It’s almost tax day– a happy day for those getting a refund, and an irksome day for those that owe more than they had anticipated. The good news for all of us at least is that it should all be over by next week, and then we can take a moment to plan ahead for the upcoming year.
Gathering all your financial data is usually the most painful process, but now that you have the data from 2015, take a good look and see how much did your household earn? How much went to taxes? From your net, how much was spent on housing and medical costs? How much did you manage to save into your 401(k) or other retirement funds? How much were you able to put aside for a rainy day fund or the kids’ college funds? If you did not save as much as you would have liked, now is the time to figure out where you can reduce expenses and set a realistic goal for saving more in 2016.
Managing money is not easy– because it’s not just about the numbers, it’s about the underlying emotions. For all of us, money is a means to an end– whether that end is just being able to meet your basic needs or to fulfill your wildest dreams. And a lack of money, is for most of us a source of great anxiety and stress precisely because it means we are at risk of not meeting our desired end.
Money is not something dirty– it’s neither the root of all evil, nor is it the answer to all our problems. It is simply a tool we need to learn to master in order to not just survive, but thrive in life. So, if your financial house is not in order, don’t ignore this issue. Tackle the emotions first– what would financial security mean to you? What does that look like? Then, figure out how can you get there. And if you need help, ask for it. There is no shame in that.
Is your financial house in order? It’s okay if it’s not, as long as you don’t ignore the problem and instead learn to deal with it.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.