I know I say this for almost every episode, but this seriously is one of my favourite interviews. And it could be because when I met Shannon Lee Simmons, author of Worry-Free Money and founder of The New School of Finance, for the first time, I immediately clicked with her. There aren’t too many financial planners out there who make money fun and cool, but she does and I’m so glad she was able to share her wisdom and personality on the podcast!
We talk about a lot of different topics in this episode, but there are two main points that we touch on. First, that budgeting doesn’t have to be boring or restricting, especially if you try out her method of not categorizing all of your variable expenses. I know for me, that’s what I used to do, and I would always end up kicking myself for overspending on groceries one month or spending too much on eating out the next.
Instead, just set aside an amount of money you can spend, and spend it until it reaches zero (and not more than that). If you do that, you’ll free yourself from the guilty of not matching your budget perfectly, but you’ll still be spending more than you want. It’s simple really. So simple that I have no idea why we all over-complicate budgeting!
Another big topic we tackle is the idea of comparing our financial situation to those of our peers. This is something that is absolutely normal and not something to be ashamed up. We want to keep up with our peers (who doesn’t?) and we want to do whatever it takes so we don’t fall behind.
That being said, we don’t have all the information. We don’t know how much our peers earn, how much they spend, or what their net worth is. So really, we shouldn’t try to keep up with the Jones’ because we actually have no idea what’s going on with the Jones’ financials. Maybe they got a big inheritance which is why they could afford to buy a house. Maybe they are actually really frugal in their day-to-day lives which lets them afford those fancy vacations. Maybe they just have different values than us and are just really good at showing that good life on Instagram.
The important thing to remember is we should put the focus back on ourselves. Are we happy with where we’re at? Are we spending on things that match our values? Are we meeting our financial goals?
I probably could have talked to Shannon for another hour, but I called it at the 45-minute mark. That being said, I highly recommend her book (I seriously loved it!). I also suggest you take a look at some of her online courses listed below.