3 strategies to gain control of your money today, no matter how stressed you are

3 strategies to gain control of your money today, no matter how stressed you are
Skye Gould/Business Insider

3 strategies to gain control of your money today, no matter how stressed you are
Tanza Loudenback (left), hosted the Live Digital Bootcamp with panelists Preston D. Cherry (center) and Kelly Lannan (right).Business Insider
  • Preston D. Cherry, CFP and founder of Concurrent Financial Planning, and Kelly Lannan, vice president of Fidelity Investment's Young Investors for Personal Investing, sat down with Business Insider's Tanza Loudenback for the Master your Money Live Digital Bootcamp.
  • They discussed aligning your spending with your values, why it's important to explore your money mindset, and how to plan for the future in times of uncertainty.
  • Watch the video of the event below.

For the Master your Money Live Digital Bootcamp "How to control your money so it doesn't control you," personal-finance correspondent Tanza Loudenback sat down with two professionals to talk about how to explore your money mindset, budget individually and as a couple, and align your spending and your values.

Preston D. Cherry, CFP and founder of Concurrent Financial Planning, and Kelly Lannan, vice president of Fidelity Investment's Young Investors for Personal Investing, suggested a few things people can do to gain control of their money during these uncertain times.
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1. Budget with well-being in mind

It's been an isolating year. Many people have been spending most of their time indoors with no separation between work life and home life.

To combat the monotony, Lannan encourages everyone to review their budget and reflect on how much they're spending, saving, and earning. Of course, she said, make sure you're paying your bills and setting money aside in an emergency fund, but also check whether you're making room for your well-being.

"I know that I need to continue to spend money on the things that still do make me happy because I'd go crazy without it," Lannan said. Whether it's a daily latte to-go or buying a new piece of clothing once a month, she said, give yourself permission to spend within reason.
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"Definitely incorporate it in your budget," she added, "but you should never be feeling guilty about something that makes you happy, because if that is something that you can look forward to and keep things positive, we just want that for everyone at the end of the day. Life is more than just pinching pennies sometimes."

2. Reflect on past financial decisions

Personal finance isn't just a numbers game. There are a host of psychological factors that influence a person's behaviors and attitudes around money. To understand your own mindset and how it might be helping or hindering your ability to control your money, Cherry recommends reflecting on past financial decisions.
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"I like to ask [clients] to share with me a money event that has happened in the last six months," Cherry said. "What was that event? How did you feel about it? Did it make you uncomfortable? Did it align with what you want to do? What you aspire to do? How did you feel about that? And then, what would you have done differently? What would you like to do differently?"

These questions could reveal some raw emotion, he said, but that's the point. In order to adjust your habits or mindset, you have to be honest about your status quo.

"You really have to have a willingness first. I mean it," Cherry said. "That's the first step: having that willingness and courage in order to really look at what's going on."
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3. Resist comparing yourself to others

Comparing yourself to others is part of human nature, and it's been made even easier with the advent of social media.

"We see people we haven't even met before doing crazy things — like who the heck is traveling to Greece during the pandemic?" Lannan said. "I would love to know and meet you and maybe get on your private jet. But this is just a reality."

When you don't know what someone's financial situation is like behind the photo, you're only doing yourself a disservice if you compare it to your situation, she said.
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"My biggest piece of advice, and this is hard, OK, I'm not saying it's easy: People have to stop comparing yourselves to others, especially over social media," Lannan said.

"You have to define your own goals, because we all know what makes us happy. You have to start to align your money to your values, to the things that make you happy. That can be at least an important first step in trying to not compare yourself too much to others," she said.

If you do find yourself scrolling through photos and asking "How are they pulling that off, financially?" then you're asking the wrong question, Cherry said. If it's something you'd also like to have or do, ask yourself: How can I make a plan to obtain or achieve that myself?
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