It’s almost the end of February so if you’re a responsible adult, you’ve filed your taxes. Now you’re waiting for that highly anticipated tax refund check. It’s probably one of the few times a year all of the 20-somethings in the world feel financially stable and like they rule the world.
Why limit that feeling to only one time a year? Your personal finances should not freak you out. If you have a good job with a respectable income, then money should not cause you anxiety. I’ll admit for a while money, credit cards, investing and budgeting were all things that stressed me out. I was paranoid that the money I saved would magically disappear. Guess what, there is not a money stealing fairy that takes all of your money in the middle of the night. You just have to be smart about saving for the future.
A budget spreadsheet should be your best friend. It’s a really simple way to track your spending. There are different apps out there that can do the same. Knowing where you money goes is the only way to reduce expenses and save more. Now how do you take your finances to the next level?
Investing. Yes, that big scary word that doesn’t really make scene to a lot of people. I am of the Carrie Bradshaw mindset: “I like my money where I can see it…hanging in my closet.” Fair point because at least Carrie (and others) know where their money is going. With investing, it’s a bit more ambiguous. You know what you’re investing in but aren’t sure how your money will fare in the market.
There are lots of resources that can help you figure out how to invest your money. One example Quandl, a centralized website that pulls financial and economic data together as a tool for people to use when investing. Their futures page show over 100 options for investing and provides data on each over a period of time. So before you put your money anywhere, you’d want to check out trends and historical data to make an educated decision.
Managing your money boils down to needs versus wants. As long as you maintain a balance between the two while planning for the future, you’ll be set. Add in some smart investments and you’re in a good place. I know it might not be as easy as it sound in this post. But if you remove some of the fear you might have about finances, it does make the process less painful.
“So many roads, so many detours. So many choices, so many mistakes. As we drive along this road called life, occasionally a gal will find herself a little lost. When that happens, I guess she has to let go of the coulda, shoulda, woulda buckle up, and just keep going. As we speed along this endless road to the destination called ”Who We Hope To Be,” I can’t help but whine, are we there yet?” – Sex & The City
As you may have guessed, I am a huge Sex and the City fan. While the show and its character are fictional, I’ve learned quite a few life lessons from Carrie Bradshaw, Miranda Hobbs, Charlotte York and Samantha Jones. From relationship advice to life mantras, the show has provided inspirational quotes and poignant moments that many young woman can identify with. For this week’s Motivation Monday post, I’m sharing one of my favorites with you.
In the episode “Coulda Woulda Shoulda,” each of the leading ladies is at a crossroads in their life. Miranda finds out she is pregnant, Carrie questions a life-changing decision she made twenty years ago while Charlotte struggles to have a baby and Samantha has career issues. Each finds themselves wondering about all the possibilities that could have been if they made different choices. As a young adult and professional, I often find myself second-guessing most decisions I make. I over think and pine over my choices, wondering if I made the right one. Most of the time, I’m more concerned with how my decision will impact my future. There have been times I’ve been so focused on the “what if” that I’ve kept myself awake at night.
You can see Carrie doing the same thing in this episode. She plays through a million scenarios in her head, something I am all to familiar with. As I’ve gotten older, I realized that obsessing over what could have been will only lead to more heartbreak. Within the last year, there have been so many situations that I never could have imagined happening. Some were good, others were terrible but each led me to where I am today; and the place I am at right now is a pretty good one. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, just sometimes you don’t know what that reason is until later on. Instead of worrying about what could have been, we each should celebrate what is happening now. It’s hard to not wonder about all of the “coulda woulda shoulda” moments from the past. But, focusing on the present is the only real way to be happy.