Do you spend a lot of time worrying about money? Does it interfere with your work life?
A recent arti12637931_scle in US News cited a study by McGraw Hill Federal Credit Union, which showed that in a survey of more than 1000 people, 36% of them said that they spent at least two hours a day either worrying about their finances or handling them. “…another study, “Stressed at Work,” from Bensinger, DuPont & Associates, an employee-assistance program provider, that suggests almost half of workers are so stressed out that it interferes with their ability to get their jobs done. About 44 percent of male respondents and 49 percent of female respondents said they had “difficulty concentrating” as a result of “personal problems and stress.” Meanwhile, Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace report finds that 7 in 10 workers are not engaged with their work.”
If you are an employer this must make scary reading!
I was interested in the article, because I have been approached recently by an employer seeking assistance for one of their staff, who had a significant amount of debt and was very worried about it. It was agreed that they would pay for their employee to see me. We have met several times and have made some plans for dealing with their situation, which has eased her anxiety considerably. Even if she wasn’t worrying about her money situation at work ( and I’m certain she was!) she was losing sleep over it. This alone would have reduced her effectiveness at work.
So her company paying for her work with me will, I’m sure, be very cost effective. As well as improving her productivity it will also increase her company loyalty, because she appreciates how they have supported her personally.
Many companies now subsidise gym memberships; a good case can be made for also providing access to financial education and support. I have done several talks for companies to provide this. I am very happy to do it for your company as well; just give me a call.
As promised a couple of weeks ago now, here is the link to request my article “How to get through Christmas and the Holidays without blowing out the credit cards!” Simply click on the Christmas tree. You will also be sent a Holiday planner from Karen McCall of the Financial Recovery Institute along with the spreadsheet to go with it.

Have a great week.

3 Money tips

July 11, 2012

My first attempt at Vlogging! Not an unmitigated success but you have to start somewhere! I did it, it’s up here and I’m proud of that.The advice I give is great and worth listening to. I will have to do something about the frown though!! LOL

Have you ever opened your credit card bill and been absolutely shocked at how much it is? Worse still, have you ever been too scared to open it, knowing you were going to be shocked? How about going into your wallet and going “where did that $100/$200/$300 etc go?  We call this being in the “money fog”! Essentially not having any clue how much money we are spending or have spent.

The money fog is almost always worse when we’re using credit cards, because the spending is often unconscious. In other words, you don’t really have to think about it, you just hand over your card without even considering what the balance already is. Provided you’re not at your limit you can easily do a day of retail therapy, or compulsive shopping, without giving the total amount spent another thought! You can just shop until you drop! Whilst you can also be in the money fog when using cash or debit cards, reality is closer at hand! You will either run out of money, need another trip to the money machine, or your debit card or EFT POS card will be rejected. Your spending therefore has to be, if not completely , at least partially, conscious.

Conscious spending is being aware of, not only how much you’re spending, but also being aware of what you’re buying! Do you really need it, or have you just seen it and want it, RIGHT NOW?

I know that when I was at the peak of my overspending, I could have a day out shopping without giving a thought to how much it was costing, or if I really needed what I was buying. As I was a very regular Internet banker ( I had to be, to keep juggling my money!) my shocks at how much I’d spent came pretty early on!  The unneeded purchases were often obvious very early on too! I might have “needed” a painting but did I need ten?

As the reasons you overspend, or shop compulsively, are many and, often, complex there isn’t a quick cure. However, if you only use cash or debit cards, the harm you can do is minimised. The other key is tracking your spending, that is, write every single cent you spend down.

If you are concerned about your spending or any of this, please seek help. The Financial Recovery℠ Institute has a list of counselors If you cannot find one in your area I, and a lot of my colleagues, offer counseling by phone or via Skype.

Do you have a story of being too scared to open your credit card bill? Please share it with us below in the comments section.

For my money, debit card all the way!

Why….I hear you ask?

When using a debit card the money comes straight from your cheque account, therefore if you don’t have the money, you can’t buy it! It makes all of your spending  conscious and eliminates the money fog! Even if it doesn’t eliminate it completely, it certainly doesn’t allow it to hang around! If you hadn’t planned the purchase, the next time you update your bank account and tracking ( you do track your income and outgoings, don’t you??) you will have to record, and adjust your budget or plan for the purchase.

On the other hand, if you use a credit card, the pain of the payment is delayed and the spending is more often than not, unconscious.  You don’t feel as though you are using “real money”, it doesn’t cause any immediate reflection or reaction and allows the money fog to close in, big time!! Most credit card companies allow you up to 55 days before you make a payment, so until that day comes around, or at least until the bill comes in, you can forget all about your purchase, and probably will.

A debit card  still allows you to shop online, or over the phone; excuses people use for needing a credit card.

When I discuss the issue of debit card versus credit card with clients, most  say “But I get airpoints, when I use my credit card”. That is great if you are paying off your credit card, in full, every time you use it. If you aren’t, then the interest you are paying would more than buy you the airpoints, or flights or whatever!

If you pay off your credit card every time and in full, this probably doesn’t need to apply to you.

However, if you don’t, then I strongly advise using a debit card.

I have been a bit under the weather for the past couple of weeks and really have been unable to do very much at all.

It has been incredibly frustrating, because I had so much planned for that time, and now am not sure when I’ll get it all done.

However, the one thing I did do, was keep track of my spending, which as a former overspender is very important. It was pretty boring spending too! Doctors, xrays and food pretty much did it. For one who used to love to buy shoes and jewellery , (my favourite compulsive shopping items) it was pretty unexciting.

I am proud that I didn’t buy myself a treat, (because I deserved it) because I was feeling so lousy! The “I deserve it” used to be a pretty common excuse for my shopping addiction.

So, I remain on track with my spending and know just where my money has gone – and believe me a lot of it has gone – because I’ve been tracking it in my MoneyMinderR.

Now what’s left is for me to get back on track with my work. This has been a good start!