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

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Are you a hot mess? No, really.

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 a new season 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.

Black Enterprise Executive Editor-At-Large Alfred Edmond Jr. is an award-winning business and financial journalist, media executive, entrepreneurship expert,  personal growth/relationships coach, and co-founder of Grown Zone, a multimedia initiative focused on personal growth and healthy decision-making. This blog is dedicated to his thoughts about money, entrepreneurship, leadership and mentorship. Follow him on Twitter at @AlfredEdmondJr.