We invest a great deal of time building and establishing relationships with our friends, colleagues and family. We use special networking techniques to expand our business and our centers of influence.  But do we look at one of the most critical relationships in our life that supports our life and lifestyle? What is our relationship with money? Is money our ‘friend’, our comrade or does it stand in our way of happiness, financial independence, or our positive outlook on life?

When we asked our clients how do you feel about your MONEY, we may get answers ranging from: “anxious”; “stressed”; to “secure”; “comfortable” to ?? It ranges all over the map! Money is a complicated subject. While on the one hand it’s a tool for commerce to exchange for goods and services. However, over centuries, money has come to symbolize self-worth, freedom, power, respect and even love. As we all know and have seen money and power has been used to control and influence entire countries and companies to take certain actions, both negative and positive.

When we work with our clients, we often will start our conversations with “How Do You Feel about Money?” because that is one of the foundations of establishing or re-building your financial house. When we understand our relationship with money, that most often will be the start to a journey to pursue financial independence.  Put your money to work for you starting today, for tomorrow and for life.

There are 5 keys to building a strong financial house:

  • Know your lifestyle costs, and know your monthly income: Is your take home income on average enough to support your lifestyle? Or do you sometimes have to use emergency savings or a credit card to make it through the month? See the graph below for the impact of spending more than you earn.

This chart is for illustrative purposes only and does not reflect any specific individual.

  • Do you save money first either in an employer provided retirement plan and/or individual savings account? For those who can save money first, this is the best way to build a retirement savings plan and your emergency fund as well. We understand that not everyone has the “luxury” of savings first, but if you can, please do. You will be very pleased as you travel on your career path and watch your savings/accumulation grow.
  • Are you properly insured in the areas of health, life, disability and personal protection for your cars or home? Do you understand what your policies protect and what you may be liable for? Many times, it’s not until there is an accident, an injury or other event, where we find out that our insurance coverage was not adequate. It’s especially important as we move through life stages, with marriage, family, pre-retirement and retirement. Ask for professional advice if you don’t understand this important subject.
  • When it comes to investing please know your risk profile. Much like your relationship with money, knowing how you feel when markets go up as well as down, is important to making decisions about how to invest your hard earned money. Again, let your money work for you, but know that there are upsides and downsides and understanding how you may feel should markets’ underperform for some time like in 2008-9. You can then invest with more confidence and clarity and decide which stocks, bonds, mutual funds or other investments best fit your profile. And do reach out and ask for professional advice or use the many investments sites for more information.
  • Start today with saving your money. Use the leverage of compound interest over your life time to accumulate more money for retirement, college planning and any financial goal that you may have.

This is a hypothetical example and is not representative of any specific situation. Your results may vary. The hypothetical rates of return used do not reflect the deduction of fees and charges inherent to investing.

Build a strong financial house based on an even stronger relationship with your money. Make it work harder for you than the other way around. Take action and start today!