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Rubbish with money? Here’s what to do

9th June 2018

In an extract from her inspiring book “Being Better With Money” Jo Thresher explains what to do if you feel you’re no good with money – you CAN take control!

So when you were born the midwife said, ‘Here’s another one who is going to be rubbish with money!’ Except she didn’t. Stuff happened along the way. Your upbringing, family, school, religion, where you live, friends, good things, bad things: these have all influenced how you feel about money and how good you are at managing it. This is all below the surface but nonetheless it influences every money decision you make.

What is your earliest money memory? The one you remember best may not be the earliest, but it may have shaped you a little along the way. It can be worth thinking about how your parents or caregivers dealt with money. Were they organised? Did they fight? Were they careful or extravagant? If something like a divorce or bereavement happened and changed the family finances, did that change your thinking? Some of this thinking might be a little hard. You may benefit from talking to somebody about how you feel, perhaps a friend or a professional. You are not alone. The thoughts and feelings you are having about money are very common.

Fortunately the past doesn’t have to dictate the future. Think of money like you’d think of your health and fitness. Being healthier and fitter needs a plan – for instance, to go shopping for healthier food, to buy some new trainers for the gym, choosing which exercise to do, when to do it and where. It’s exactly the same with money. If you haven’t thought about it and planned before, or had any support along the way, it will take a little time to shift the negative feelings, much like burning fat or gaining muscle. Use the past to help you learn for the future and then use the appropriate challenges at the back of this book.

And if you’ve really screwed up in the past? I did once, at 17, when Barclays kindly gave me a payment card and an overdraft and I gave all the money I didn’t have to Topshop and Miss Selfridge! I then went on to realise that if you don’t pay all of your bills on time, debt will accumulate. Getting a loan to pay off that debt and then going on a holiday which I couldn’t afford was not one of my finest moments either. One January morning at about the age of 20 this all came home to roost. A huge pile of envelopes was staring at me, I knew the bills couldn’t be ignored anymore, there was no more credit and I had to face facts. I was terrified. But I made a decision to get it sorted and to never ever feel that fear again.

So firstly, where are you now? Is the debt paid off? If it’s not, see “My debt is getting out of hand” in my book.

If it is paid off, well done! Be proud. I am sure it wasn’t easy. So what now? We need to make sure you have the skills and confidence to never let this happen again. So can I be a bit personal? Why did it happen? Were you young, foolish and uneducated about money? Was it a relationship breakdown, gambling or addictions, or trusting someone you shouldn’t have? I am sorry if thinking about it is painful but understanding what happened will ensure it doesn’t happen again. Would it help to write it down? Forgive yourself and, if appropriate, others. Then write down how you will ensure it doesn’t happen again.

If you’d like to read more advice from Jo, take a look at her book here.

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