If there was one thing I would wish for every person trying to get from … well…. from rags to reasonable…. it would be this….
Be gentle with your expectations.
There is nothing in this work that happens quickly. Despite all the ‘only 5 minute’ talk that is posted all over the internet (I’m pretty sure there’s even some of it on this site)…. that’s not how it works.
You will find truths about your finances (and maybe yourself) that you won’t love.
Maybe there’s more debt than you think….
Maybe you spend more every month than you ‘think you should’….
Maybe you haven’t filed your taxes in 7 years….
Maybe things feel really bad.
Learning those things is one of the first steps… but it’s far from being the last step. Knowing what’s going on is key, but nothing is going to change quickly.
Getting control of your money isn’t a ‘one time job’
It’s so tempting to believe that you just need to ‘figure out your finances’ and then you’ll never have to think about this stuff again.
That’s what I wanted to believe.
But how could it be?
Financial work is based on the fundamental question of ‘what do I want’? That is not a question that is answered only once in a lifetime. It is a question that is repeatedly asked and answered. It is struggled with and experimented with.
It’s a super hard question.
This work is a craft, and like any other craft it takes years to gain some kind of competency… let alone mastery.
And here’s why that’s a good thing…
You don’t have to get it right the first time (and you probably won’t)
If there’s some grand cosmic one-time money solution for all of us, that’s a hella stressful thing. It means that anything that doesn’t solve everything is a failure.
But when we look at it as a craft we can see failure as an essential part of the process. Of course you’re going to be bad at it… you’re just learning!
That way we can apply our better angels of curiosity and non-judgemental self-awareness to actually figuring some shit out instead of giving up after the first time your budget numbers don’t add up.
Take the pressure off and start the process…
It’s not going to happen quickly.
You’re probably not going pick the right strategy the first time.
Your first budget will be a disaster.
And now that you know that, you can stop worrying about it. You can stop worrying about fixing everything in a week (or a month).
You can give yourself a freaking break and just start chipping away at it. One piece at a time. One lesson at a time.
And watch things start to get better.
Rags to Reasonable Community Outreach Coordinator
Emily Nixon is an actor/writer/director/filmmaking Swiss Army Knife. She is also a big money nerd and Community Outreach Coordinator for Rags to Reasonable.
She came to this work after becoming completely fed up with living paycheque-to-paycheque and being too afraid to look in her chequing account. She is passionate about empowering other artists and variable income earners to keep doing what they love and feel confident about their finances.
Email Emily at email@example.com