Whether you’ve been asked by family for a loan or are starting to think about tough things like life insurance, there are lots of choices we’ll have to make throughout our lives that can be tough to come to terms with, even if they’re the right call. But that doesn’t mean that these decisions, actions, and realizations won’t be tough.
Here are seven of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do with your money.
1. Turning Down A Family Member’s Request For A Loan
It can be difficult to turn down a family member who asks to borrow money, but says it’s always best to “just say no.”
“You’re potentially setting yourself up for a lot of heartbreak and problems when you loan money to relatives or friends,” says personal finance expert and author Lynette Khalfani-Cox. “It sets up a power imbalance in a relationship.”
And it could create more than just an awkward holiday — it could land you in financial trouble as well, putting you in a position where you don’t have the money you need for yourself.
“The borrower may have the very best of intentions, but we all know that life happens and things can get in the way,” Khalfani-Cox says. “You’re at risk of not getting your money back.”
2. Learning How To Live Within Or Below Your Means
As people start to earn more, it’s common to increase their lifestyle, spending more as their income rises. There’s a term for this: lifestyle creep. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, except that it has the potential to creep past a person’s income, enmeshing them in a lifestyle they can’t truly afford.
“None of us have an unlimited amount of resources,” Khalfani-Cox says. To make your life fit your budget, she suggests considering your priorities. “Look at your goals and objectives, look at your values, and then determine, ‘Is this really helping me to meet my goal?’ or, ‘Is this in alignment with my values?'”
3. Learning How To Control Your Spending
Understanding that you’re spending too much can be hard, and reining in your spending can be even harder. One of the ways Khalfani-Cox helps her clients get a clear picture of their spending and eventually cut back is through a budget. When she works with clients in building a budget, she leaves them space to spend however they want. She says this makes people really think about what they’re spending.
“Usually in about three months’ time, the frivolous purchases fall off,” Khalfani-Cox says. “People are like, ‘Oh, I don’t really need to spend $200 a month on this. They become more thoughtful and introspective about ‘Why am I buying this?’ or, ‘Didn’t I already have another black dress or the latest cell phone or gadget?”
4. Talking About Money With Your Partner
Marcy Keckler, the vice president for financial advice strategy at Ameriprise Financial, says that though it’s not always easy,talking to your partner about saving, spending, and goals is very necessary.
“Having open lines of communication does make a big difference in both relationship harmony and also financial confidence,” Keckler says.
While it can be hard to make time to talk, it’s an essential conversation. Finding the opportunity to fit it in can be as simple as looking at your schedule.
“I encourage couples to think about routines they already have in place, where they’d take a walk on Saturday morning or they are sitting down on a regular basis to go to a weekly activity that they attend,” Keckler says. “It can be good to pair current habits with something that you want to add as a habit, like talking about money.”
5. Accept Responsibility For Your Financial Situation And Change It
“When people have maybe just a general sense that their financial situation isn’t quite what they want it to be, there can be a tendency to find it a little overwhelming or intimidating to get started,” says Keckler. “There can even be some avoidance if people have a sense they aren’t really doing what they should be and they feel guilt about that.”
But despite the fact that it might be hard to admit how your money got to its current state, your financial progress and goals are not a hopeless cause. Whether you’ve been living above your means, not saving for retirement, or have large debts like student loans, there are always small things you can do.
“It is never too late to get started,” says Keckler.
6. Make Rational Rather Than Emotional Decisions
“People have emotions about their financial life, about their money. Particularly, emotions can run high when any investments are subject to volatility,” says Keckler. “We’ve certainly seen that recently, where we’ve seen markets moving. I would never tell somebody to try to get the emotions out, because you’re going to have those emotions. But, I would say put them in their proper place.”
Experts agree that no matter what’s happening in the stock market, leaving your investments alone is the best move. Investments are intended to build long-term wealth, and the dips and valleys of the market will even out in the long run. If you start trying to time the market, though, and pulling your money in and out whenever you’re worried, you don’t give it that chance to grow.
“If you feel concerned, if you feel apprehensive, that’s okay,” says Keckler. “But make sure you don’t spring into action as a result.”
7. Starting To Save And Plan For Later In Life
It can be hard to think about planning ahead, especially when it comes to things like saving for retirement and estate planning.
“Balancing the near term versus the longer term can be one of the most difficult things,” says Keckler. “You’re trying to keep your future self happy and your current self happy at the same time.”
To make it easier, Keckler suggests giving yourself rewards along the way. For example, she suggests dividing up “extra” money like tax returns and bonuses between putting away large chunks for the future and reserving some to treat yourself.
“Make sure you take the lion’s share of that windfall and invest it toward those longer term goals,” Keckler says. But save a little for something fun.
Source: Business Insider