Five Ways to Practice Self-Care in Your Financial Life

“Self care” is a buzz phrase we hear a lot these days, and in general it involves taking steps to reduce stress and optimize wellness, with examples that include limiting screen time, using PTO, and practicing meditation.

At Bartlett Wealth Management we believe few things bring peace of mind like financial well-being. That’s why there’s no better time than the start of a brand-new year to implement these five financial self-care strategies:

1) Pay yourself first.

Use this time of year as an opportunity to increase your 401(k) savings rate to coincide with annual bonuses, salary bumps, and cost-of-living increases. If you’re already maxing out your 401(k) contributions, think about contributing more to a Health Savings Account (HSA) and/or opening a taxable investment account or 529 plan for kids and grandkids.

Note: Be sure you have a savings account with enough funds to cover 3-6 months’ worth of expenses, as well as any unexpected costs that may arise.

2) Do some housekeeping.

Organizational guru Marie Kondo’s simple housekeeping strategies can also apply to financial life — but instead of throwing out those extra lines of credit or old 401(k) accounts from past employers, consolidating them will help streamline the big picture and make your overall finances easier to track.

3) Don’t obsess.

Ever heard the saying “a watched pot never boils?” The same goes for checking the stock market — doing so can leave you feeling anxious at best and prone to rash decisions at worst. Instead, trust the research and advice of your Bartlett advisor, and know that staying the course has been the best strategy for long-term return.

4) Track your expenses.

Many Bartlett clients use eMoney to monitor their various spending buckets and receive alerts when spending patterns veer from their original plan. You don’t have to track every nickel and dime, but it’s critical to have an understanding of where you’re spending the most month to month, and year on year.

5) Enjoy life.

This is perhaps the most important component of any self-care plan. One of the best gifts we can offer ourselves is something exciting to look forward to. Maybe you’re counting down the days until your daughter’s wedding, or perhaps you’re planning to surprise the family with a big, once-in-a-lifetime vacation. Write down your milestone goals, share them with your advisor, and then let yourself look forward to them as if they were the most important part of your financial journey — because, in fact, they are.