If you're struggling with money, the easiest solution is to point fingers elsewhere. The thing is, that's not really a solution at all. It's just an escape. If you really want a solution, though, you likely need to look in the mirror. Here are five questions to ask yourself to see if you're honest with yourself about how you manage your money.
Are you well-informed?
When you signed up for that life insurance policy, did you understand what the agent was telling you? Or did you just sign the paperwork because he said you needed it? The same goes for your most recent car purchase. Do you really know the salesman was giving you a deal? Or did you just take his word for it?
It's sad, but there are people out there ready to take advantage of the ill-informed. Being that person doesn't mean you're stupid. But taking steps to educate yourself about your financial decisions, at least on a basic level, will go a long way to help you save money.
Do you involve those who should be involved?
Communication (or the lack thereof) can make or break your finances in marriage. If only one person runs all the finances, it opens it up for someone making financial decisions behind the other's back or overspending simply because they don't know they're not on the same page. There's no rule that says each spouse needs to be equally invested in the family finances, but having constant communication about financial goals is a must if you want to reach your potential.
Do you expect others to bail you out?
Whether you're still seeking interest-free loans from the bank of mom and dad or you're hoping bankruptcy will solve all your problems, here's a little secret for you. These expectations are the core of your problem. When it comes to your money, you must be the one who takes ownership. The moment you stop expecting someone else to change your situation and recognize you're the one in charge, that's when you can begin making the right steps to financial security.
Are you consistent?
It's not enough to budget every once in a while, and it doesn't help to make a savings goal only to give up a month or two later. One way to help with consistency is to automate your finances as much as possible. Another way is to set goals you're invested in. So maybe you're not excited to save for retirement? Start thinking about what you actually want to do in retirement. Paint yourself a picture. It may seem far off, but once your goal turns into a vision, it will become something you're excited to prepare for.
For some people, this is the most difficult thing of all. A friend of mine told me the other day that she doesn't really care about money. She tries to live modestly, but if she wants to sign the kids up for sports or dance lessons, she does. If she wants to make a gourmet dinner that night, she goes to the store. That's great. Everyone should want to be in a position to be able to do that. The problem is that this friend of mine is deep in credit card debt.
No one is going to care more about your finances than you. A lot of life's problems can be compounded exponentially by financial problems. But if you take the time to care about being informed, consistent and accountable, communication comes a little easier. In all of this, the purpose is to be more honest with yourself. Because it's only when you're honest with yourself that you can begin to make real progress.