Though I’m not really the type of person who goes all out on New Year’s Eve (most years, I don’t even force myself to stay up until midnight), I am a proponent of making New Year’s resolutions. There’s something about the start of a new year that can inspire us to make positive changes — financial or otherwise.
I’ve made my share of resolutions in the past. In fact, years ago, I remember resolving to max out my retirement plan contributions — and celebrating when I actually hit that goal. More recently, I resolved to spend less money on actual things and instead focus on experiences.
This year, my New Year’s resolution looks a little different. That’s because it’s more about changing my mindset than hitting an actual number-specific goal. That alone might make it more difficult to achieve.
My primary financial goal for 2022
In 2022, I want to get less stressed about unplanned expenses.
That’s it — my big resolution. It might seem like a strange one, but financial fears are something I’ve struggled with for a long time, despite being in a pretty solid place.
Right now, I have enough money in my savings account to cover about a year’s worth of expenses. That’s well above the three to six months of essential bills people are advised to sock away in an emergency fund.
I also don’t have any debt right now other than a mortgage (though with our second car on its way out, I do expect to have a car payment in the coming year). And while housing eats up a lot of my income, my housing costs are also well below 30% of my take-home pay — a threshold homeowners are generally advised to stick to.
In spite of that, every time an unplanned bill comes my way, I panic — even though I have money in savings to cover these things, and even though I also have the option to pick up extra assignments as a freelance writer to make up for surprise expenses.
It’s something I really need to stop doing. It’s not good for my mental health, or even my physical health as there have been nights when I’ve lost sleep stressing over a $500 home repair bill I could easily cover.
Of course, training my brain to not react harshly to unplanned bills isn’t something I can just snap my fingers and do. But I’m going to work on it.
Now, this isn’t to say …….