You know that feeling you get deep down in the pit of your belly? The one you cannot ignore? It is probably not based on any scientific fact. It may truly be, just a feeling. Those gut feelings are what arises when your brain makes an instant connection between what's happening in the present and a similar circumstance from your past.
When we have that feeling about something, such as our health or body, we go to the doctor and have it checked out. When we have that feeling about someone, like maybe your gut tells you that you just must hire them as part of your team, we go for it. What do we do when we have that feeling about our finances?
When it comes to finances your gut feeling can take you pretty far. It can keep you from making those same money mistakes you made in the past. My gut instincts have kept me from making financial mistakes – usually based on “wants” not “needs”. The mere fact of knowing from experience that the feeling of “got to have it now” will wear off and the hardship of paying it back takes much more time is a powerful learning tool.
Another example, is making purchases of quality over quantity. My gut feeling told me that we should wait to purchase our new furniture until we had saved up enough to go with something of much nicer quality because we have gone through so many cheaper furnishings in the past. We waited and we’re better off because we did.
Those gut feelings, though, are based on experience and if you have not had any experience and education – good or bad – with finances of which to base your gut feeling, or if you’re making large or important life/financial decisions and you’re doing it without the advice of a financial professional (or one yourself) it’s probably not a good idea to just “go with your gut”.
Now is the time to do a financial gut check. A test, assessment, of how you are truly doing financially and how you’re making financial decisions.
How aware are you of your finances? I don’t mean that you’re aware you get paid on the 1st and 15th of the month. I mean, how educated are you on where your money actually is going? Where do you want to be financially 5, 10, even 20 years from now? Have you made progress towards that goal? Do you need to seek professional advice to help get you there? Are you using all of the tools that USAA provides? Have you checked your financial health?
These are all questions to ask yourself. Then be honest, brutally truthful, about your financial state. That is the only way that you can grow.