Money is an interesting thing. The more you try to escape it, the more unavoidable it becomes. The more you confront it and control it, the less it controls you. It’s a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.
For better or worse, it’s also an indicator of position in society. If you have a lot of money, people tend to respect you and take you seriously. If you don’t, life becomes far more difficult. Money is so powerful that it influences aspects of our lives far beyond simple financial realities — it can affect our very sense of self.
Research has shown that money is inextricably connected with happiness. It sounds controversial — we’ve all repeated to ourselves that money doesn’t buy happiness — but the simple truth is that if you’re unable to support yourself and your family, it’s very difficult to be happy.
Poor money management has been connected with low-self esteem and poor self worth. There’s a sense of helplessness associated with knowing that you’re not in control of your money.
On the other hand, smart money management can have positive consequences that are just as far-reaching. Those who manage money well are often happier, healthier and report higher levels of satisfaction.
Although money management can be stressful and time-consuming, there are serious consequences for neglecting it. In this particular case, out of sight is not out of mind, and what you don’t know can very much hurt you.
The Right Mindset for the Job
When it comes to the office, these facts about money remain relevant. Most jobs are demanding and competitive — they require you to stay sharp and in control. If you’re eating or sleeping poorly, you may notice a falling-off in the quality of your work.
Could the same be true of poor spending behavior and insufficient savings? Without a firm financial foundation, it’s impossible to build the sort of healthy lifestyle that allows you to perform at the highest level.
If you aren’t saving properly, it often means living paycheck to paycheck — as millions of Americans do. Can you imagine the sort of stress that causes? What if you get laid off? What if you have to take a pay cut?
If you aren’t financially secure, you might feel like you have to tiptoe around bosses and treat every project like your future depends on it. With the margin for error so small and the consequences of failure so catastrophic, work becomes an endless nightmare.
So how do you avoid this sort of stress in the workplace? Take control of your finances.
Make Money Work for You
Your credit score can be a pretty good indicator of your financial health. It’s not hard to understand or define credit, but your score takes more into account than just your loan history. It’s a holistic reflection of your financial behaviors, measured over a period of time.
If you have a poor credit score, it can be difficult to get loans, and you’ll end up paying much higher interest rates on your credit cards. Fortunately, you can repair your credit score by developing and keeping good financial habits.
For starters, don’t spend more than you earn. It sounds basic, but so many people end every month owing more money than they did at the beginning. Budget carefully and stick to your goals.
It’s important to know where your money is actually going. Small expenses don’t seem like a big deal at the time, but they add up quickly, and in the aggregate, they have a major effect on your finances. When you review your expenses, you might be surprised how much you spend on things like coffee, fast food and online subscriptions.
Be sure to pay your bills on time. Start saving a little bit each month in case of emergency — and protect your savings. Don’t dip into them for insignificant purchases. Speak with a financial advisor about retirement and investment options.
As you start developing these good habits, you’ll find that your whole life stabilizes and improves. Managing your money well will contribute to your peace of mind not just at work, but at home as well.
Originally published at medium.com