Being vulnerable isn't exactly a popular subject for most of us. But did you know it can change your financial life for the better? Vulnerability may seem like something to avoid, but in reality, the benefits outweigh the cost.
Living honestly by sharing where we are with money and where we're going will propel us forward. It can keep us from becoming stagnate with our savings, retirement, or lifestyle. Being vulnerable to achieve your money goals isn't just important; it's imperative if you want to win with finance.
What does being vulnerable mean?
Being vulnerable means sharing things about yourself that make it possible for others to criticize you. With finance, it's being honest about where you're at with money, as well as where you're going, knowing that others can agree or disagree with you.
This can take the form of living a more frugal or simple life. It may also mean asking for advice and allowing yourself to be influenced by others to some extent. You are opening up about money and not being afraid to say yes or no to activities and lifestyle choices depending on how they align with your dreams.
Vulnerability is a chance to share your ambitions through talking, listening, and getting advice from those you trust. But it is also shown through action.
How can being vulnerable help you achieve your financial goals?
A big part of vulnerability is telling others where you're genuinely at with finances. This can be scary because others may not agree with our goals, and we can feel rejected by that. However, remember that even if people disagree with you, it probably isn't personal. And telling others about our money situations can lead to freedom. When we give up our concern over what others think of us, it can help us achieve our goals faster.
To start, try telling a trusted family member or friend about your vision for your money. Start with, "I'm working towards saving x amount by x date," or "I'm focused on paying off x amount of debt, so I'll be doing everything I can to get debt-free faster."
You'll likely find a lot of support from others when you share your thoughts. They may even talk about their own money struggles or triumphs. You being honest could help them understand how to encourage you along the way.
Examples of vulnerability when it comes to finances
Let's check out some other ways that we can be vulnerable with finance. There are some common scenarios you'll likely come across.
Being honest with friends when you can't afford to hang out
This is a tough one, especially if everyone else you know is going out for dinner or taking vacations. But when you tell people the truth, something like, "That's not in my budget right now," they will likely understand, even if they have different priorities.
More challenging than the money side of this is the relationship side. You may feel left out if friends are hanging out and you're not there. Or you might worry that they'll feel you're rejecting them, rather than the costly activity.
However, there are ways to hang out with your friends that do not cost money, like someone coming over for coffee, going for a hike, or cooking dinner together. Try to do more of these things as you work towards your goals. That way, you don't lose out on meaningful time with friends, but you can also stay within your budget.
Telling your family you're on a budget
This is an essential step in saving money. Your family may or may not understand, but they'll likely want to support you if you tell them how they can. If you don't tell them, they may plan for you to be included in things you can't or don't want to pay for, so make this a priority.
Kindly communicate to them that you're working towards your money goals and are sticking to a budget with limits. Ask them to respect this, and be prepared to say no if activities come up that you can't afford. Also, let your family know what they can do to help you work towards your money goals. Things like getting together for dinner or them asking about your financial progress can help everyone stay connected.
Downsizing to pay off debt
This is a big deal, but it can help in the long run. Downsizing increases financial vulnerability because it's usually something people will notice. Downsizing can take several forms but usually involves selling something and/or buying something less expensive to replace it.
For example, you might downsize your house. According to NPR, the average size of a house in America is more than twice what it was in the 50s. While many things have changed since then, budgets are still important, and you may find yourself wanting to sell. You could put your larger or more expensive home on the market and move somewhere with lower rent or mortgage prices. Although it may change your lifestyle, it will be worth it for the extra money you save each month.
Another way you can downsize is to get rid of big-ticket items that cost a lot to maintain. Things like expensive cars, boats, RV's, or off-roading vehicles can be sold or downsized to something else to save money.
You might also try some other frugal living tips to pay off debt. Getting rid of subscriptions, deciding not to eat out anymore, or taking on a second job can help you pay off those debts quicker and start living a financially free life.
Finding a mentor if you need one
This is the simplest but often most challenging way to be vulnerable to achieve your money goals. Olivet Nazarene University found that only 37% of professionals have a mentor. A mentor is someone you can relate to and who has the wisdom to share. Find someone whose financial life you admire that you can also talk to about money. Then ask them for advice, and to keep you accountable for what you say you're going to do with money.
How does this help you achieve your money goals? When you tell someone about your financial dreams, it can help you organize and outline how you'll reach them. It also creates a good sort of peer pressure that makes you want to do what you say you'll do. This can drive you towards financial success quicker.
If there's no one in your life that you look to as a financial mentor, you can also educate yourself about money by reading blogs, watching YouTube videos, and checking out financial books at the library. You'll have access to tons of helpful advice to aid you on your journey.
Allowing yourself to live minimally and mind your spending
The majority of us have way too many items. When you stop buying unnecessary items and sell or get rid of extra possessions, it may create some questions, leaving you vulnerable. The good thing is, you'll have the chance to be open about your money journey, and you can keep yourself from wasting cash on items you don't truly need or want.
Living a minimal lifestyle can save you hundreds of dollars a month, depending on what you no longer purchase. Not just that, but you may come to appreciate the items you do have even more. Experts say that getting rid of items can actually help you be happier.
Focusing on relationships instead of material items
This is a great way to keep a proper perspective. Even though money goals are ever-present, family and friends are even more important. So yes, dedicate time and effort to your finances, but have a life outside of it, too. Spend time with those that are most important to you, and enjoy life beyond money. Allowing others to be part of your life, sharing your thoughts, and hearing from them as well, is all part of being vulnerable.
It's ok to be vulnerable
Although financial vulnerability can be uncomfortable at first, it's for your benefit. Being open with others by talking about your goals and living a frugal lifestyle will give you more freedom in the long run. You may stop feeling as though you have to prove things to others and also know that you can go for your dreams and not someone else's. You are free to decide what your money goals are and not focus on what society says.
Being vulnerable to achieve your money goals can help you in many other aspects of your life, like relationships, perspective, and character. You'll wind up with more savings, less debt, and more freedom.