Is money management in any way related to your life? Or do you consider it something from the past, when you were younger and had a family to keep? I’ll explain why I consider money management to be of all ages. And why money management in retirement is important.
How old are you when you have come to the end of your life? Some people freak out by this question. Others respond that they have never thought about it. Only a few mention a number.
We all have a notion of what we want from life, haven’t we? We want to grow old and we want to be healthy. And as soon as you put a number on it, you can calculate whether you have enough money to get there.
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My father was very progressive when it came to women’s emancipation. He encouraged me to study as much as possible and aim as high as possible so that I could be self-sufficient in later life.
On the other hand, another one of his convictions was “He who is born for a dime, will never be worth a quarter.”
I never realized what the result of this inconsistency in my own head was, until the financial crisis of 2008. When I finally discovered that my financial IQ wasn’t well-developed.
The financial crisis of 2008
Both Tom and I were solo-entrepreneurs when the financial crisis of 2008 hit the world. We didn’t notice the effects right away, but gradually we had to use our savings to get by. You may have experienced it yourself: when your account is not replenished you rapidly run out of money.
It wouldn’t have been so bad if we had thought about it beforehand. We hadn’t. There was no plan B and at times money was very tight.
Being too distracted with money concerns is very bad for problem-solving. People are not poor for being stupid or irresponsible. Poor people are occupied with other things, which consumes plenty of their thinking capacities.
Or as The Correspondence puts it: Poverty isn’t a lack of character. It’s a lack of cash.
What makes you happy?
The turning point for us came when I learned to write down daily what I was grateful for. This didn’t bring me more money in the beginning, but it made me realize we weren’t doing as bad as we thought we were.
Being happy with what you have, makes life a lot easier.
Being happy also gives space to new ideas and new plans. So Tom and I developed new sources of income and were able to fill the gap in our savings.
The effect of showing gratitude by paying money
Writing down what I was grateful for was one way of expressing my gratitude. Another way was the plan to buy flowers for people I was grateful for. Old teachers, friends I had lost contact with, mentors, family, writers of books that made an impact.
Most lived far away, some were even dead. So I made a card in which I could slide a real 10€ banknote. Once a month I sent the card anonymously to someone on my list. The note said I was thankful for their lessons, but couldn’t send a real bouquet of flowers, hence the money. With that money, they could buy a bouquet of their favorite flowers at a convenient time.
My parents were the exception. They were already dead then so I couldn’t send them a card. I bought flowers and went to the ‘field of ashes’ on the graveyard to lay them there.
If you want to develop an abundant mindset to show gratitude this way of spending money is an action I can highly recommend. 🙂
Do you have enough money?
During my entrepreneurship, I kept my books. Very precisely. I knew what came in, what went out, what big purchases were coming up. I compared the results of several years and made budgets for the coming year.
It is really very strange that I didn’t do that for our private finances.
Once I started doing that and making budgets for the different parts of our lives, things got better. We started making plans again.
How much stuff do you need?
One of these plans was selling the house and moving to Spain. I always believed we couldn’t do that because of a lack of money, but never actually calculated whether I was right.
Another plan was to sell a lot of our stuff. How much stuff do we need in reality? It’s always less than you think. Laugh heartily about it with this video of George Carlin called ‘Stuff’.
What we couldn’t sell in time, we gave to someone who would be happy with it.
Moving abroad set off another period of living from our savings, but this time it was a calculated one.
Some rules of thumb
Apart from this unusual start of dealing with your money management, some usual issues are worth considering as well:
- Be grateful for what you have;
- Know your numbers;
- Be aware of tax rules. Are they different now that you have retired? Are there perks because you are 65+?
- Work on your money mindset;
- Have an emergency fund in place;
- Try to be debt-free;
- Adjust your plans when necessary;
- Love money. Being frugal is good, money-grubbing isn’t.
Money management in retirement
The COVID crisis isn’t over yet and I suspect that the aftermath will last a long time. What will the effect on our pensions and savings be in the long run? Will it have an impact on the stock exchange?
If you want to dream and want to dream big – as you should – you have to do money management! You might even want to look at ways to earn some residual income.
Oh, and BTW, I am going to live to be a 110. So I’d better keep on managing my money 🙂
How old are you going to be? Tell us in the comment box below.
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