3 minute read

5 questions to ask yourself about your finances

It can be hard to make time to sit down and take stock of things, especially when it comes to money. Why not take 5 minutes now to answer these five questions and reflect on your finances?

1. What do I tell myself about money and where did I get this message from?

“Money is the root of all evil.”

“I’m not good with money.” 

“Money can’t buy happiness.” 

“Money is security.” 

“Money is scary and stressful.”

We all have different thoughts and attitudes about money, and they influence our behaviour and the decisions we make. Our financial habits can often be traced back to these thoughts. They’re often self-fulfilling prophecies, such as the person who always spends because they think “I’ll never have money”. Work out what messages you are repeating to yourself, where they came from - perhaps parents, family, friends or advertising and media, and whether they’re the right things for you. If you’re not happy with this self-talk, reframe the message to help you move forwards instead of holding you back, perhaps something like:

“Money is a tool for me to achieve my goals.”

2. Am I happy with where my money went this year?

For some of us, this requires a more fundamental question - do I know where my money went this year? Do a financial review of the year, and look at your bank account statements. If you’re not planning where your spending is going then it’s easy to spend without thinking, then feel disappointed with yourself at the end of the year. Reflect honestly on your satisfaction with the purchases you have made over the past year. Take a look at our Smart Spending System and plan out where your money will go with this planner to help you spend mindfully.

3. What is the one financial thing I want to tackle next year?

Pick a financial goal and work backwards. How much do you need to put aside each month to get there by the 31st December? Then open a nice shiny new savings account or pot, and give it a name based on that goal. Automate your contribution to it, whether that’s a salary deduction or a standing order. Or, if your goal is to pay off debt, start looking around to see if you could be getting a better deal, or accelerating your repayments. Salary Finance offers loans repaid through salary - to see if you have access to a salary-linked loan, click here.

4. Am I on track to meet my long term goals?

As well as thinking about a goal to tackle for next year, consider how you’re progressing with any long-term goals, such as saving for a first home, home renovations or retirement. If you’ve got no idea where you are with your pension - check out this pensions calculator. Consider increasing your pension contribution if you think you’ll need more. Increasing contributions when you get a pay rise is a great way to boost your pension contribution without feeling the pain on payday.

5. Who is my accountability buddy?

Peer pressure can be a good thing! Sharing your progress with a friend or loved one can help increase the likelihood that you’ll achieve your goal. It’s hard to stay motivated by yourself, so surround yourself with people who will cheer you on as you strive to reach your financial goals this year.

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