But I discovered the secret of “time as a major stressor” and got myself solidly on the path to financial security.
So, are you looking for financial security? And do you hear that distracting noise in the back of your mind? Let’s tackle that first!
Reaching financial security requires looking at how you relate to all three aspects of money. The first is the Physical Aspect of Money, which has to do with money itself: the green stuff, the coins, the paychecks, the bills. The stuff you either have enough of … or you don’t.
We have to deal with this right off because, for so many of us, it’s the cause of endless head chatter that keeps us from effectively exploring the other two aspects of money that can also possibly trip us up: the Emotional Aspect and the Spiritual Aspect.
Whatever your reason is for focusing on getting your money under control … and finally getting serious about achieving financial security … the most important first step is to identify where your income equals your expenses: where they are in balance.
Let me explain why: it really has more to do with time than it does with money.
How Time Affects Your Money Mindset
When our expenses are greater than our income, sometime around mid-month you’ll start searching in the back of your mind for how you’re going to scrape together enough to close out the month. That’s one of the most destructive, disempowering ways to deal with money.
And what’s the thing we most dread? The passing of time. We cringe inside at every day that goes by … every day that takes us closer to whenever the next big bill comes due. Checking off each day on the calendar makes us sick to our stomachs. “What?? It’s already the 25th? Feels like last month just ended …”
But what happens when your expenses equal your income? Time is no longer your enemy! It doesn’t matter that one more day has passed because you know you’ll be able to meet your financial obligations when they arrive. Even if just barely.
Suddenly the huge burden of passing time (which you can’t stop no matter how hard you try) is lifted off your shoulders. Your anxiety level drops. And without that one burden, you have breathing room that lets you be so much more creative about your life, your challenges, your solutions, your goals. All the things you need in order to reach financial security.
After all the turmoil of stressing over how I’d close out each month, I don’t have the words to express how my life changed once I removed time as a major stressor.
Next, imagine what happens when your expenses are smaller than your income. Now each passing day is a joy because you know that each one represents more “spare money” in the bank. It has nothing to do with wishing time away. It has everything to do with the attitude of relishing—rather than dreading—tomorrow.
Your goal? To do whatever it takes to get your expenses equal to or lower than your income.
Knowing the Numbers
We’re not talking about putting you on a b-u-d-g-e-t. (I know that word is radioactive for too many of us. I can already hear some of you saying, “Damn, is that what this is all about? I thought someone had a different approach that could get me out of this bind.”
No, it’s not about budgeting. But it is about getting to a place of balance, where you stop the financial bleeding each week or month. In fact, it doesn’t matter how high or low the numbers are; all that matters is that you get your total income equal to or larger than your total expenses so you no longer dread the passing of each day.
The concept is not for you to “settle.” This is a temporary step. But it is the key to finding the quiet space where you can start removing the emotion from your money, and start building a healthy relationship which allows money to grow for you … rather than trip you up. It’s your key to financial security.
In that neutral zone, you’ll realize that each day is an opportunity to learn … do … and feel something new. And there’s no clock ticking in the background that keeps you in a subliminal place of panic.
At this point, we’re not talking about doing long-term financial planning. Not a retirement plan or an investment plan either. We’re simply talking about a little calculation that’s going to get you to a place where the amount you absolutely have to pay out each month equals what you bring in each month; nothing more, nothing less.
I know, doing numbers sounds like sheer misery, but if you look at this as a challenge … one that you can surely survive … the outcome will be unbelievably empowering. By knowing our numbers, we actually de-fang them. We remove their emotional power over us. And, all too often, we discover that we angst over things that appear far worse than they really are.
It’s called “getting honest with our money.”
And getting your money into balance is the first major step to getting your finances under control. From there, you’ll go on to reach the financial security you crave.
(If you need some help doing your calculations of inflow and outflow, contact me here with your email address and say so. I’ll provide what you need to do this exercise.)
In the next post, we’ll look at ways you can Tame Your Numbers, if need be. And after that, we’ll look at the other two aspects of money that can affect your financial security: the Emotional Aspect and the Spiritual Aspect. But to do that, first we need to silence the head chatter!