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8 steps to creating a more financially fulfilling life in 2022

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As we head further into 2022, it's important to be positive about the year ahead and think about how to make it our most fulfilling yet.

I commissioned research last year to understand how Australians were feeling about money and the impact it was having on their wider life. It uncovered that over a third of people (38%) are not living the life they want to be, with the leading reasons being that money is tight (58%) and that people's relationships are not bringing them as much happiness as they should (20%).

Now, as much as that statistic saddened me, it didn't surprise me.

With the impact COVID-19 had on the economy, record numbers of people being made redundant and numerous other financial implications, I've heard from more people than ever before how they feel trapped by their financial situation.

Feeling like this makes you stressed and puts pressure on other parts of your life, such as your relationships.

Money shouldn't be taboo

I always recommend that couples are open with each other about all things money and finances, because it shouldn't be a taboo topic.
It's an important part of our lives and both people should feel comfortable and in-the-know about their financial situation, especially if the finances are combined.
In more positive news, the research also showed that from those that were not living the life they wanted, 49% said they were trying to improve their situation by saving and budgeting hard to afford a better lifestyle. Another 20% were prioritising their own happiness instead of always putting others first.

I know how important making better money decisions is to improving your overall wellbeing. Although I've spent over 2 decades working in the finance sector, my strongest learnings around how money impacts happiness have been from personal experiences.

I used to spend most of my pay cheques on designer brand items and mortgage repayments for an exorbitant house in Sydney before I realised how living outside of my means only bought myself, my husband and our family stress.

By taking the first step and sitting down as a family to talk about the type of future we wanted and creating a roadmap of what we needed to do to make this a reality, it made it easier for all of us to make changes to our life. That included renting a more affordable house in the Blue Mountains. While it isn't easy making these choices, it also doesn't have to be hard.

If you're looking to create a more financially fulfilling life in 2022, here are my tips.

couple thinking of finances

1. Visualise your dream future so you have something to work back from

We all get stuck in the daily grind. When things get busy, making better money decisions usually slips to the wayside.

To get out of this habit, get your partner and kids (if you have them, otherwise your best friends work too) together and have a "money party". Put on your favourite music, have some drinks and nibbles and talk about what brings you happiness, what you want your future to look like and what your ambitions are. Make it fun, so it's more exciting and less of a chore.

2. Create a laundry list of things that don't bring you joy

Knowing what does and doesn't make you happy is important to being financially fulfilled, so create a list of all the tasks that are stopping you from living that dream.

For example, does cleaning the house take up your time and make you irritable, do you wish you didn't have to spend all of your free time doing homework with the kids? What is it exactly that makes you unhappy?

3. Come up with a plan for those tasks

Go through the list of things that you hate and put a plan together to tackle each of the issues. For example, the average cost to clean a 4-bedroom house in Australia is $120. So, if cleaning is a barrier to you living a better life, outsource it to an expert.

4. Do the maths on how much these actions cost

There is a side hustle for almost everyone these days. Whether it's pet-sitting or being an Uber driver, think of ways to generate the cash needed to outsource the tasks.

5. Break your big goals down

Now that your daily life has improved by taking the steps above, it's time to think about larger goals. Long-term planning is crucial for being financially fulfilled. I recommend choosing 1 or 2 large goals and then breaking them down into smaller goals to achieve them.

For example, if you want to buy a home in the future, your first year could be focused on paying off all debt. The second year could be negotiating a pay rise to bolster your savings and so on.

6. Don't get disheartened

Until it becomes a habit, taking action can be tiring, but I promise it gets easier. Keep going and remind yourself why you are doing this and the difference it will have on your future.

7. Celebrate and reflect

Whether it's once a quarter or once a year, whatever time period works for you, plan another party to check in on what has worked and what hasn't.

For example, if the cleaner has made you happier, keep it going. If not, what else could you try to make you enjoy life more?

8. Talk to your family and friends about it

The more you talk about the changes you are making with loved ones, the better. Not only does it help them understand why you are making certain decisions, but it also might inspire them to live a more financially fulfilled life.

Hopefully, 2022 is a better year for us all, but if the last few years have taught us anything, it's that it's important to take responsibility for what we can control. Making better money decisions today will have life-changing effects in the future. I hope that inspired you to keep going.

Vanessa Stoykov has over 2 decades of experience in the wealth creation, and is on a mission to help Australians get real about money.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article (which may be subject to change without notice) are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Finder and its employees. The information contained in this article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, investment advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort. Neither the author nor Finder has taken into account your personal circumstances. You should seek professional advice before making any further decisions based on this information.

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