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I’m writing this blog at the end of October and our country is knee-deep in ‘election fever’. You can’t escape it, no matter how hard you might try. By the time you are reading this post, the election will be over and we’ll know which candidate is going to be our next President. I think we can all agree that at this point, we just want the election to be over.

Everyone’s talking about which candidate will be better for the American economy and the finances of the typical American family: who will raise taxes, who will create jobs, who will increase GDP, who will increase social security benefits, who will be better for the stock market and who will better help to control health care costs.

Each candidate is trying to make us believe that they’ll be the smarter choice when it comes to our finances. Who should we believe and trust? Frankly, it doesn’t matter who wins! I know that sounds crazy but statistics show that historically, money invested in the stock market grows well no matter the political party of the President. Let’s face it- it’s Congress who makes decisions regarding tax rates, not the President. It’s Congress who passes spending bills. It’s Congress that passes laws regarding our economy.

What impacts your financial situation most is what YOU do! It’s the choices YOU make and the actions YOU take! The three things that have the biggest impact on your finances have nothing to do with who our next President turns out to be.

  1. The career you choose- That degree in creative writing might have sounded good at the time but let’s face it, you’re probably going to struggle to earn a living writing a novel or philosophizing about life. Less than 1% of books written ever get sell more than 1,000 copies (even if you’ve got an awful lot of friends and family). And if you chose to enter the job market right out of high school and forego some kind of advanced education, your career options may be limited. What jobs will make you more money?
    Take the Worst and Best Pay Job Quiz here: What Jobs have the worst or best pay quiz
  2. The spouse you choose- As yourself if you and your spouse are on same page when it comes to money. Do you have shared financial goals? Do you have buy-in from your spouse in regards to spending and savings? Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and Founder of LeanIn.org, writes in her book Lean In- “I truly believe that the single most important career decision that a woman makes is whether she will have a life partner and who that partner is.” While it may sound a little callous to be thinking about your spouse as a business decision, if your spouse is financially irresponsible or has vastly different financial behaviors from you, the ability to reach YOUR financial goals is doomed. There are several assessments you can take (hopefully while you’re still dating!) to help you figure out if your love-interest is potentially a good financial partner for you. Here’s a quick online financial compatability quiz you can take to see how you and your partner compare.
  3. Spending behaviors: As a Financial Coach, I often work with high earners that secretly struggle with overspending, accruing debt and not being able to save. They struggle with their beliefs and emotions connected to their money and this translates into making poor financial choices. How you manage your money- your debt load, your savings rate, your spending habits and even if you have an emergency fund- are some of the things can that make or break your financial future. And these have nothing to do with whose President! Taking personal responsibility for your spending behaviors is hard because ‘excuses’ always loom on the horizon. It’s time to take the words “I can’t”, “It’s because…..” and “If only” out of your vocabulary. If you are struggling with controlling your financial behaviors, seek out a good Financial Coach to help you build muscle around your spending and savings.
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According to Salene Hitchock-Gear, President of Prudential individual Life Insurance, these are the six things you should do no matter who wins the presidency:

  • Stay in control
  • Avoid Being Reactive
  • Avoid the Pundits and Political Theories
  • Know that Any change is slow
  • Make Common Sense Changes
  • Be Flexible, Within Reason

Whether your candidate won or lost, have confidence that your finances will be just fine.

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