I consider myself a perpetual student. I love learning. I went back to school twelve years after I finished my undergraduate degree to get a Master’s degree, in large part just because I love learning. Because of that inner drive to grow and to know things, even my personal life is filled with knowledge-seeking. I read a lot– and it’s almost always non-fiction, from essays and/or instructionals written by Jiu Jitsu black belts; to learning how to understand and invest in the stock market; to understanding the mental game in athletics; to books about The Hidden Side of Everything. Another way I feel I am constantly educating myself and feeding my addiction to knowledge is by listening to the Freaknomics podcast, which I have posted about before.
Just last week, I had mentioned in my post that I am a better coach than a salesperson. Well, interestingly enough, in the time since I published that post I happened to listen to a Freaknomics podcast that hit close to home, in that regard. The podcast laid out some interesting ideas about motivation and about making the “right” decisions for ourselves.
This week, I read the journal publication of a study regarding a particular financial counseling strategy. The researcher was looking at a Transtheoretical Model from counseling psychology and seeking to adapt it and apply it to financial counseling. I thought it was a very interesting read. Yes, I am that nerdy. 🙂 Psychology is very interesting to me and I’m always looking for ways to try and improve myself and my ability as a counselor.
Reading that study got me thinking a lot about a particular idea: Motivation. Motivation is one of the biggest precursors to both change and success. So, if we don’t feel motivated to change, are we lost? Is there no hope for us to turn things around? I think the answer is yes and no.
Let’s assume for a second that you are just like me (and most people) and that changing habits isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world for you. Well, changing our financial lives often requires a little bit of reprogramming. It usually requires either some changing of old habits or creation of new ones.
When it comes to reprogramming ourselves, whether we are talking about finances or anything else in life, one of the most important things we can remember is that change is incremental. Baby Steps into the hallway. Baby Steps into the elevator.
In this final post from our Financial Literacy Month special series on the Four Pillars of Financial Health, we’re talking about saving. It’s the most important part of your budget. Saving isn’t entirely without its challenges but it’s a necessity. Without savings, even the best-functioning budget is far more frail than it appears. A budget without savings is a house made out of straw instead of a house made out of bricks. If one big, bad life event comes along, it’ll blow your house down.
Sort of on that note, the economy is tough these days. We’re earning less as things are costing more. Some folks would argue that makes it harder to save money. I would say that makes it all the more important that we save.