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Yesterday was Blue Monday. Falling on the third Monday in January, it is theoretically the most depressing day of the year. Supposedly it’s caused by the combination of bad weather, long nights and the post-holiday blues (think Christmas debt and failed New Year’s resolutions). It might be silly and hard to validate but, regardless, the ladies of FundCalibre enjoyed a virtual at-home spa evening to lighten the mood. Nothing says indulgent self-care like a bottle of Prosecco in your bathroom, on your computer, applying endless skincare samples.
I joke, but it was a lovely evening. A bit different perhaps, but it fit in nicely with my word of the year, by creating more me time. It got me thinking though: self-care doesn’t just have to be physical like skincare, healthy food and long walks, etc. A very important form of self-care is learning how to master your finances. Financial security and knowledge will last you longer than a face mask anyway.
‘Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.’ — Katie Reed, mental health advocate and speaker
Self-care is a broad term and different for everyone. What might be self-care for me, might not give you the same vibe. Ultimately, it should be a time when you reconnect and take care of yourself – whether that’s stress management or relaxation. However you manifest self-care in your life, we can all agree it’s important for our physical and mental health. Just as you look after your body and mind, you need to look after your finances. And, with finances being such a trigger for many millennials, managing this relationship (even if stressful) is self-care.
When it comes to improving the quality of your life, making more money is only part of the equation. You have to learn how to manage it or else the problems you are dealing with currently, will just continue. So, if you’re not already, get active with your finances. Go through them and tidy them up, make a budget and check in regularly with your partner about money issues.
There’s a scene in Friends where Rachel’s sister tells Joey “a moment on the lips, forever on the hips” and while she’s talking about eating, it can apply to your money too. That £4 takeaway coffee from Starbucks or weekly takeaway pizza when you have a fridge of food all adds up. You can spend it in a moment or save it for forever – by investing. Now I’m not saying that cutting out coffees and brunches is going to make you a millionaire, but whether you’re paying off debt or starting an investment portfolio, every little helps.
Having to pay someone else part of your income each month will not only keep you from achieving financial freedom, but it will be a continual nag in the back of your mind. [Note, I’m not talking about mortgages here, but things like credit card debt, personal bank loans, car payments, etc.] Paying off your debt and living within your means allows you to then take that money and reallocate to things like investing and building your wealth over the long term.
Ask questions, educate yourself about not only your personal finances but seek out general financial knowledge. Understand things like what your credit score means, how interest rates work on your credit cards and, if you’re ready to invest, read our introduction to investing guide. More of a visual learner? Check out our millennial videos on YouTube, covering topics like ‘which ISA is best for you’, ‘what is value investing’ and ‘what is recession’.
The bottom line is that money silently affects so many aspects of our lives that we are unaware of its power on our mood. Sometimes, improving your financial situation might be the only form of self-care you really need. It will give you a sense of clarity and a good financial education will start you on a road to more choices. Financial education will always last longer than a bottle of wine.