Being prepared in our finances can empower us because it impacts all of the areas of our life. Knowing this simple fact led me to put together a five phase journey based on my own experience with finances and the experiences of those I’ve helped along the way. My hope is that this framework will show you the path to financial freedom.
Knowing where you are at and which direction you’re heading in is vital to moving towards where you ultimately want your end destination to be. These are the five phases we went through. If you can identify which of the behavioral phases you are in, you’ll also be able to identify the steps you need to take to move forward on your journey.
Wondering which phase you are in? Check out my 5 behavioral phases of the finance journey!
Phase 1 – Denial
This is where most people begin their financial journey. When my husband and I were first married, we were definitely in denial about our finances. We thought we had all of the money in the world and we were spending on credit like there was no tomorrow. We racked up debt on over 11 credit cards. Since we could afford the minimum payments on them, we thought we were fine. You know the motto, “Buy now, pay later”? That was us. Trust me, we sure did pay later!
We were in denial that we couldn’t really afford these things. We were in denial that we had a spending problem.
Phase 2 – Avoidance
In this phase, you start to recognize that you have a spending problem, but you’re doing things to avoid the issue because you don’t want to deal with it. But, at the end of every month, you need to come up with money to pay the bills and you’re noticing that your credit cards are maxed out.
For us, we had our 11 credit cards, and we found ourselves signing up for new credit cards each month with 0% interest rates. Then, we would transfer our balance from one credit card with a high interest rate to this new low interest card. Essentially, we were just moving our problems around – not solving them.
This process took care of some of the fees, but it didn’t solve the actual problem – which was our spending. We knew there was a problem, but we were avoiding it. We didn’t want to address it.
Phase 3 – Frustration
Eventually, if you are stuck in the denial or avoidance phases for long enough, you will start to get frustrated with your lifestyle. Living paycheck-to-paycheck, being tired every month of not knowing where all of your money is going, and having those arguments every month with your spouse or partner about money are just so frustrating.
That level of frustration at not knowing where your money is going, being disorganized with your finances, and over spending will start to build up and catch up to you. For myself and my husband we were in the avoidance and frustration phases for a long time. We finally decided enough was enough and we didn’t want to be stressed out and frustrated anymore. This led us into the next phase.
Phase 4 – Exploring
Once you’ve decided that you’ve had enough of the stress and frustration, you’ll begin to explore your options. We knew we needed to do something so we started to look at our situation and considered getting outside help. We took a good hard look at our lives and began to think about what it is that we wanted for our future.
Whether or not you do this yourself with all of the resources out there, you ask family and friends for tips and suggestions, or you get professional help, it’s important to find a solution to the problem you are having and begin to work on the issues. And this slowly moves you towards the final phase – the place where we all want to be!
Phase 5 – Control
The final stage brings us confidence and control. This is where we all hope to end up with peace of mind and stress free living. This is what we all want for our lives and our families.
Ask yourself – which phase are you in now? This might sound crazy, but if you are in the frustration phase, this is a great place to be! Here’s why: If you are frustrated, you’re likely ready to take action and make a change.
Now that you’ve identified which of the behavioral phases you’re at, it’s time to make a plan to move you along on your journey. Lucky for you, I can help with that! Let’s set a time for us to chat about how we can get you in control of your finances!
It would make parenting so much easier if they gave an instruction manual on your way home from the hospital. Unfortunately, this is the epitome of learning “on the job” and there are lots of times where you may feel like you’re screwing up.
No matter how frustrated you may get, it’s very important to keep your emotions in check and not let your kids see you doing certain things when you get upset.
Here are three things in particular that I’ve stopped doing to my kids when I’m upset and, trust me, it’s made a huge difference in our family life.
1. Yelling at them
As a result of lack of sleep and dealing with two little ones, it became way too easy to get upset letting my temper flair and start yelling. Unfortunately, this usually just adds fuel to the fire of the situation.
With younger kids, they can either just tune you out, or become legitimately terrified of your temper. With older kids and teens, they’re more likely to start yelling back which then starts a back-and-forth escalation that isn’t going to do anyone any good.
Once in a while, I will slip and raise my voice a little too loud and my kids will say to me “why are you yelling mom?”. There’s nothing like having your kid to remind you of your no yelling rule.
2. Disciplining in the moment
It’s natural for you to get angry with your children and fly off the handle when you’re disciplining them. But, once you make a proclamation, such as “You are grounded for a month,” then you’ve set the tone for how this is going to play out.
You can’t go back and realize that maybe a month is too long and then let them off the hook later on. When you do that, they take your discipline less seriously and are more likely to get in trouble again because they figure you will just back down.
Instead, tell them that you will discuss their behavior later when you’ve calmed down. Then, you can come back to have a rational conversation about their behavior. This will help them when it comes to modifying their actions and it will keep your blood pressure from blowing up!
3. Sending them to time out
Time outs became really popular a decade ago or so, but let’s face it, they’re just not cutting it in a lot of situations. Instead, if your child is throwing a tantrum, tell them they cannot do whatever it was that they were doing until they’ve calmed down.
If they blow-up while playing a game, tell them that the game gets put away until they stop having a meltdown. This will usually fix the situation and you can then address things later when you’ve both calmed down.
If they continue, ignore them. The tantrum is meant to be an acting out that will get attention. If you don’t feed into this, then it’s like denying oxygen to a fire. It will go out on its own pretty quickly.
Staying calm when you are upset with your children can be a difficult thing. But you can’t let your temper flare out of control. Remember, you are modeling behavior that will fuel their actions for years to come. Instead, take a deep breath and try to handle things calmly and rationally.