Why Do I worry about money when I have enough? Good question. Worrying about money is all too common amongst nearly all household incomes. Whether six-figure salary plus or basic survival income levels, we all worry to some extent about money. With the endless questions, do we have enough?
Many of our money worries come from uncertainty around earning it, keeping it, growing and spending it.
What is the best way to make the most money in the least amount of time balancing our interests, morals and motivations? One job might pay a massive salary but clearly clashes with the way you see the world or is making you do things that are not worth the money.
What is the best way of growing your money other than not sending any of it? Should we save or invest and in what and when and how?
How could we spend our money to get the maxim enjoyment out of it now and in the future? Without ending up in poverty now or in our old age.
But why worry about money when you think you have enough?
It’s because of the uncertainty of knowing how much is enough.
Enough for what?
- to be mortgage-free
- to have a luxury yacht
- to send your children to university
- to take a year out (ideally travel but potentially just sit in your home – thanks COIVD)
- To retire at ….. (fill in your desired age)
- To make work optional ASAP and financially free.
All of these ideas and potentially many more all require us to figure out how much is enough.
If you have money left over at the end of the month, you might well have enough for the moment.
If you can grow the amount left over at the end of the month, then with time you might start to accumulate more than enough. If you keep growing that surplus then things like the above might come within your reach.
If you’re in the lucky position that you can already do any of the above or even all of the above you might well have enough. And yet still you’re worrying about money. Why is this?
Here are a few ways to stop worrying about money when you have enough.
1. Comparison is the root of all unhappiness
You might not know if you’ve got enough because you’re always looking at your neighbour/Instagram /Facebook friends who seemed to have it all. Spending most of the time in the sun smiling looking happy or at least happier than you.
How are they affording this? I thought they were broke? (there probably not affording it, they’re affording the payments or someone else is for them)
The key here is to run your own race. Live your own life. Enjoy it the way that you want to enjoy it. Do your best not to compare yourself to other peoples highlight reels.
It’s not going to be comfortable looking at your friends endless holiday snaps, but you have to think is what they’ve got what you want? Or is it just what you think you want?
Being happy with what you have got is the key to being happy with your self and your financial situation.
It doesn’t mean that you have to give up on all the things that you would like. It just means that you should enjoy what you have right now while you work for the things you want in the future.
2. Know your numbers
If you know and check your numbers, then you should know if you’ve got enough. Being on top of your numbers, knowing where your money is and how much you have will have a calming effect on your worries about money.
Being able to track your income and expenditure will give you great clarity on where you sit financially, whether that’s good, bad or ugly.
This knowledge will help you understand where you are right now and where you want to be if it’s not enough right now.
Shining a light on your finances will help you understand whether you need to be more careful with your money or not.
The more you can automate your finances, paying for things by direct debit using an app to track your money will all help with the day-to-day management of your money. Let an app take the strain of categorising, tracking and reviewing where your money is going. Apps nowadays will help you understand if you are running a deficit and what income you are be bringing in.
The easier the management becomes the more time you have to concentrate on other things, and the less time you need to spend on admin or worry.
Automating your finances will play a massive part in reducing the stress and worry around your money. It will make the process much less labour intensive and prevent you from procrastinating as it’s all done for you at the touch of a button.
3. Avoid Lifestyle inflation
As you get older, a widespread trait is to slowly but surely increase your lifestyle.
Can you remember when you were younger, and a few pints and a bag of chips was all you needed for a good night out? Now you need a full sit down three-course meal, wine, theatre and a taxi ride home just to feel normal.
The 40 inch TV now seems so small it has to be 60 if not 80. The brand name clothes now need to be more exclusive. The once £10 haircut now has to be at least £30 (obviously I’m talking about a man’s haircut here, at least double it for a woman’s)
Your lifestyle creep and the costs of meeting it are part of what makes knowing how much is enough problematic.
If each year your costs keep going up it becomes more challenging to know how much you will need next year. Saving for it is going to be tricky especially if your salary is not going up as fast.
Finding a comfortable level of lifestyle for you and sticking to it could be an essential way to worry less about money.
Removing this lifestyle uncertainty could help you understand that you have enough.
4. Avoid disaster, prevent or mitigate the worst happening
It may not be until shocks actually happen that you realise life is unpredictable and that things can go wrong that can’t be put back together that quickly.
Having a range of insurances in place can help prevent financial disaster or at least mitigate some of the worst effects.
Death is obviously one of the most inconvenient things that can happen. It can leave those left behind with a financial hole that can’t easily be filled. Having life insurance in place can take away the worry of what would happen if the worst happens and how those left behind would be able to cope.
