financial planning for women

What Drives Your Financial Decisions?

Mona has clear money guidelines that help her make smart financial decisions. But it wasn’t always that way. When she first consulted with me, she felt defeated. She didn’t know how to create a plan to guide her choices about how to spend, save, or invest her money.

The first thing I asked her was to articulate what money means to her. She was quick to say: freedom, independence, and having more options. Then I asked what makes her happy. Again, she didn’t hesitate: travel, time with friends, and volunteering at the local animal shelter.

From there, she and I connected the dots between her values and her happiness. She saw that together they naturally formed a foundation upon which she could make helpful financial decisions.

Next, we reviewed her monthly expenditures.

It turned out that one of her biggest expenses was a leased luxury car and a garage to house it. Since she lived and worked in a city, she drove the car infrequently. This monthly outlay severely curtailed her ability to budget for travel and to join her friends for fun experiences. As a result of our discussion, she decided to let go of her car, relieving her of both lease payments and garage fees. She switched to ZipCar and Uber, and used the extra money to start a travel fund.

Once she had identified the biggest drain on her cash flow, we looked at a saving, investing and giving plan.

Are you on autopilot, allowing old habits to drive your financial decisions? If so, you are not alone. Our culture doesn’t offer many avenues to have open conversations about the connections between happiness and money. Additionally, with few opportunities to learn about personal finance, many people would rather have a tooth pulled than examine where their money goes.

It takes a conscious effort to be mindful about your money. I advocate creating a clear, practical, written statement which serves to:

  • Guide and simplify your decision making.
  • Prevent emotions from hijacking your long-term goals.
  • Increase your motivation to save for the future.

Your statement should be simple. Answer these two questions:

  1. What does money mean to you?
  2. What makes you happy?

With the above in mind, take an in-depth look at where your money is going. Although money can seem mysterious, it is just a tool. When you connect your values and what makes you happy in a clear concise statement, you give yourself valuable information that helps you make conscious financial decisions.

Are you ready to leave old habits behind and start a new conversation about money? Email me at stephanie@sofiafinancial.com, tweet to @sofiafinancial or schedule a free 20-minute consultation

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