by Ann Zuraw | Featured Contributor
How do you determine who is your financial bully, accurately? Most bullies utilize intimidation, power, guilt or control to get another person to do what they want regardless of the other person’s feelings.
Can you stop the financial bully in your life? You can, but first, you need to identify precisely who this bully is in your life.
Is it yourself, your partner, boss, parents, adult kids, siblings, friends, or possibly a coworker?
When you spend money, do you hear an inner or outer voice telling you:
- “I cannot afford it.”
- “I’m running out of money. ”
- “I’m extravagant.”
- “I shouldn’t buy it- it’s is too expensive. ”
- “Is my spouse (outside judge-financial bully) going to find out and get mad at me. ”
Where do these voices come from? How can you begin to feel confident about your financial situation and stop the internal or external financial bully?
- Take an honest inventory of all your assets and liabilities. This means your house, car, student loans, and mortgage, etc.
- What are you spending? What percentage of your income is it? Are you able to save for retirement and pay off your bills?
- Do you have a problem with spending and why are you depending on this other person to get yourself under control?
- Look at the financial bully, even if it is you. Try to understand why is there an issue? Perhaps your spouse is not working and depends on you for support, or maybe she/he is feeling guilty. Do you really know how “good” she/he is with money? Should you have to justify yourself? NO!
We find when people take responsibility and make conscious decisions with their money, they will make wiser choices. This helps alleviate wasted time and energy spent worrying about every penny. Be proactive in your financial resolve and stop the bullying by following these practices:
1) Put it in perspective. Is whatever you are spending a short-term or long-term pattern?
2) Make a long-term cash flow projection. You may be earning less because of the cost of kids, starting your business or in the short term. However, if you look at the long-term, your earnings will grow, and expenses should decline over time.
3) Ask for help or hire it. You are most likely paying for a financial advisor through your 401k, investments, or insurance. If they do not help you directly, they might have access to tools such as E-money. E-money is an online financial planning tool that can help you create a budget, view your spending habits, monitor cash flow and see your bottom line at any time.
4) Try to analyze why you’re acting this way with money. Did someone tell you early on that you could not handle money? Did they imply that you are not good with numbers?
I had a friend who after she went shopping with her daughter would hide the purchases from her husband. She worked and could afford to pay for the purchases with her own money. Why did she feel she needed her husband’s approval? What message was she sending her daughter? Needless to say — she ended up getting divorced a few years later. Money can be divisive in any partnership.
Only you can gain the confidence necessary to tell the financial bully’s voice to stop. Trying to maintain a budget usually just stresses us out. Look at it only as doing a summary of where your money is being spent. Knowledge is power. Once you realize how much money you might be wasting or where it is going, you will empower yourself with the ability to make changes. It is never too late to take control of your financial life and tell the bully to go away because they need to take care of themselves. You can start today, seek help from a therapist, financial advisor or trusted friend and begin taking charge of your life and your money.