This time last year, one of my favourite clients called me a Grinch. She asked if she could have extra money from her super fund over Christmas and I said no – keep in mind that this is her money! The key is that right back on day one, she admitted to not being good with handling money and gave me the responsibility of keeping her on track. I am thinking ahead 5,10, even 20 years, factoring in the cost of a new car when needed, improvements to her home and other major expenses that come along in life. I didn't feel bad about saying no and she eventually thanked me because ultimately it was for her own long term benefit.
I recently listened to a presenter who challenged her clients to have all of their Christmas shopping completed before 30 November – why? Studies show that planning ahead leads to a reduction in overspending of up to 30%. I liked the concept of setting a target, planning ahead, sticking to the budget, reducing financial stress etc.
Both of these examples are great, we need to be sensible and not let the intended joy of giving become a source of family stress. Of course it is important to monitor spending, celebrate sensibly and live within our means. But rather than lecture people, be a Grinch or dampen everyone's spirits, let me pose a challenge from a more positive angle.
Why don't we take the ceiling away from our expectations, dare to dream a bit bigger? What if we can afford a camping holiday but would love a week at the beach in an apartment? We could:
- Settle for the cheaper option
- Overspend and create stress
- Find more money
Finding more money may mean cutting down on less important expenditure, which requires planned budgeting. Or, it may mean generating surplus income, preferably passive. Either way, why not aim higher, identify and set goals, push yourself to work towards them and enjoy the rewards. We are all capable of much more than we allow ourselves to believe.
If you need help identifying, targeting and reaching your dreams, let the team at CNS Financial Solutions guide you. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on (07) 3188 0234
I hope that you all have an enjoyable Christmas. Take the financial stress away and then you can focus your energy on important decisions, like what to eat for lunch on Christmas Day!
As a final note, a really positive Christmas gift would be to donate to one of the great charities that provide a piece of Christmas cheer to those less fortunate, make a family decision to support one.