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Financial Consciousness - By April Carson

“When you consciously choose to be ordinary, you become extraordinary.” - Jaggi Vasudev

Financial planning is under appreciated, and many people don't take the time to plan for their retirement. The problem isn't a lack of knowledge on how or where to start; rather it's procrastination--a hard notion that many of us have heard from time to time in financial services. Financial planners are uniquely positioned as professionals who can help address this human tendency by taking advantage of every opportunity—even those seemingly insignificant ones like making sure someone has an updated beneficiary designation form completed with their employer-sponsored benefits package—to reach out and engage customers about long-term goals such as preparing financially for no longer being able to work because they're older than 65 years old, widowed, disabled or retired.

Types of financial planning and financial products are often the focus more than financial security. This makes it no wonder that even when financial advisors have helped clients create financial plans, they find their clientele lack financial consciousness. Some people think that they cannot be good with money just because they are not as smart as someone with a PhD in finance. The problem is that people are not very knowledgeable about money or investing. It's more of a lack of financial consciousness, which means that people need to be more aware and mindful about long-term planning and integrating it into their life in a realistic way.

The Haves & Have Nots

People who have a lack of consciousness about money or investing usually fall into one of two categories: the haves and the have nots. In both situations, people feel like they are in control of their finances and make constant decisions on how to manage their money, but in reality this is not true consciousness at work.

The first category are the haves who think that they can always pay for anything with cash. They go out and spend $200 on shoes every weekend without thinking twice about paying it off next week. They put very little thought into building an emergency fund because they don't consider themselves poor. As long as they have enough money to buy something, then there's nothing wrong with spending it all now and worrying about it later.

The second category are the have nots who think they can never afford anything. They decide to live as frugally as possible without any consciousness of their spending habits, simply because they don't have money to spend on luxuries. They drive their old cars and wear the same clothes over and over again until they can no longer stand them (which may be never). Then they wash them over and over until they fall apart. They continue to live in this manner because they believe it's impossible to change their financial situation, even when the odds are against them.

But if we could raise the consciousness of those who are simply living frugally, and teach them financial consciousness, we could change their life.

On a side note - consciousness is not to be confused with consciousness raising (CR). CR can involve consciousness but it is more about awareness, which means being aware of something that currently exists. For example, financial awareness means you are aware of your financial situation and how they affect your life (e.g., debt load). Whereas financial consciousness means being consciously aware that a change can be made in financial situation. This is important because raising financial consciousness requires more than just raising financial awareness - it involves changing beliefs, attitudes, mindsets, and financial habits.

An Ideal State

In financial consciousness there is an understanding that money is not the root of all evil, but it can be a wonderful tool to create financial freedom and happiness in life (i.e., financial consciousness). But financial consciousness goes beyond just money - it also includes financial knowledge, financial flexibility, financial confidence/self-confidence, and financial responsibility.

Financial consciousness is an ideal state of being in which one has financial freedom to live the life they want to live because that person has achieved financial success . An individual with financial consciousness understands money and how it can empower him/herself and others.

Check out Billy's incredible life journey on this episode of Bio-Hack You Best Life with Elizabeth Hoekstra!

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