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Clogged Cash Flow? Four Tricks to Restart the Flow

There are so many things that stop us in our tracks financially. Why does being stuck seem easier than making progress? Here are four popular places we get jammed and four tips on how to remove obstacles from your fiscal flow.

1. Stuck place: Denial
My new client works in finance, but he’s like the cobbler whose kids have hole-y shoes. His major pitfall, like lots of us, is just not looking at his own cash flow. Period. Usually this happens when you’re not feeling in control financially because you know that if you face the flow, you’d have to make decisions about it. And those decisions can be challenging.

Trick to Unstick: Collaborate
Ask a trusted person to sit with you for an hour and help you put together a structure–a cash flow projection, a list of ideas, even a to-do list. Commit to a time and place and call someone to be a witness to your process. The effect of collaborating gets you out of your rut, doesn’t let you hide from it, and opens you up to a new person’s insights. Have them help you take a look at what you don’t want to look at: online bank balances, a spreadsheet you haven’t updated in a long time, or your financial tracking.

We have so many stories in our minds that rule our financial lives. Having someone you know and trust listen to those stories can point out inaccuracies. Plus that person will hold you accountable to your decisions the next time they see you. Collaboration will keep you moving forward.

2. Stuck place: Can never get ahead
Nine times out of ten, people can’t get ahead because they are spending outside their means.

Trick to Unstick: Pay yourself first
One of best ways to get unstuck is to put 10% of your earnings into savings immediately. Make it your first keyboard stroke when your direct deposit arrives. If you want to get more radical, take 10 percent and give it away. What occurs is a total awareness of your money. Putting that 10 percent toward oneself or a dedicated donation makes people doubly responsible and conscious of that other 90 percent. It kicks off what you really have to live on. Try it for a month. You’ll be surprised how quickly you become aware of that 90 percent you have to spend.

3. Stuck place: Bank juggling
The average American household has a relationship with over six financial institutions and an average of eleven different accounts (i.e. checking, savings, IRA’s, mortgages, etc). As a result, many people feel that it takes so much time to manage their money that they can’t help but keep falling behind.

Trick to Unstick: Go local
When your financial accounts are scattered all over several entities, it’s time to interview the regional banks and credit unions. See which people you connect with best. Find out how long the reps have been there. Is it more than five years? Do you like the bank? Their product? If so, MOVE EVERYTHING to that one bank, as fast as you can.

The reason? If I am spending outside out of my means and forgot to cover a check, my banker calls me. He leaves me his cell number to reach him. He asks if I want to transfer funds or choose another option. Also, while I have him on the phone, I can handle other items at same time because all of my accounts are there. He knows my style and my accounts so well it’s like having a banking assistant.

That is one of the best ways to get unstuck when feeling overwhelmed by maintaining your financial life. At any time, someone at my bank can give me a clear diagnosis of my financial health. From there, I have new action steps to either maintain or step up that health.

4. Stuck place: Time management
Life has a way of usurping the time we meant to spend developing our financial picture. But this practice has to become compulsory, like brushing our teeth and getting ready for bed at night.

Trick to Unstick: Get help
Before you dismiss this one out of hand, consider what an hour of your time and sanity is worth. Is it worth $10 an hour that you could pay the high school or college student down the street to help you organize twice a week? For $80 a month, you could free up hours of time that normally seizes your brain, opening mail, handling bills more than once, making customer service inquiries, organizing grocery lists, mapping out the family menu. Get creative about the things you can delegate and re-prioritize what your visionary time is worth. When someone else helps you handle the small stuff, you can take time to focus on what you want to create with your evolving financial picture. Do what you can to make your life easier. The return on your investment will grease the wheels of your cash flow and keep you moving ahead.

Originally published on GreenSherpa