Thursday, May 10, 2018

Where Do You Fit?

The information is hot off the press.  I am not picking through old data.  This week the Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) released its latest report on Financial Stress.  When asked, people will share their biggest fears and concerns but generally money isn’t something we discuss with our family and friends.  We might complain about the price of groceries and gasoline but we are reluctant to fully disclose every detail about our personal finances. 

If you were asked the same five basic questions about views on money that 1,106 Canadians were, where would you fit in the conversation?  Here’s your chance.  Below are the questions.  Once you have answered them, you can compare your results with those people surveyed.

Question #1

In general, what tends to cause you the most stress in your life?

  • Money
  • Personal Health
  • Work
  • Relationships

Question #2

How often, if ever, do you feel embarrassed about lacking control over your current financial situation?

  • Always
  • Sometimes
  • Rarely
  • Never
  • No Answer

Question #3

How much do you agree, or disagree, with the following statement:  I have lost sleep because of financial worries.

  • Strongly Agree
  • Somewhat Agree
  • Somewhat Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  • No Answer

Question #4

To what extent, if at all, do you feel pressure to keep up with your friends’ or colleagues’ financial status?

  • Very Pressured
  • Somewhat Pressured
  • Not Very Pressured
  • Not At All Pressured
  • No Answer

The results are found in this Omni Report:Financial Stress.   We can determine whether or not our answers align with others. 

Money is the one thing we all have in common.  It’s certainly understandable not to share our money concerns with every person; however, when we struggle about doing the right thing with our finances, talking with a financial planner may give us peace of mind.  Doing so is no different than seeing a doctor about a health concern.

We are usually looking for something: where we buy our new car or home, where we spend our next exotic vacation or where we purchase something small like a camera or an appliance.  We tend to do homework in our endeavors to make the right choice. Therefore, we shouldn’t be reluctant to seek advice about money matters when we can’t figure things out on our own.  The main reason for doing so is to live your life without regrets.

Here’s the final survey question. 

Question #5

What is your greatest financial regret – that is, if you could go back in time and do things differently, what would that be?

  • I would have saved money/more money/saved earlier
  • I would have invested more/invested earlier
  • I would have bought a property/invested in real estate/land
  • I would have done more schooling/higher education/different stream
  • I would have avoided debts/not overspent on credit cards
  • I would have made the right decision when selling/buying property
  • I would have kept my job/worked longer/wouldn’t retired earlier
  • I would have been more responsible with money/budgeted earlier
  • I would have saved more for retirement/retirement plan
  • I would have spent less money on leisure/gambling
  • I would have tried to get a higher paying job
  • I wouldn’t have bought a car
  • I would have spent less money
  • I would have had a separate bank account with spouse/no divorce
  • I would have avoided bankruptcy/managed business better
  • Other
  • No regrets
  • No Answer

The survey reveals that more than eight-in-ten Canadians (83%) have at least one financial regret.  What’s yours, if any?

This article, Change Your Mindset If You Want to Succeeddoesn’t talk about money.  It simply talks about life.  My biggest takeaway was this quote from business coach, author, and speaker Ali Golds. She says, Celebrating triumphs can also help put self-doubt to flight and take the spotlight off setbacks. “Who cares about mistakes? I don’t,” adds Golds. “I celebrate every achievement, even tiny ones, because without them I’d never have gone on to bigger successes.”

After answering the above survey questions, we may want to change one way we handle money. Ali Golds’ reasoning can apply to our money concerns.  If we need to make changes to our financial circumstances, then we need to develop a strategy.  Ignoring the problems doesn’t help.  Action may or may not result in triumphs and successes every time but we can celebrate the strides we do make towards our financial goals.  Any change, big or small, to improve our financial well-being is a step worth taking. 

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