Will 2019 be the year you change your habits and life?

It’s a few days before Christmas and there is a good chance that you have overspent money for presents or food and drink, travel etc, and it’s all building up to a headache in January.

What I have observed over the years is a lot of regret in January and people paying back Christmas for months if not the entire year.

But it goes further than this, I meet people who have fallen for lifestyle inflation, they have upped their spending every time they got a payrise, and made no real inroads to their debt or wealth, people who are worried about retiring with enough or even if they can, young people with debts that will curb any plans they want to have for years and years, and many other stories.

In all cases, the number one factor is avoiding the hard decisions to live within your means and put aside for the future.

For all the pontificating about lenders or cost of living etc, too many people live beyond their means buying rubbish they don’t need, and borrowing to do it, while not saving for their future, or protecting what they have.

Yes some people have misfortune or cannot achieve what others can, but I am talking at all levels from Doctors to students. If you are stressed about a $300 bill, it does not matter your income, you have a problem that needs to be fixed.

So how do we fix this? well it won’t be quick, it’s a change in habits, a realisation that you have to start saying no, to live within your budget, to, as Dave Ramsey puts it “act your wage”.

Making a budget, sticking to it, saying no when you cannot afford it, putting aside money for the future will take time, it won’t be as much fun as spending, but it won’t have the really bad days when you did spend the money, and eventually you will get good at it and enjoy it and won’t want to live like a spender.

I am not promising to make everyone rich, but we can all live within our means, at whatever level they are, and build a good future for ourselves and our family. and maybe, if we are not stressing about debt all the time, have the energy to focus on improving our career or other skills.

This is not a sales pitch, though I have helped a lot of people get on the path to sorting themselves out. I don’t care how you do it, if you can find a DIY way, go for it. But I am here and will be pushing you to make good money decisions all year.

Ultimately it all rests with you, yes circumstances, the government, your employer etc can make it harder or cause drama for you, but how you react is up to you.

Have a good Christmas break, but don’t be silly, and spend sometime thinking about how you want next year to be, would you feel better paying for Christmas in cash, or being stuck on the debt cycle?

We are here to help and help all Kiwis be better off financially.

Alan Borthwick