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When It Comes To Your Money, Are You A Hot Mess?

An exercise to give yourself a reality check—and maybe a much needed wake-up call—when it comes to your financial habits.

NYC tourists may soon be fined for buying counterfeit luxury goods

Spending more on the purse than you have in the purse is NOT a good look.

Sometimes we’re so busy living life, grinding and chasing our dreams that we don’t recognize that we need to periodically stop, reassess and pull ourselves together. As a result, we get caught slipping. There’s nothing like stopping in front of a mirror and really seeing yourself, only to find that you need a makeover, because you are a hot mess!

This scenario also applies to your finances. There are times, ideally once a quarter, that you need to stop and take a hard look at your financial habits. Now that summer has officially begun, here’s an exercise to assess whether or not you are a hot mess and, if so, provide the wake-up call you need to pull yourself together and make better money choices.

Ladies, take out all of your purses, and add up what you paid for them, as well as the value of everything you have in them, including cash, cosmetics and the balance owed on all credit cards. If the total value of your purses and their contents is more than the amount of money in your retirement fund, you are a hot mess—especially if you have no retirement savings!

Gentlemen, take your favorite hobby or pastime—for example, gaming. Add up the value of your game console(s) and all of the video games you’ve rented or purchased. Throw in the cost of that high-definition flat screen and your cable or wireless connection. If the total spent on your video game habit is higher than your emergency savings fund (which should be equal to at least six months of your living expenses or half your annual pre-tax income), you, too, are a hot mess!

It’s time to look in the mirror and reassess your financial priorities. I mean that literally: Sit in front of the mirror, with your pay stubs and all the cash you have on hand, as well as all of your bills, bank statements and credit cards, and ask yourself: Am I serious about changing, even if it’s just one habit, one day at a time, in order to improve my finances? If the answer is yes, make a commitment to yourself to start immediately to think and do differently with your finances, and expect your situation to get better, because it will.

If the answer is no, please understand: If you won’t change your mind, you can’t change your money. If you know you’re a hot mess and won’t do anything about it, you are just trifling. You need to check yourself, before you wreck yourself. Because ignoring your financial problems is just not a good look.

This blog is dedicated to my thoughts about money, entrepreneurship, leadership, mentorship and other things I need to get #OffMyChest. Follow me on Twitter at @AlfredEdmondJr.

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  • datracker

    Good article on financial habits. Because the cornerstone to financial control are good financial habits. The old checkbook register used to help us track our spending but there is a new smart checkbook register, the Debit Tracker and it comes with financial organizers. It can keep all of your spending an income by category so you know exactly what you have spent. see it at http://www.debittracker.com