Financially strapped - put systems in place to help you achieve your goals

  We have all learned by now that trying to keep up with the Joneses is no way to live.

Yet, we have this ingrained barometer that ticks off when we hear or see someone with something more than ourselves.

Because we view money in relative not absolute terms we are often irrational in our thinking. We are wired to be “loss averse.” It hurts more to lose money than to win money. At the same time we don’t treat money equally in terms of our “feeling about it.”

Which would you choose,

- Win $50 at Bingo or

- Have $50 cut from your phone bill.

It is the same $50, but we don’t see it that way.

On the other hand when we pay with a credit card we get to experience the pleasure of buying without the pain (yet) of what it will cost. Using this rationale, the Money Gurus tell us to automate the same process in reverse—set up automatic deductions for taxes, IRA, Health Accounts, Savings so that we can use this same system to our advantage. Once they are set up we rarely change them.

Other defaults might include, telling your mortgage broker to contact you when rates drop ¾ to 1 percentage point below what you have now. If in fact, you can refinance you might save thousands of dollars over the course of a home loan.

Some research shows that when an employer automatically enrolls a new hire into the retirement plan, participation increases dramatically. If not, we just get lazy.

Finding ways to set up these defaults will increase your feelings about your financial situation and move you in a positive direction. 

Not surprisingly, the research from Rath and Harter at Gallup found that financial security is the perception that you have more than enough money to do what you want which provided three times the level of well-being.  There are as many ideas for wealth building as there are financial planners.  The key for financial well being is to feel financially secure and worry very little about money. Their findings is it is not about the amount of money you have, but about your approach to creating financial well-being.

Rath and Harter state that most people with financial well being invest wisely based on their tolerance for risk over the long term, use  many default systems that allow them to easily save for larger purchases and retirement and reduce day to day stress, and live within their means.  People with financial well being spend their money wisely, purchase more experiences than stuff, and get great pleasure from giving to others.