Last month was National Fraud Awareness month. This month is important, too. First, it’s Financial Literacy Month, and second – and I think quite complimentary – it’s Stress Awareness Month.
On top of both of these issues, April 18th is also Tax Day (yes, it’s usually April 15, but due to a Washington DC holiday, we can all enjoy an extra weekend to squirm over our taxes).
As you think about becoming aware of and learning to reduce your stress this month, I want you to also think about the role that finances have in your life – and your stress level.
Most people stress about their finances, and much of that stress, I believe, comes from a lack of awareness about their financial situation and where it’s going.
In business, if you don’t know where you are at every moment financially, you can’t move forward successfully in the long-term.
I think this also holds true in one’s personal affairs, and I have no doubt that with financial knowledge comes a reduction in stress – or, if finances are bad, at least the ability to predict and therefore manage that stress with greater ease.
In honor of both of these months – and taxes coming due – I encourage all of my readers and clients to do a few things this month, both in their businesses and their personal lives.
1. Make a budget or do some financial planning.
This need not be professional consulting with a financial manager (though that’s always nice). Just get a better understanding about how much you’re spending and on what you’re spending it. You never know which areas of your spending could easily be trimmed. Though you may not “need” the extra money you free up, it certainly could be nice to put it towards that vacation you were looking to take, right?
If you don’t know how to make a budget or you need some financial tips, consider financial magazines like Money (by CNN) or Kiplingers. If you are savvy with your financial management and awareness, make sure you’re passing these values along to your children (and/or employees) effectively. If you’re a business owner, consider offering a financial management and planning seminar for your employees.
2. Do something to de-stress yourself.
If you’ve already done your taxes, great, and even if you haven’t, reward yourself with something de-stressing afterwards like a massage, weekend trip or a day off. Becoming aware of our stress is the first step to reducing it, and with reduced stress comes a greater quality of life. Better financial knowledge and management almost always reduce stress.
What will you do to raise financial awareness in your life this month? What will you do to de-stress?