How Money Intentions Can Turn Your Finances Around

December 17, 2019 Author: Tess Downing, MBA, CFP®, Complete View Financial

Complete View Financial

Thanksgiving is behind you, and the turkey leftovers are finally gone. You’ve inflicted some damage on your credit cards with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. (Amazon makes it too darn easy.)

And now the countdown to Christmas takes on a life of its own as your emotions ricochet from anticipation to anxiety, and back again.

“Did I forget anyone on my gift list? Will he like the Apple AirPods I got him? Did I order everything we need for the holiday meal? Who’s bringing the wine? What if someone brings up politics?”

And although you’re trying to ignore it, in the back of your head, a little calculator is clicking away. Adding up everything that this year end celebration is costing you. More important, adding these costs on top of the financial events of this past year.

The phrase ‘New Year’s resolutions’ flits through your brain, followed by “Nah, those never work!”

And the truth is, they rarely do. But setting money intentions or non-resolutions can turn your finances around.

The Powerlessness of New Year’s Resolutions

Almost every article you read about resolutions quotes the same figures: that 25% of them are abandoned just a week into the new year, that only 46% of people keep them for six months and that a measly 8% make it the entire year.

A little research shows that the numbers everyone cites came from a 2002 Journal of Clinical Psychology study, probably the only one ever done. Was it a meaningful study? Not exactly. You see, they only studied 159 people.

Does it matter? Not really. We all know that few of those “I’m going to lose 25 pounds by March 1st” promises make it to February. And that the gyms that are filled with new members in early January are half-empty just a few weeks later.

So how do we use the end-of-year as a way to instigate meaningful change?

By creating non-resolutions.

How to Create Non-Resolutions Or Money Intentions
Step One

Open an iPad or your smartphone. Or grab a piece of paper. Think about your finances in 2019. List the first three things related to your finances that you wish had turned out differently.

You may have had several successes. But what disappointed you? Don’t dwell on it. The first three things you think of will probably unearth some sore spots, where you have something vested in the outcome.

Here are some examples:

  • I never had the money to do the things I wanted to do.

  • I didn’t make any progress on saving for retirement.

  • I struggled to close out some months because I didn’t know where the money went.
Step Two

Now take those statements and reverse them, so they become positive targets. Those will be the outcomes that are important to you.

  • I have the money to do the things I want to do.

  • I make progress on saving for retirement.

  • I close out each month because I know where my money goes.
Step Three

One-by-one, rewrite each statement in a way that has an emotional hook for you.

  • I have the money to do fun things like visiting the kids and grandkids.

  • I save for retirement as part of a realistic, do-able plan I can believe in.

  • I have control over my money and close out each month without a struggle.

Making Your Non-Resolutions Or Money Intentions Visible

What makes the most sense to you? Writing the three statements in a document that you embellish using an app like Canva, then printing it out? Scribbling them in pen on a piece of paper? Doodling with Crayola colored markers or Prismacolor colored pencils? Whatever works for you.

The only condition is that they should be in a form you can post somewhere where you see them all the time: above your computer or next to the coffeepot. Or you could turn a photo of your statements into the home screen image on your smartphone.

How Non-Resolutions Work

How does this work? Instead of setting specific objectives that you can easily dismiss – or fail to meet within a short period – you are setting intentions. You’ve plotted out your direction for the year.

Intentions are general instructions that can easily be integrated into your subconscious without creating resistance. And now your subconscious knows what you want.

Each time you have a financial decision to make, your mind will go back to your money intentions. And if what you were going to do was not aligned with an intention, you’ll find yourself thinking of a Plan B.

Need Some Extra Help?

These money intentions were about your financial life. You now know what you want to achieve. But you may not be sure how to make it happen.

  • ‘Having the money to do fun things’ may call for separating needs from wants, and setting up a monthly automatic savings plan with the freed-up cash.

  • ‘Having a realistic, do-able retirement plan’ may mean sitting with someone to brainstorm and structure a custom strategy.

  • ‘Having control over your money’ could mean learning to remove the emotion from money and building a better, perfectly livable budget.

And if you find you are missing some information or how-to guidance, don’t hesitate to look for help from those around you. It could be someone who has achieved what you want to achieve or a professional who can give you the tools to succeed.

Because this year, you’re going to succeed! Contact us today to get started!