There’s a song by Simply Red, which I’m listening to as I’m writing this article, called Money’s too tight to mention. The song explores the dilemma of many if not all adults; there’s just not enough money available to do everything we would want to do. Money is a huge problem for many and the problems associated with a lack of money go far beyond our pockets. Money problems affect our options, mental health, physical wealth and the general quality of life. What if I told you, that your problem may not be a money problem? Hear me out.
Behaviour and habits
It doesn’t matter which school of thought you belong to, whether it’s the money is spiritual, money is a neutral entity or anything in between. Money does not just disappear, or appear for that matter. Whatever money you receive is a result of something you’ve done. Even if it is buying a lottery ticket or placing a bet on weekend football fixtures, there was action involved. Conversely when money ‘leaves’ it is also as a result of something you’ve done. That’s behaviour. Repeated behaviour is called a habit. So your financial state is a result of your financial behaviours and habits.
Other things affect money
Sometimes we view the cause and effect relationship the wrong way around. Everything happens for a reason people say. While that is correct an overwhelming majority, if not the totality, of reasons are in the past. That is to say, what you’re experiencing today, good or bad is because of something done in the past. To apply this to our discussion, sometimes we view money as being the problem when money is rather litmus paper that shows the problem. In even simpler terms your money problems may just be indicative of other problems you have in life. Let’s look at some examples.
Procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing things. You can delay doing your laundry or taking out the garbage without dire consequences. If you delay paying on a bill however there could be interest applied to that bill. If you procrastinate as a habit it will start showing up in your pocket. If this is a problem you relate to, try to record the penalty fees associated with any late payments separate from the bill itself. This way you know just how much procrastination is costing you on that front.
Lack of tracking
One of my favourite quotes is Peter Drucker’s “if you can’t measure it you can’t improve it”. Not keeping track of your money is a recipe for disaster that can cause serious money problems. If you don’t keep track of your money how will you know how much you have, how much you owe, where it’s going and anything else for that matter? There are likely to be ‘leakages’ that you would not notice if you don’t track your life let alone your expenses.
Lack of planning
A financial plan is a tool that is used to design the life you want. When most people hear about financial plans they think about the dreaded word budget (verb) and cutting down expenditure. That’s not really what financial plans are about. A financial plan directs your resources to make sure the important things are covered. If you have a general lack of life planning you will struggle to plan for anything and especially finances. Without planning you will end up firefighting. To quote Arthur Marara “school fees is not an emergency”. Things that you have known are coming will suddenly hit you as surprises if you have little to no planning in your life.
Lack of investment
Investing is the act of putting your money (or any other resource really) into something that will bring greater rewards. We look at investing as a money thing but we have the opportunity to invest time and effort too. If you do not have an investment mentality you will not grow your resources or strengths and will lack options. Investing your money gives you financial power just as investing in education gives you income earning power. If you don’t approach things with an investment mentality your chances of seeing growth are diminished.
The way you handle anything is the way you handle everything. Bad behaviours show up in your finances as does a lack of good ones. So yes, money’s too tight to mention but you could be the reason.