Financial Atonement for Yom Kippur
NEW YORK (MainStreet) When it comes to money, there's one thing we all have in common: we make mistakes.
It's pretty normal to fall into a cycle of making the same mistakes over and over again. If you find yourself continually falling short of your financial goals it might be time to look for new sources of inspiration.
The Jewish High Holidays are upon us, and many of the traditions can be applied to our financial lives as wellno matter where we fall on the religious spectrum. This is the perfect time of year to reflect, resolve, and renew sort of like a juice cleanse. But for your money.
Start by spending time reflecting on your financial habits. Look over important documents like your credit card bills, 401(k) statements and tax returns. Try to identify the mistakes that are holding you back from reaching your goals. It could be anything from impulse shopping to paying unnecessary bank fees to buying fancy coffees.
Once you've identified the mistakes you want to leave behind, make a physical representation of that decision. Consider the Jewish tradition of Tashlich, which involves tossing pieces of bread into a body of water to represent casting away past shortcomings. Out with the old, in with the new.
Commit to making progress this year toward at least one financial goal. By giving up your past mistakes, you are essentially embarking on a financial fast. But fasting isn't just about giving something up. It's really about redirecting.
If you stop impulse shopping, or paying unnecessary bank fees or buying fancy coffee drinks, you'll find yourself with more money on your hands. And that is where the true opportunity for change can be found. Resolve to put that extra money towards your biggest goal, whether that's paying down credit card debt, investing for retirement or creating a college savings fund.
Schedule an ongoing appointment with yourself to review your progress toward your goal. Make sure you aren't slipping back into old habits at the expense of moving forward. Renew your commitment to yourself as often as you need toweekly, monthly, quarterly or even daily.
Wiping the slate clean and moving forward with a fresh start has a nice ring to it. Regardless of your religious leanings, you have to admit that there is something to these age-old practices. At the very least, we can all benefit from taking the time to recommit ourselves to our financial goals.
--Written for MainStreet by Lauren Lyons Cole