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Financial Awareness Day Advice - August 15, 2023

Heather Pulier
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Like all of us, I am driven by the impulse to survive; survival requires money. So, why do so many of us (me included) work against our survival instincts? Gamble away our futures? Refrain from taking sound advice.

Why, in an era flooded with information, budgeting apps, robo advisors, more access to education, products, services, and people "sage advice," do Americans have the lowest savings-to-debt ratio, horrid financial literacy, and the highest level of economic anxiety and fear?

Answer: we lost track of the fact we are humans and have a relationship with money. The day we are born, we are a deficit on our parent's budget, and until the day we die costs money. Money is in our bones, our longest relationship, except with ourselves. If we are not conscious of the psychological hold money has on us and the intense nature of this partnership, then money controls us; we do not manage it.

Our mental biases, driven by our reptilian brain that makes 95 percent of our choices, further muddy the waters. Our instinctive pattern recognition doesn't care about accuracy - but accuracy matters regarding money.  

National Financial Awareness Day parades the same old wisdom about savings, investments, and budgets. But why, with all these facts, do we still fail? It's because we've been missing something critical: our money psychology.  

My research education and history of massive failures due to a previous toxic connection to money are the foundation of my work. Rich or poor unraveling the invisible forces that drive our financial decisions is critical to money and personal success.

  • Save more than you spend.
  • Invest in 401k and IRA Roth - be mindful of fees.
  • Create a lifelong savings plan before budgeting, renting, or buying.
  • Inventory the financial voices in your life - are they positive or negative?
  • Attack any addictions quickly - they wreak havoc on finances.
  • Get help for economic co-dependence.
  • Buy life insurance young - consider whole life policies and become your own bank.
  • Insure your health, property, and ability to work - including disability insurance.
  • Create a Family Money Tree - understand inherited financial behaviors.
  • Face and forgive money trauma, abuse, and financial mistakes - heal money shame because it paralyzes success.
  • Women: Demand equal pay and prepare for economic shifts related to family planning.
  • Choose the right life partner and create legally binding Partnership Agreements.
  • Follow the advice you get everywhere, have an emergency fund, avoid high-interest debt, utilize Tax-Advantaged Accounts like HSA, and guard against lifestyle creep.

The practical lists are not magic - our struggle is our humanness. The road to financial wellness isn't paved with spreadsheets and budgeting apps. It's a journey into the heart of who you are, what you value, and how you connect to the world through money. That's the cutting-edge path to real financial success.