Wealth Column: How to exorcise your financial demons
Halloween is just around the corner. People of all ages will be dressed up as ghosts, ghouls and gremlins, but what about the spookier aspects of your finances?
It's important to take a look at what sinister behaviors are playing a role in your financial life.
We've laid out our four step process to exorcise your financial demons for good.
Step 1: Identify your demons
Ignorance will no longer equal bliss when you hit retirement and realize you've run out of money. It's important to identify the ideas and emotions that could keep you from being stress-free later in life.
Are you putting off looking at your portfolio or planning for retirement? Don't let procrastination derail your future. Are you spending money that should be transferred to savings or investments to help pay for future necessities? Make sure debts and overspending aren't putting you in a rough spot financially. Are you putting all of your money into the hottest stocks to try and take advantage of the market, without thinking through the risks? Don't let greed cloud your judgment.
Step 2: Fight demons with logic
Many of your financial demons are likely linked to emotions—emotions that are normal and
understandable, but don't help keep you thinking logically about your money.
For instance, concerns still linger from the Great Recession of 2007-08. In fact, according to Markets Insider, 14 percent of adults aged 65 and higher still consider the recession when making financial decisions.
Fear can be healthy in some situations, but it shouldn't prevent you from getting a return on your
investments. Logically, selling low is clearly a bad decision, but when fear starts to play a role, it's easy to allow that emotion to take over.
By the same token, the excitement of buying up the hot stock can get you hooked as well. Just as selling low can lead to lowered returns, buying high can also mean disaster if that stock suddenly falls.
Remember, what the market does today won't make much impact, if any, on your money if you're planning to make your first withdrawal in 10 years.
Step 3: Set up a plan to keep your demons away
If you've got a spending demon to ward off, set a budget and stick to it. If your demons make you overzealous about investing it all in hot markets, or convince you to become a fear-driven seller when stocks drop, consider using a financial adviser to oversee your investments and help keep those demons at bay.
You should also have a plan for when real life "demons" strike and you need extra income to help cover a medical emergency or sudden job loss. Having emergency savings that are easily accessible and can support your for around six months is a good goal to keep in mind.
Step 4: Build up your demon-defense army
You aren't alone in the quest for financial stability. Having a financial adviser to call in for backup can help keep those financial demons away, but you may find you need more specialists that know the ins and outs of financial success. By having investment managers, planners and tax strategists on your side, you'll be better prepared to banish those demons for good.