It’s easy to be actively invested in your money when you don’t have much of it. When you’re stretched thin financially, you’re probably more aware of what you buy and how much you spend because you have to be. You can’t afford to be blasé about your finances.
But what if you’re doing moderately well? What if your debts aren’t overwhelming, your income is enough to cover everything in front of you, and you’ve got no big plans on the horizon? How invested are you then?
For all of us there exists the danger becoming financially complacent. Things are okay. Everything seems to be working out just fine. So we shut down a bit and just let things ride. It’s not a terrible thing to do, at least not in short bursts. But as that complacency stretches out and you find that you hardly ever think about your money at all, you run the risk of making a big, big mistake.
Fortunately, those kinds of mistakes can be avoided by simply becoming reinvested in your personal finance. The first step then is recognizing whether or not you’ve become financially complacent. If any of the following sound like you, you may want to take a step back and reexamine your relationship with money.
You never even consider looking for a new job
Being content with your job isn’t necessarily a bad thing, when it comes to improving your finances, one solution reigns supreme – make more money. If you aren’t getting the raises you deserve and you aren’t actively at least considering your options, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table.
You never look at your bills
If you just assume that what you owe is legitimate and requires no review, you may be guilty of a little financial coasting. You may also be paying for mistakes you aren’t catching. Always take the time to understand what it is you’re paying for.
You shop on autopilot
No list, no worries. When things are financially hunky dory we often fall into a spending rut, where we just buy the things we think we need to buy, without really considering our purchases. Is there something better available? Do I even really want this anymore? We don’t ask questions, read labels, or compare prices. We just buy. And that can become a problem.
You have no idea how much you have in savings
You may save money because you have money to save, but how much do you actually pay attention to your various savings accounts? Do you have a savings plan, or are you just socking money away indiscriminately when the mood strikes you? Your method is your own, but if you’re sitting there, reading this article, and don’t have even a ballpark figure of how much you in savings, you may not be paying enough attention.
You live without a budget
If your income is enough to meet or exceed your expenses, it’s pretty easy to get by without a budget. But just because you can survive day-to-day without a budget doesn’t mean a budget couldn’t help you. Because budgeting forces you to think about money in ways you may be avoiding. And sure, you’re getting by just fine right now, but what if you could be doing even better? A budget can be a huge difference maker, especially when it comes to maximizing your money and making sure your priorities are met.
You make impulsive purchases because you can
Tying into the last point, when things are just fine and you’re coasting along financially, you may occasionally make impulse purchases that seem completely reasonable because you can afford it. You wanted something, you had the money, you bought it.
The missing factor here is that lack of a plan. What – if anything – might be affected by your decision to make this purchase? You have the cash today, but now that cash is gone – where else might you have wanted to spend it? When you’re financial complacent you’re not actively thinking about long-term consequences.
You have no active financial goals
Finally, a major red flag for financial complacency is the lack of any goals at all. If you’re not saving for retirement, working towards a vacation, eyeing a new home, thinking about upgrading your car, or making any active effort to work towards a goal – any goal – you may be guilty of coasting. Goals help drive our behavior, especially when it comes to money. Even simple goals, like saving more money from every paycheck, can help promote healthy financial habits.