The world is full of decisions to make with even more options to choose from. In Black Sheeps’ early 90’s hit “The Choice is Yours”, they famously state “you can get with this, or you can get with that”. And yes, this may be an oversimplification of the decisions we have to make throughout life, but at the end of day, that’s what it boils down to. This or that.
This is why Decision Control is the first part of the formula in the Financial Wellness Blueprint. The decisions we make set the tone for the rest of our financial journey and where people really get caught up is when they make decisions based on emotion- both negative and positive. Making decisions based on negative emotion would be spending money based on shame, guilt, or sadness, or even buying fast food often to keep your kids from complaining. You buy things to make up for your emotions or to just cover them up.
Conversely, making decisions based on positive emotion would be splurging on expensive outfits or cars to celebrate something, buying the bar a round of drinks when your team wins, buying a lot of unneeded items on vacation because “it’s vacation”. Emotional spending usually leads to you spending money you don’t have or chipping away at funds that could be funneled into your savings.
To gain control of your decisions, you have to align them with what you are reaching for. If there is a set goal in mind, then every decision you make must work to serve that goal. Give your decisions purpose and they will carry more weight.
To put this into action, there are a few things you can do:
● Spend based on your reality- not emotion.
● Make your plan and stick to it.
● At this point, you know your weaknesses and have identified your old behaviors. Work to eliminate these. They put you in this spot, they won’t get you out.
● Make sacrifices. We all have to make them. We can’t have everything, so we have to focus on the important things first.
● Understand that with money, you always have a choice. You are in control. Money is amoral and will only reflect YOU.