My husband commented that I should check my tires since one in particular seemed a little deflated. I never look at my tires -never thought to – unless of course one goes flat on the way to a really important meeting while I’m in my best suit. Then I’d notice.
The mundane chore was fit into my schedule a week later when I got around to it. The exercise shocked me.
If You Don’t Look, You Don’t See
Visually assessing my car before I get into it was never a discipline I’d learned. All my tires were below the desired inflation level and the one was at least 1/3 less than what it should be! I started thinking about the implications of this:
- An off-balance set of wheels means lack of control if braking hard
- I was literally asking for a flat tire
- The expensive rims could be dented or warped
- The ride would be uncomfortable
Frog Boiling in Water
I drove away with inflated tires, and felt like I was floating. What a difference! Over time, I had become used to the slow deflation of my tires and deterioration of ride. It wasn’t until I fixed the problem that I understood how dangerous and uncomfortable the car was. Now I look at my car more frequently because I’ve learned the risks, and felt the benefits.
It’s the same with our cash. So many people ignore their cash until they hit the high stakes moment – when money anxiety pressure escalates and becomes unbearable, we don’t have time, and we can’t think clearly. Learning how to quickly review your cash regularly avoids those tense or scary moments. Don’t wait until your partner files for divorce, or your credit score is so low you can’t buy the dream home you finally found. You don’t deserve the stress, and you may make sub-optimal decisions.
The Quick & Dirty
Here's a loose but simple way of avoiding some high stakes moments. The best way is to stay on top of your cash in and cash out every month, but if you don't want to do that, try these tips:
* Get your credit score report quarterly. The three big ones must give you one credit report per year, so stagger them. Experian, Equifax, TransUnion. If you're below 750, it's a warning sign. Find out why.
* Has your credit card balance gone up or down in the last 6 months? If it's going up, eventually you hit a ceiling. Don't wait for it to happen. Your expenses are too high.
* Do you overdraw your account? If yes, then your expenses are too high, or you're not prepared for those surprise expenses that come periodically, like taxes or car insurance paid once a year. Put them in your calendar, or add them all up, divide by 12, and put away that much in a separate savings account.
If you're hitting a high stakes moment, and don't know how to getout of it, click below.
Information shown is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended as investment, legal or tax planning advice. Please consult a financial adviser, attorney or tax specialist for advice specific to your financial situation. Behavioral Cents, LLC and any third parties listed, linked to or otherwise appearing in this message are separate and unaffiliated and are not responsible for each other’s products, services or policies.
Carrie Rattle is Founder of Behavioral Cents and a 30-year veteran executive of financial services. Behavioral Cents helps women achieve independence, freedom, and a bigger voice in the world. Building a fatter bank women can confidently walk away from a bad job, build a business to change the world, or live on their own income. We work in a private, non-judgmental atmosphere with a program tailored to change your money behaviors for the better – without deprivation. Thoughts always welcome: email@example.com.