Connecting your money and meaning is an ongoing process. Learn more about when and how often to sync up your life and money.
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Hey, humans! I’m Michael Liersch. This is the About Money podcast, presented by Wells Fargo. I’m a behavioral scientist with a PhD in cognitive psychology who loves openly discussing money to help humans better understand their money behaviors. By understanding our money behaviors, we all have the opportunity to make better money decisions.
In this season, we’re going to talk about how we can all sync up our life and our money. We call it LifeSyncSM. You might be asking yourself, why does LifeSync matter? Well, when we align what we want to accomplish in life with our money, it can clarify whether money is truly working hard for us to get us to where we want to go. But that requires us to be intentional about what we want in our life, the jobs we want money to do for us, and compare it with how our money’s organized both now and in the future. To that end, we’re going to keep each episode under 10 minutes so that you can take immediate action to LifeSync. So let’s get into it.
In this episode, we’re going to answer the question: “How often should I LifeSync?” In other words, how often should I formally connect money and meaning? And I’m going to tell you, this is a bit of a trick question because it really is not about how often should I formally connect money in meaning? It’s really about this idea of living your money and meaning, and what I mean by that is, we really should be as intentional as possible on a moment-to-moment basis about our money because each penny, each dollar, it matters. And if you take on that perspective, that money has real meaning to you and to others and it can really provide extraordinary outcomes and benefits, it just creates a different energy to how you live your life. It’s about you really feeling connected each and every moment when you use your money to get to where you want to go, whether it feels good or whether you feel like you have the opportunity to make an incrementally better money decision.
So I am going to break it down for you with that in mind. So, on a daily basis, I’ve already alluded to this, really focus on getting up in the morning and living your values when it comes to your money. And I’m going to keep this part pretty simple. Give yourself some grace and empathy. Use what I like to call the 80/20 rule: You can, generally speaking, be super intentional and do a great job 80% of the time, and 20% of the time, just give yourself some grace that it’s probably not going to go as well as you’d hoped, and that’s OK. As long as you’re using this 80/20 rule, or the majority of the time you’re doing your best, that’s amazing, and you should really celebrate that, but try on a daily basis as best you can to make the most of your money and connect it to what’s most important to you.
On a monthly basis, I really encourage you to be reflective of your money behaviors, and what I mean by be reflective is on a monthly basis, look at your online transactions. Look at those paper statements you get. Really open them up, especially when it comes to your spending patterns. Are you spending your money — is your money being used in a way that makes you and your family feel awesome, you feel empowered, you know, you’re getting done what you know you have to get done, even if it’s not fun, you know, the money is going toward the things that matter most, look at those transactions. Look at those statements. Look at what you’re doing with your money. Make it a habit and make sure that you do it every month because if you wait, and a lot of people like to, you know, let those things pile up, it does become overwhelming.
Some of you are thinking to yourself, Michael that all sounds very nice, but if I were to do that every month, it would take so much time. It’s just all way too much. And what I would ask yourself is, and there’s a lot of evidence that people watch many, many hours of either streaming content or TV many hours a week, you know, watch or stream one less show. So, challenge yourself there. Make it a monthly habit, make it incremental, and then it doesn’t become overwhelming.
The third item is really, again, quarterly. So, think of this idea of every three months, what should you be doing? And what I would say is that monthly routine is about looking back; the quarterly routine is about looking forward. So, think about what’s coming up, and I’m going to give you some examples.
So in, you know, the first quarter, so January through March, oftentimes that’s tax preparation season, so really, you know, think about that. Think about, you know, going to a tax professional, getting together all your tax documents, that you have what you need so you don’t need to get an extension if that’s not required. You know, what do you need to make sure that when you get to that date where taxes are filed, you’re just so on top of it and prepared, you’re not stressed out? So think ahead.
Quarter two, April through June, hey, that one’s fun. That’s, think of summer vacation planning. You know, if you think ahead, you can, you know, schedule those plane trips or that car trip, the hotels, you know, the activities, get exactly what you want because you thought ahead. You didn’t wait till the last minute to do it.
Quarter three, July through September, for many people it’s back to school, you know, back to, you know, their business or work life in terms of, you know, elevated activity. You know, think about all the things you need to do — financially speaking, in particular — to prepare for that and to empower, you know, your family and yourself to make the most of the fall.
And then in Q4, this is often a time — so in October through December — where many people celebrate either religious holidays, national holidays, they give gifts to each other. Really be deliberate about it, and again, in the spirit of that summer vacation planning, you know, buying gifts ahead, preparing ahead before that season. So you can even do it earlier than this. It can give you discounts. You can think about buying things when they’re on sale. And then the person receiving it still feels as great about that gift, regardless of how much you paid for it.
And then, in addition to this quarterly idea, think of annually how you’re going to LifeSync or connect money and meaning, and that really gets into what we’ve already talked about, which is formally revisiting your money and the meaning behind it. So get everyone involved, you know, your spouse or partner, your family. Get them together. You know, talk about, you know, what you are supposed to or going to do and what you actually did do. And really assign what the work is that need to be done to specific individuals with time frames around them so that when you all come back together that following year, you just feel awesome about the progress made.
So that’s daily, monthly, quarterly, and ultimately, annually, some ways you can LifeSync, but again, as I mentioned, it’s really not about how often. It’s really about waking up each and every morning and doing your best to live your values to align money and meaning, and make sure that you feel confident that at least 80% of the time, you are being as intentional as you can to make the most of your money so you can make the most of your life, and that is LifeSync.
That’s it for this episode of the About Money podcast. Please email us with the topics that you would like us to address at AboutMoney@wellsfargo.com. And if you really like the episode, share it with family, friends, and anyone who listens to podcasts. About Money is produced by Wells Fargo. You can learn more about ways to work with us at wellsfargo.com/aboutmoney. I’m Michael Liersch, asking you to talk about money today.
This information is provided for educational and illustrative purposes only.
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