Happy wallet, happy world: how to bring joy to your finances in 2017
Google knows me so well. My browsing history is full of:
- a) meditation and mindfulness articles
- b) investment and finance articles
In an effort to square this possibly quite unusual circle, I am delivered a number of ads for things like “money gurus”, “16 spiritual ways to wealth”, “create your own abundance rituals”, etc.
From time to time, I do have a look at how some experts think I can magic money from thin air. A good deal of these articles involve people selling people who aren’t very confident about money the empty promise that, I don’t know, lighting a candle, will result in riches flooding in.
The Problem with Wishful Thinking
if I just sent out positive money thoughts and the universal powers of attraction sent me back wads of fifties, I promise, you’d be the first to know about it, but as you can see, I am also quite dismissive of being sold such techniques.
Suspending cynicism for a moment, I do agree that projecting into the world a sense of lack, stress and general unease about money does mean that money problems can develop.
How Poor Money Habits Develop
Feeling out of control or lacking in confidence about money can mean that we do unhelpful things, which cause us more stress, such as not dealing with spiralling outgoings or debts because we can’t face dealing with it, or agreeing to insurance policies we don’t need because we aren’t confident enough to tell someone “no thank you”.
Or it can mean missing out on opportunities, such as interesting investments, because we simply think they are not for us, we can’t afford it, or they are too risky.
Time to Change the Way We Think About Money
There genuinely is something in the idea that we need to change the way we think about money. Rather than the current dominant thinking, which is: “they have more of it than me and I want more of it than them. Or at least, the same. Why can’t I?” It is helpful to retrain your brain into a more thoughtful, open understanding of what money is and what it can do for us and the rest of the world.
How to Keep Money Flowing for You and For Social Good
That last bit is important, as any Deepak Chopra reader will know, money flows, you give to receive, and if you block the flow, it stagnates and goes bad. Here, spirituality and economics are pretty much aligned – you do indeed need to keep your finances moving, shifting from deal to deal, increasing the amount you invest here, saying goodbye to that current account provider, for it to keep working for you. But this is 2017 – you don’t want it to be at the expense of anyone else either. That is SO not good karma.
Like mental wellbeing, financial wellbeing requires attention and care. Where you put it requires as much thought as your wardrobe, meal plans and interior design, if not more.
Abundance is as abundance does. I just made that up.
But what does it mean in practice?
It could be as simple as opening a new Innovative Finance ISA that lends money to a solar power company or windfarm (you can find these via Abundance Investment or Crowd2fund) and setting up a £100 regular monthly direct debit. It could be investing your stocks and shares ISA and your children’s junior ISAs in a positive impact portfolio with a B Corp certified platform such as EQ Investors. Life doesn’t get much more win-win than profiting from your principles.
It could be cancelling an unwanted website subscription or an insurance policy you feel sure is not ever going to be claimed on, so you can feel that bit more breathing space, or switching your current account away from a fracking funding High Street Goliath such as Barclays and to an altogether friendlier institution, such as Nationwide or hold out for the launch of one of the new challengers, Starling or Monzo, due to launch early this year).
If all of that sounds a bit too financial, there’s a load of other stuff you can do to get your money flowing like chi. There’s a raft of new apps for budgeting that will certainly help you face up to any bad spending habits – try Squirrel or Meet Cleo. Signing up to sharing apps such as food sharing app Olio, car boot app Shpock or rent out a room (even your whole house!) using Airbnb.
I can’t promise you everlasting riches, but putting a little mindfulness every day into the way you make, spend and save money could make 2017 the year you finally feel in control of your cash, and begin to enjoy what you can do with your money more.
Rebecca O’Connor is a respected financial journalist and the co-founder of Good With Money. She is an expert on sustainable banking, investments and savings.
For more info visit The Good With Money Website
Follow on twitter @goodmoneygirl
Photo Credits – Yoga Image by Elisabetta Landoni for Ethical Hedonist. Our Editor, Alison Jane at Rosewood London by Sam Lane Photography.