You’ve made your budget, you’ve set your goals, and you’ve made sure to track your spending. You have a retirement account (or two), are building a substantial emergency fund, and make sure to adjust your investment strategies as necessary. You’ve even gone as far as always paying yourself first while simultaneously knocking down/out any debt you have.
Over time, you find yourself obsessively checking your accounts. You begin to sneak looks at your budget even if you don’t have any updates to make. You may also find yourself nickel & dime-ing your way through life in an effort to cut your expenses as low as possible. You’re immensely proud of your progress, and you’re feeling as if the sky’s the limit to what you can do in terms of financial progress.
But slowly, you begin to shirk your financial responsibilities. You “throw caution to the wind” and stop logging into your accounts. When the end of the month comes along, you realize that you have very little desire to take stock of your progress toward your various goals. You might not know where all of your money has gone of the course of the month. As time goes by, you start to feel a sense of dread when it comes to managing your money.
When you’re in this space, it’s natural to wonder where things took a turn South. If you find yourself avoiding your financial responsibilities after a significant amount of time, it’s quite possible you’re experiencing some level of financial burnout.
Signs of Financial Burnout
- Frustration & Irritation
Ways to Bounce Back From Financial Burnout
Take a break. It may sound counter-intuitive, but when you’ve reached the end of your burnout rope, the best thing to do is to take a break. The caveat with doing so is to make sure it’s a short break. During your break, make a point to focus your efforts on non-financial goals and responsibilities in an effort to return with a refreshed perspective on your next steps.
Treat yourself well. While taking a break or feeling burnt out, make sure to take extra good care of yourself. This is particularly important if you find yourself feeling stressed out. Ensure you’re getting adequate amounts of sleep and exercise and take care to fuel your body with healthy food & drink.
Seek inspiration. Pull out the books, read the blogs, and remember the experiences that most inspired you to get your financial self on the best road possible from the beginning. If those aren’t enough, seek out new sources of inspiration to get back in the game. Perhaps it’s creating a dream board, writing in a journal, or simply taking a walk. Whatever works for you, make sure to seek out opportunities to fill yourself with inspiration for the future.
Simplify your efforts. Automation can be your best friend when you’re feeling burnt out. As you’re easing back into whatever new routine you set out to establish, consider setting up auto-debits and transfers. By removing the need to be hands-on about every aspect of your money, you’re opening up the possibility of doing more than you may have set out to do!
Adjust your expectations. One of the most certain signs of burnout is becoming frustrated when you’re not able to meet your goals. But before you throw your plan out the window, take a moment to critically examine the goals you have set. Are they realistic? Are they something that you truly can meet given your current situation? If you find yourself answering “no” to these questions, the first step you need to take is to adjust your goals.
Have you ever felt burnt out with your finances? How did you bounce back?
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.