Sometimes managing your finances can seem overwhelming. There are a lot of quality resources out there, including websites like this, but the best they can do is to point you in the right direction.
The problem comes when you can’t make a decision or you fail to follow through with a plan because you worried you’re somehow making a mistake. Keep these points in mind if you’re struggling to make a financial decision:
- Don’t focus on being perfect, focus on doing. I’m not saying just throw your money into something, but remember… The perfect is the enemy of the good. Don’t be paralyzed by fear.
- Be willing to make small adjustments. Start with the basics, such as spend less then you earn and build from there. Also keep in mind that you’ll probably have to tweak your plan over time to make it more effective.
Do yourself a favor — take Nike’s advice and “Just do it.” I know, it’s easier said than done. It can be done, though. Here are some situations where you need to quit agonizing and start doing.
- If you have high interest debt, formulate a plan and then start paying it off. Knowing how much you owe will help you determine your the best approach, so don’t guess. And remember, your plan doesn’t have to be perfect. There are multiple approaches. Pick one and start getting out of debt. If you need motivation, go online and read other people’s stories debt reduction stories for inspiration.
- If you’re low on savings, start an emergency fund. Don’t get caught up in trying to get the absolute highest interest rate. Just open a high-yield savings account and get started. Set aside $500 (or whatever you can afford) and then schedule automatic transfers to keep things on track. If you don’t like your choice in a few months, you can always switch banks.
- If you don’t have a retirement fund, then start one today. Some people are afraid to invest their money for retirement because they’re not sure which investment will be the next star. It’s understandable that you want to lose your money, but failing to invest is also costing you money. Target date mutual funds aren’t perfect, but they’re quick and easy. If you have a bit more money and want more control, choose a basket of index funds or ETFs with low expense ratios.
- If you and your spouse aren’t on the same page, start making small changes. I’ve seen how difficult it can be to dig your family out of debt when you and your spouse aren’t on the same financial page. Focus on the things you can improve in the short term, and then work to improve in other areas. Most important of all, be sure to talk about money.
I’m sure you can think of many more instances in which you just need to get started instead of obsessing over the best way forward. The point is that we can be our own worst enemies when it comes to improving our finances.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to deal with when it comes to your finances?