Recent economic data indicates that personal savings in the U.S. have decreased by as much as 5 percent compared to 60 years.
Reasons for the decline range from skyrocketing costs of living in many areas of the country with a simultaneous flatline in salaries. Many would argue the decline in saving behavior is also related to a disconnect between how people think and feel about money and use of short and long term financial goals. While saving is always good, saving with a goal in mind is even better.
Why is this?
A person’s well-being increases as s/he feels more financially secure as trust in personal decision-making also increases. Saving with a goal in mind helps a person feel hopeful about the future. A goal meet may feel like a reward for self-care behavior! Likewise, using goal setting provides clarity about life desires. As the quote suggests, people will find it difficult to hold on to the past while focusing on the future.
When working toward your goals, not only do you need to know what you want, but also must be willing to give up that which you don’t. - Edwene Gaines
Where can you begin?
Sit down and really look at monthly finances. Use an app on your phone or a financial program to learn where your money goes each month. Might be surprising to see the impact of those daily coffees!
Create a budget that includes the necessities, as well as some fun items. One of the biggest reasons for failing to stick to a budget is it’s too strict. Add in a fancy coffee each week – not every day- if you can’t afford it.
In your budget, plan for saving. And as noted above, save with a goal in mind. The goal may be a vacation, new pair of running shoes, or to buy a ticket to a sporting event. Write the goal down someplace you’ll see if often. A creative solution might be taping a note to the credit card!
As financial security increases so will psychological wellness. The potential byproduct of this renewed sense of trust and happiness just might be finding out the old is easier to let go of when the new is truly possible!
Dr. Erika McElroy
Smooth Rock Psychological Services, LLC