Busy minds are constantly at work, perhaps especially during the pandemic. When will the lockdown end? When will we go back into the tier system? When will gyms open? When will travel begin again? The driving force is to constantly think about an imaginary (often fearful) future. This tendency is also found in the mental stories we tell ourselves around money. When will I have enough for a deposit on a house or flat? When will I get that promotion which will lead to increased income? When will my stock portfolio improve? When will I have saved or invested enough to retire?
This can result in indecision, frustration and anxiety.
One alternative approach is to focus on your circle of control. With money this can mean beginning to think about ways to increase income. It can also mean choices around cutting expenditure. Reducing spending is often easier as many of these are immediate decisions.
Another approach is to take one day at a time. So rather than worrying about "never" being able to put together a £20,000 deposit, start saving and investing today and then add the same amount (or more) next month. Rather than feel powerless about pensions, start making contributions, however, modest, as soon as possible. Keep repeating this process.
By focusing on what you can control and taking one day at a time there is less space for fear and anxiety to creep into your thinking. It also allows your secret ally – compounding - to assist in bringing long-term goals closer to completion.
George Callaghan, Financial Coach