I listen to a LOT of podcasts, mostly about health and wellnes... I’m kind of obsessed. I listened to an interesting episode of mindbodygreen today titled: How to Eat & Sleep Your Way to Being “AgeProof”.
Early on in the podcast Michael Roizen, the author of the book AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip, explains that the greatest ager in our life is stress.
If we want to live longer we need to reduce our stress. Makes sense.
There are lots of ways we can reduce stress like meditation or deep breathing for example. Michael explains there are 12 techniques that you can routinely do when stressful situations occur... but there is one type of stress that these techniques do not work for. Financial stress.
Michael explains that when it comes to financial stress, we actually have to deal with it. You can’t just meditate that stress away because you are not changing the situation that is causing the stress.
So how do we reduce financial stress?
The solutions for experiencing large money stress are obvious like paying down high interest credit cards, perhaps downsizing if you are living out of your means etc.
But what about that stress that’s not obvious? It’s not keeping you up at night. You don’t have a lot of debt, if any. You earn good money and are living within your means. You’re actually pretty good with money, but you experience that low-level, underlying stress.
The type of niggling stress which sounds a little something like...
“I wonder if I could be doing better?”
“Surely I should be able to make more progress than what I am”
“Where exactly is all my money going?”
Or you experience things like putting money aside for savings and then find yourself dipping back in to it to pay for important things. Or you have that constant sinking feeling that you could be doing better.
Most people think the solution lies in earning more money. However, earning more money does nothing here, because this stress is not caused by a lack of money, it is caused by a lack of clarity and control.
A motto that my sister and I live by is "It's not what you earn, but what you do with it that really counts."
I’ll vouch for that. I only earn a part-time income right now. Being a multi-passionate person, I only want to “work” part-time so that I have time to pursue all the things I find interesting, whether that’s working on MyMoneyZen or making a table with my dad.
Although my income is not high, I experience zero stress when it comes to money. And I think anyone else who uses the MyMoneyZen approach to budgeting would say the same thing.
We like to call it the "MyMoneyZen Effect" and it comes from experiencing total clarity and control over your finances. Where you know for sure how much your life costs, you make quick informed financial decisions, you always have the right amount of money ready to go for bills, you automatically save and don’t have to dip back in. If you get a pay rise you know exactly how to harness that extra money and put it to good use and you spend knowing that everything else is accounted for.
So how do you achieve this kind of stress-free money life, which not only allows you to make great financial progress but potentially adds years to your life?
Three main things make up the MyMoneyZen approach:
You need to know how much your life costs … like exactly how much it costs! It needs to include things that are tricky to calculate like electricity or car repairs and things that are easily forgotten like birthdays and Christmas. That way you know ahead of time exactly how much is left over for spending and saving and not have to dip back in!
Allocate every dollar (zero-based budgeting)
Every dollar of your annual income has a job. Work out exactly what you'll do with it all, ahead of time. How much goes on bills and expenses, how much you will save how much you will spend.
You need an structure that's going to keep you on track with your plan automatically. Most people's lives are too busy to track expenses and there is too much distraction to rely on will power. We need something that's going to set us up for success. With a few smart accounts, boiled down amounts per pay cycle are automatically split out into the accounts so that you have the exact right amount aside for bills, savings and spending without fail.
We recently opened up our flagship program MyMoneyZen to the public. It's a platform where people can set themselves up with the MyMoneyZen approach in the fastest, simplest way possible. It includes built-in coaching videos and super simple software to do your calculations for you... it's a real game changer. You can check it out here.
Considering you are reading this... my guess is that you’re a pretty savvy and proactive person who wants to take things to the next level.
The biggest thing that stops people from taking action is often overwhelm or apathy. My advice to you is to just take one baby step. One step leads to another and then another and if you keep moving in that direction, you will soon find yourself having fully transformed that area of your life.
So what step to take first?
You could read a financial book (bare foot investor is great), you could do an online course (here’s one we prepared earlier) or you could automate your savings and put it in an account you don’t have easy access to.
Or you might want to completely kick this underlying stress in the butt and get complete clarity and control over your money... and in that case check out MyMoneyZen.
Whatever you do... it’s going to be worth it. It’s easy to forget about it and think, "eh its not so bad, I can deal with it." But just imagine how it will feel to not only experience no underlying stress but to know for sure that you are making the most of your money and making the kind of progress you deserve. It’s going to feel great and you might even add some years to your life.
Here’s to your long and stress-free life!