How much do your finances affect other aspects of your life?

If you were expecting a fabulous picture of Tom Cruise as Jerry Maguire screaming the fabulous catchphrase of the movie, my apologies.  I’m not enough of a fan to pull that off, but I do encourage you to picture that image in your head now.  That scene depicts one character’s survival mode and desperation when it comes to his personal financial security and well-being.  We all feel that to some degree, as it takes money to provide for our families and ourselves.

With the holiday season having just drawn to a close, how has your life been affected by your finances – and by the spending of money in particular? The old adage “money can’t buy happiness” is true, however there is this fascinating talk from Michael Norton which shows how money CAN buy happiness, when spent on others.  So gift-giving should bring a euphoric high to us all, right?  And then the other shoe drops.

Now that the gifting has been done, do you feel you’ve over-indulged and are dreading receipt of the credit card bills?  Perhaps you’ll just put your head in the sand and snuggle comfortably up in debt denial, which will only affect your mood in a negative way.  In fact, credit card debt has been scientifically linked to depression.  No surprise!  Many families feel, especially post-holiday, like they’re a hamster on a wheel unable to get out from under their debt no matter what they do.  Just as they come out of paying off Christmas, they’re faced with starting to Christmas shop again.  Finances are to blame in 45% of all divorces in North America and remain the leading cause for the end of relationships. Overspending is often used as a cosmetic filler to make up for other parts that are lacking in life and relationships.  Lack of communication and mismanagement of personal/family finances can create further stress and unhappiness in a household, where you’re constantly living off other people’s money (i.e. credit) and not conscious of what you’re spending money on.  That trip to the coffee shop – 4 times a day; those two or three bottles of wine a week; that shopping spree to make yourself feel happy (for a few hours) are all just filling existing voids and will only lead to deeper pain.

There are ways to become financially sound, dig yourself out of debt denial, and find happiness in 2015 – and it only requires some planning, dedication, and a goal.

Is a 2015 New Year’s Resolution to get out of debt, or start a financial plan?  Are you thinking about your RRSP contributions for 2014 (you have 55 more days), or setting your own deadlines to have your taxes done early this year?  Whatever the case may be, odds are you’re like so many others and have one or more areas of your life directly affected – positively or negatively – by your current financial position. If you need some personal guidance, I’m here to help!