The Diary of a Budgeter – Day 41

Bobbi Olson Articles, The Diary of a Budgeter

Emotions & Money

I have a headache from thinking about my financial goals. I want my 6-month emergency fund bad! It will give me so much peace of mind! And I can do it by the end of 2021, if I just stay the course. After that, I can save for my next car! It’s a big chunk of money, but I know I can do it! I have specific goals that I’m excited about – and in the whole scheme of things, it won’t take that long to accomplish them, but I’m feeling antsy and impatient today! Sometimes it’s hard not to get caught up in the news of the moment.

In my day job, I produce a radio show focused on investing, which means I’m constantly watching and reading stock market news. In the last few weeks, everyone I know has been talking about investing – even those who never had any interest – because of the GameStop news. That hasn’t bothered me; I don’t have the stomach for taking those kind of risks.

But the market, in general, has gone up so much so fast, it’s hard not to get swept up in it. And all the experts keep talking about how it’s largely due to the fact that the Fed has said it will keep interest rates low for the foreseeable future, plus a large number of people are investing their stimulus money. Since there’s more stimulus coming, it’s become like a feeding frenzy. Easy money to be made! Sure, it can be easily lost too, but it’s going to keep going straight up, right? And if it’s “free” money coming from the government, why not?

I know better; I’ve been watching the markets for a long time. But as I’m saving money in a bank account that’s yielding half a percent interest, at best, it’s tempting to put that money into the markets. Think about how much faster I could hit my goals, if the money was growing! I’m the first to tell other people DON’T DO IT!!!! You can’t afford to lose your emergency fund – and you should NEVER invest what you can’t afford to lose! But man, is it tempting!

I’m lucky I have a wonderful husband to bounce these things off, someone to bring me back down to earth, when my head starts getting into the clouds. He reminded me that we have goals for a reason, that there is money flowing into our retirement funds and that there will be other opportunities. We created our goals & plans unemotionally and intentionally, so we could follow them blindly, when negative emotions creep in to throw us off track.

Once we’ve hit the goals we carefully and thoughtfully laid out (on my urging, by the way) we’ll be truly ready for other opportunities to come our way. We won’t have to think about whether we should stray from a goal to take advantage of it, or whether we can afford the risk, because we’ll have a budget category specifically for those types of opportunities! But until then, we need to be patient and follow the plan.

If you don’t have a sounding board, I urge you to find one! I can’t tell you how many times having these conversations with someone else has saved me time, heartache and money!

Need a sounding board? Email me and let’s chat!