Our finances can be one of our greatest preoccupations in life. Whether we like it or not, our financial situation can have a profound effect on our mood and overall wellbeing. When we are confident and relaxed in our finances, it shows in every aspect of our life. It is not necessary to have a vast income to still feel comfortable and in control. Conversely however, if we feel financially unstable with a lack of control, it can negatively affect our lives. No matter how high our income, without certain attitudes, awarenesses and a level of control, we will always feel bad about money. But it is never too late or too early to begin making positive changes. Whether our income is modest or generous, there are certain habits that make anyone feel financially secure. If you want to become financially intelligent, then consider adopting these positive behaviours.

    Stick To A Budget

    Creating an accurate and sustainable budget is one of the first and most significant financial steps we can take. A budget may feel restrictive and irritating at first but we need to change our attitude. Try not to think of your budget as depriving your present. Think of it in terms of feeding your future. Staying in control is precisely what will give you financial freedom in future. It is not always necessary to make harsh cuts or enormous sacrifices. What is important is that we are always aware how much money we have and exactly where it is going. Using a modest budget wisely can make us feel rich and in control. Using a generous budget poorly can make us feel impoverished! We need to understand that the amount of money itself is not the crucial point. What is crucial is how effectively and consciously we use that money. Begin by making a brutally honest list of outgoings, both fixed and fluctuating. It is always better to overestimate approximate outgoings than underestimate them. For example, if you wish to include how much you spend on social occasions, ensure that it is at the upper end of what you would spend. Any money left over will be a bonus to you. There is nothing worse than believing you are sticking to a budget only to get the shock of having overspent. Include fixed outgoings accurately, but slightly overestimate any other approximate spends to be safe. After a month or even less, you will experience positive results. Both financially and probably psychologically too.

    Admit When There Is A Problem

    Anyone can fall behind on payments, overspend, or do something financially reckless. The mistake is less important than your reaction to it. If you have made a mistake or a problem has arisen, it is vital that you admit it to both yourself and others. Ignoring a financial problem can quickly cause it to “snowball”. Financial problems can have severe repercussions that will affect our home, family, and other assets. The discomfort we will feel about addressing a problem early on is nothing compared to the discomfort of discovering that it has got worse. Seek professional advice as soon as you become aware of a problem. Talk openly to an expert such as those at the Dove Law Firm or other experienced advisors. You may actually find that what you considered to be a disaster is easily solved or not so serious. But in the event that it is a genuine problem, recognise that you had the courage and resolve to act quickly. There is no sense in being financially intelligent only when things are going well. We must apply all our good behaviours and habits even in the worst circumstances. Acknowledge your problems, research the solutions, and act on them swiftly. You will be back on track in no time having learned from your mistakes. 

    Do Your Research

    Financial intelligence has many facets but can include becoming “book smart”. If there are terms or conditions that you don’t understand, for example, research them. Take control of your own financial understanding and address gaps in your knowledge. Reducing confusion instantly makes us feel more powerful and capable. This in turn motivates us to take control and keep control. It is hard to stay interested in something that we simply don’t understand. If you want to open a specific type of account but don’t understand the benefits, research them. Try not to become overwhelmed and work methodically through information. Ask for advice or speak to trusted sources. By the end of your research, you might surprise yourself with how simple it all was in the end! Empower yourself with knowledge and you will feel more in control of both your life and your finances.

    Consider Passive Income Sources

    Investing and shares portfolios can seem overwhelming or confusing at first. But generating a passive income over long term investing can be very wise. We are increasing our financial stability, planning for the future, and making good use of any disposable income. It can be easy to fritter away what we have left over from our budget. Investing can put it to excellent, proactive use. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of shares and investment then consider making it a side project. Get to grips with a beginner’s guide, and start building your own future nest egg. 

    Stay Positive

    The effect of our overall attitude on our finances is quite under-discussed. It is important to recognise that value of staying positive in our financial journey. Even if we are careful, there will necessarily be some setbacks or unforeseen circumstances. Life is intensely unpredictable, even when we feel we made all the right moves. We must accept that certain things will always be out of our control. And that instead of attempting to control them we should put energy into controlling our reactions instead. We might have made a tremendous effort to save and then an unforeseen circumstance obliterates what we have collected. That can make us feel hugely discouraged. We may feel like giving up completely or even overspending more. This is just a reaction caused by our pain and disappointment. We need to try to control ourselves and minimise the damage. We will be amazed how quickly good habits will get us back on track. We should also recognise how our good habits protected us. Perhaps without those savings, we couldn’t have handled the crisis. Stay focused and determined even in the face of problems. Financial intelligence also includes resilience.


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