what matters most to you and why.

Take numbers and bank balances out of the equation for a moment. How do you want to spend your time? What gives you purpose? Which activities would you miss most if you were no longer able to do them?

Perhaps you want to go for a walk along the beach each day or spend more time with your grandchildren.

Maybe you want to write a novel, but day-to-day errands keep getting in the way.

Do you want to travel more but you can’t help but make excuses not to?

By making a list of what matters most to you and why, you can gain clarity and a greater sense of direction.

Rather than spending time and money on things that add little to your life, you can focus on the things that really are important to you.

Focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t do

Do you sometimes struggle to turn off the news?

Do you find yourself scrolling through social media for hours, unable to tear yourself away even though it doesn’t make you feel good?

During times of political, social and economic uncertainty, it’s only natural to let the news consume you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or worried, it can be helpful to focus on what you can control rather than what you can’t.

Control the controllables.

You can’t stop inflation, but you can save and invest for the future.

You can’t control the stock market, but you can build a diverse portfolio with your attitude to risk in mind.

You can’t do anything about the war in Ukraine, but you can donate to relevant charities if you want to help.

You can’t single-handedly reverse climate change.

But as we mentioned in a previous blog, your money has the power to change the world.

By choosing to take a more sustainable approach to your investment, you can continue to grow your wealth while helping companies with a commitment to a brighter future.

Take the first step towards an important goal, however small

We’re often asked questions such as ‘when can I afford to stop working’ and ‘how much do I need to retire?’

Sensible financial planning can answer these questions for you, helping you to start taking steps towards your dreams, rather than focusing too much on the final destination and the potential difficulties of getting there.

Whether you want to become debt-free, buy your forever home, or retire a millionaire, thinking about the end goal can be daunting. For some people, it can even be discouraging.

We can help you break-down the steps required to meet your goals, into bit-size chunks -so that you can achieve your financial wellbeing without feeling overwhelmed or out of your depth.

Improving your financial planning tends to be a marathon, not a sprint. It’s about forming good habits that can be sustained over a long period of time, rather than aiming for a quick win which gives you an immediate solution.

Patience is rewarded.

Look around for things that bring you a sense of awe and wonder

Whether you spend your time worrying about work, your health or the state of the economy, don’t forget to appreciate those things that bring you a sense of awe and wonder.

It’s easy to get so caught up in the struggles of day-to-day life that we forget that there’s a huge world out there to be explored.

Many people dream of travelling the globe, but they make excuses not to. They convince themselves that once they retire, they’ll finally go on that cruise or drive from New York to California.

But the future is not guaranteed so make the most of the present.

Book yourself that trip. As soon as you get back from that one, book another. You don’t have to travel far. St Paul’s Cathedral, Stonehenge or Arthur’s Seat could give you all the awe and wonder you need.

May 13, 2022