THE BLOG
09/09/2014 10:07 am ET Updated Nov 09, 2014

3 Simple Steps to Financial Gratitude

September is home to quite a few unique days. On the 28th I hope you'll celebrate national Ask A Stupid Question Day with me!

On a more serious note, September 21st honors World Gratification Day.

When I talk to people about financial or monetary gratification, I often get a weird look or comment. That's because we live in a country where we are taught to always strive for more. To have more money, more possessions, just more. That's OK, I love that we are driven as a people to excel, and everyone has their equal shot at financial success. However, sometimes it may drive you to excess debt and stress. There needs to be balance too.

So let's look at the steps for Financial Gratification in honor World Gratification Day.

1. Take inventory of all that you have. I did this recently and was quite surprised at how much I truly have. So often, we get caught up in what we don't have. Or we fixate on getting that next possession that we are miserable with the things that we do have.

Start first by looking at your surroundings. If you are reading this, I doubt you are homeless. Since you are reading this, you certainly have the wonderful luxury of a computer and internet access. Now look at all the things in your home. It's quite a list. Now look at your finances. You probably have some money saved and access to credit. You probably have a car or two. I could go on and on, but this just a small sample of what "stuff" you have. Take mental inventory of all you have, and be grateful that you have it.

2. Be content with what you have. This is where it will get a bit sticky. Like I mentioned earlier, this will be a hard step for us as Americans because we are taught to consume and have more. Look back at your inventory of things in your life:

Can you get by on those?
Are they sufficient for the time being to keep you comfortable?

I bet they are. Remember, this step is about the difference between need and want. Needs are things that you must have. Wants are optional. So be content with your situation.

3. Improve your situation when possible. Now this may sound like a contradiction after I said be content with what you have. However, if you can improve your situation you should always do so. As long as it is in a positive way. Don't go into further debt or make your situation full of anxiety. If you can save more money, do it. If you can reduce debt, then by all means do it. Anytime you have the money to improve your personal conditions both physically or financially you should do it.

3 Simple Steps to Financial Gratitude in your life. Pretty simple on paper, but maybe a bit more difficult to change years of habit and the way you look at things. It's hard for me because I'm always focused on more for my clients and myself. Remember that gratitude is a focus on what you have, rather than what you do not.

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