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In a way, feeling “rich” depends less on how many zeros you have in your bank account and more on knowing how to use them to get what you want out of life.
For author and certified financial planner Tom Corley, feeling rich comes from having an Irish pub-style facility in his backyard in New Jersey that allows him to invite friends over for a drink outside. For Liz Gendreau, founder of the Chief Mom Officer website, that feeling comes from taking advantage of free and fun activities like visiting local state parks in her home state of Connecticut. And financial advisor Andi Wrenn in Raleigh, North Carolina finds that feeling when she gets into her RV and sets off on a road trip.
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“Wealth comes from having small, tangible financial goals that you’re working towards,” says Megan McCoy, assistant professor of personal financial planning at Kansas State University. These goals could be paying off student loan debt, buying a home, or something unique, like Corley’s backyard facility.
We asked financial experts to share their advice on how to feel richer today given the current levels of uncertainty and financial stress. Here are their best suggestions:
Think about what you value
Gendreau knows that cars aren’t important to her, but family time is. So instead of spending money on a new car, she invests her money in family businesses. She extends the budget on hers too, taking advantage of free passes to museums, local libraries and free state parks.
“It’s about finding fun things to do that don’t cost a lot of money but bring a lot of joy and happiness,” she says. Indulging in these kinds of adventures gives her the feeling of being rich, even if they are not expensive.
Corley, author of the book “Rich Habits”, calls that strategy “value-based spending.” Encourage people to think about what is truly important to them, such as traveling or spending time with friends and family, and to focus on directing money to those areas instead of material possessions that may not bring so much joy.
Choose healthy role models
This joy-focused approach can also help with feelings of financial envy. “If you don’t have value-based spending, you can be a victim of confrontation with others and the creepy lifestyle,” which is when spending grows with income, Corley warns.
McCoy says that when we’re constantly confronting richer neighbors or influencers on Instagram, it’s easy to be dissatisfied. “We need healthy comparisons. Is there anyone else you could compare yourself with, like your past self, or your aunt who worked so hard and got her dream pension?
Gendreau suggests hiding social media posts from people who inspire feelings of jealousy or giving them your own interpretation. “If I see something that looks a lot of fun in a posh place that doesn’t fit my budget, I might think, ‘Can I do something similar for a lower price? Do I have to go to a fancy place on the beach or can I go to a closer place? ‘ I don’t need to go to the Caribbean to have fun on the beach ”.
Grow resilience with savings
“You’re going to make mistakes,” says Heath Carelock, a financial advisor and coach based in Prince George County, Maryland. To overcome them, he says, it’s important to forgive yourself and build a financial cushion. When he started working in the business world, he gave himself what he called the “1-2-3-4-5” challenge: he saved $ 123.45 on every paycheck.
“Watching your money pile up is an important way to double resilience,” he says. So, if you face a sudden and unexpected expense, you have a financial cushion to protect you, which evokes a feeling of “wealth” or comfort.
“People are much more relaxed if they have emergency savings so they know they can pay all the bills they need each month,” Wrenn says. He says even having a month or two of spending can provide that elusive feeling of financial well-being.
Create a budget and pay the debt
“If you don’t keep track of where your money goes, you’ll feel financially insecure because you’re always worried about ‘Where does my money go?’” Says Gendreau. He suggests using a budget to track your spending, especially given current inflation levels.
Debt can prevent people from pursuing their dreams, says Carelock, because instead of investing money to start a new business or take a vacation, you have to put the money into paying the debt. “If he’s not a dream killer, he’s a dream retarder,” he says. Using an online calculator to make a plan to pay off your debt can help.
Celebrate your progress
When McCoy finally paid off six figures of the student loan debt, he celebrated his first paycheck. But she says she would have felt even better if she had instead celebrated his progress along the way.
“I only had a moment of happiness that quickly faded away. If I could make it, I would celebrate every $ 10,000 I paid, so I could have celebrated 10 times.
This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press.