Have you ever read a book that just hits you? And hits you hard?
I just had that experience over the past couple of weeks.
Jen Hemphill, Accredited Financial Counselor and integral member of team Brystalifer, recently released her new book: Her Money Matters. She was kind enough to supply me with a free advance copy so I could let you all know my thoughts on it.
A Different Kind of Personal Finance Book
I’ve read some pretty amazing books on personal finance.
This one is different in the best of ways. It’s for people who know what they should be doing, but struggle to make actual progress. Maybe you keep hitting bumps in the road that force you to drain your emergency fund. Maybe your past money experiences are informing the way you make financial decisions in ways you’re not even conscious of.
Whatever your block is, Jen gives you actionable steps to help you overcome. To help you dream bigger, focus on positivity and get your personal finances functioning in the way want them to.
The biggest lesson that really struck me was that confidence is one of the biggest factors behind motivation. I had never really thought about it in this way before, but it’s so true. When we feel like we’re capable–when we feel like we really can reach our goals–we’re more likely to work at them full force. We’re going to be more excited because we feel like we really can achieve, and that our efforts will not be fruitless.
This can apply to so many areas of your life, but it definitely applies to your money.
A Personal Experience
I’ve been in one of those ruts lately. The kind where you know what to do and fully intend to do it, but one emergency or another keeps popping up and derailing your plans.
Prior to this read, I wouldn’t say that it was shattering my money confidence as much as my hope that things would improve. But now I understand those two things are intertwined.
After reading Jen’s book, I have some of that confidence back. And I have a clear vision of the path I need to pursue it. I want to share the results of just a couple of these confidence-building exercises. And encourage you to do them, too.
I’d also encourage you to pick up a copy of the book. Because it’s fan-freaking-tastic.
Identifying Your Why
A big thing that Jen points out in the book is that you can have all the goals, but if you don’t know why you have those goals, you’re going to have a harder time turning them into reality. You need to identify your “why” for those times when the going gets tough; if you can zoom out to the bigger picture, you can put a small blip in your financial life into perspective–no matter how nasty that blip may feel in the moment.
She goes into great detail, helping you identify and construct your “why.” Here’s mine:
My money matters because I want stability and security for myself and my children, and I want to be an actor in my life rather than a passive vessel.
Healthy finances help me achieve both of those goals.
Building Your Confidence
One of the many things Jen has you do to build your money confidence is to list out your past financial wins. I have this hangup where I feel guilty praising myself, but this read helped me realize I’m going to have to get over that if I want to get out of this weird funk.
So here are my wins:
- When I was a teenager, I paid off ten grand in six months.
- I paid off the last round of debt in a quarter of a year.
- I’ve stashed significant money into my emergency fund multiple times–even while I was living on a lower income.
- I’ve become a pro at fighting health insurance companies–though it agitates me to no end that I have to do so.
- I pulled my income up above the poverty line.
- I got paid to return to college as a nontraditional student.
- I’m saving for retirement.
- I’m really good at taxes.
- I’ve been fortunate enough to help other people with my money.
- I once wrote a successful goodwill letter to fix my credit.
- I’ve been meaning to get around to sending old clothes in to threadUP for waaaaayyyy too long. In the past couple months, I finally made it happen. My closets are much cleaner, and my wallet is a tiny bit thicker.
- Booking crazy cheap travel so I can see more of this interesting world. I’m able to do this most of the time.
Writing this list was like pulling teeth at first. I felt gross listing out things I had done well, and had to stop myself from qualifying them with the negative money moves I’ve made in the past.
Full honesty, I feel gross posting it for the world to see, too. But I’m doing it anyways. Because I know I can’t be the only one with this issue. Also, my goal for 2018 is bravery.
As I went on, though, I noticed that it was starting to work. I realized that because I had done all these things before–sometimes with less resources than I have now–I can get things back to where I want them to be if I set my mind to it.
Obviously, it’s a resounding “yes”.
If you’ve read the conventional advice, but your money isn’t where you want it to be, this book is my number one recommendation. Jen gives you a fresh perspective, and puts you to work implementing these new concepts at the end of each of the twenty-three chapters. I gave you an example of just two of them.
If you want to fix your money, first you’ve got to fix the way you think about it. You can do that by getting your very own copy of the book.
What is your financial “why”? What are some of your past money wins? Let me know in the comments!