Illness is also an area where financial problems can occur. If you or a family member are taken ill and can no longer work for a period of time, this can spiral into financial difficulties due to the loss of income. You could lose two-incomes, the ill person and the person who has to stop work to provide care.
Critical illness insurance can help mitigate the impact of this. It should pay out a lump sum to help cover the loss of income and care costs.
Income protection can also help deal with any periods out of work due to ill health paying out a monthly amount for a set period of time while you recover.
Having this regular income while you were unable to work might well prevent you from spiralling into financial difficulties. The income protection will obviously help you pay your ongoing bills while you recover.
Not having to worry about money while you are ill is highly likely to help with your recovery and Peace of Mind.
Having your own emergency fund of three to six months expenses will give you immense Peace of Mind. Knowing that you can ride out many of the likely financial challenges, redundancy, major house or car repairs or a need to move from where you are due to separation.
I’m sure you likely have home, travel and car insurance so make sure you have also insured your most valuable asset, i.e. YOU and or your primary breadwinner.
5. It’s your parent’s fault (obviously)
Whatever your parent’s attitude was to money, it has likely played a big part in the way that you think about money. Whether that has been to adopt their mindset or rebel against it.
The question now is how useful are the money lessons that you learned from your parents?
Are there any that in retrospect would be good for you to drop or adopt?
If they were penny pinchers, what are some of the advantages of this money management system and what are some of the disadvantages?
Could adopting a more frugal lifestyle help you worry less about money?
If they were big spenders, how would this attitude be useful to you now?
Did they spend money on things or on experiences, and which do you remember being the most joyful for them and you?
Thinking about how you can incorporate the good things your parents did with money and leave out the bad things might help strengthen your own money management and mindset.
If you are now a parent, your money habits and mindset are now being imprinted on your kids, so how do you want them to view your money habits?
If your children can see you using your money to have more free time to spend with friends and family to enjoy good food and company then they might well have a positive view on how to manage their own money one day.
If your children see you live within your limits, they will realise that although this may be challenging it is a way not to spend all your time worrying about money.
6. Forgive yourself; that person is long gone
I’m sure when you were young and foolish, you were young and foolish but that person has now left or at least their good looks, and their slim figure probably has.
The money mistakes you may have made in the past are exactly that in the past, and you can learn from them and move on.
You are likely an older wiser person now. You can find most things on the Internet, or you can find a financial advisor or financial coach that can help answer your financial questions or problems.
What’s even better is that you can learn from other peoples mistakes and not repeat them in your own life.
If you feel you didn’t save enough in the past, you can change that now.
If you feel you have not really understood money enough in the past, you can change that now.
If you feel you have not used your money wisely in the past, you can change that now.
Forgive yourself for past money mistakes and move on to greener pastures. Start taking control of your finances accepting where they could be better and begin making those changes today.
I’m sure you have seen friends or family or maybe even in yourself what the impact of not saving enough is. Let this be your motivation to grow the gap between your income and expenditure and to use that money to make you feel more and more financially happy.
Don’t spend your time comparing yourself to others think about your lifestyle and money needs and work towards that. Don’t look at the Joneses and wish you had their lifestyle because you have no idea what’s beneath their financial bonnet.
Know your numbers and cheque them regularly. Automating your finances through your bank account or a financial app will help you keep on top of your numbers. This way, you’ll understand where your money is going, how much you have and give you the Peace of Mind to know you have enough.
Living within your means and keeping your lifestyle within those means will significantly help with your financial Peace of Mind. Knowing that you are not stretching the boundaries of your finances with more and more lifestyle creep will again help you to know that you have enough to live a comfortable life.
You can avoid many financial disasters by putting in place a number of safety nets. Having a large emergency fund can help bridge any gaps in income. Having some insurances in place like life, critical illness and or income protection can help with any income gaps or significant shocks. All of these will help you know that you should be able to cope or that those left behind should be able to manage.
Remember, your parents taught you some valuable financial lessons. Of course, they could have been good or bad lessons; it’s up to you to learn from those triumphs and failures and adapt to your circumstances. Thinking about how your financial habits are imprinting on your kids might help you improve your money habits. Like a good horror movie, your kids are always watching you, so make it look like you know what you are doing with your money.
Forgive yourself for past mistakes and learn from them. If it was a lack of knowledge, you could improve your financial education through books podcasts and financial coaching. If it was an unwise spending decision review any future purchases with that in mind.
Try and remember what you were thinking at the time that you bought the item, what you thought it would bring you and what it actually did.
This might help you keep more of your money in your pocket (high-interest bank account).
Are there any other ways you can think of to stop worrying about money?
Please add them in the comments below
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Your Financial Ally