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It's Your Money  

Ways to deal 'Blue Monday' when it comes to your finances

Beating 'Blue Monday'

As the winter blues settle in, many Canadians find themselves faced with the notorious “Blue Monday,” (typically the third Monday in January). It is often considered the most depressing day of the year.

While the concept of Blue Monday may lack scientific grounding, the feelings of lethargy and gloom associated with winter and post-holiday financial strain are undoubtedly real.

Today’s column explores the approach of Blue Monday and provides practical tips on how to freshen up your finances to build confidence in your wellbeing and avoid seasonal depression.

Understanding Blue Monday

Blue Monday typically falls on the third Monday of January and is often associated with a combination of factors, including post-holiday debt, harsh winter weather, and the letdown after the festive season.

While the concept lacks scientific validity, the collective experience of feeling down during this time is a shared sentiment. The financial strain, in particular, can contribute significantly to the overall sense of gloom.

Freshening up your finances

1. Create a realistic budget: Begin by revisiting and refining your budget for the year. Account for all sources of income and allocate funds to necessary expenses, savings, and discretionary spending. A realistic budget serves as a roadmap for your financial journey, helping you manage your money effectively and reduce stress.

2. Review and tackle debt: Post-holiday debt can be a significant source of stress. Take the time to review your outstanding debts and create a plan for repayment. Consider prioritizing high-interest debts and explore consolidation options if feasible. Breaking down your debt into manageable chunks can make the process less overwhelming.

3. Set achievable financial goals: Establishing realistic financial goals provides a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Whether it's building an emergency fund, saving for a vacation, or paying off a credit card, setting achievable goals allows you to track progress and celebrate small victories, boosting your financial confidence.

4. Explore savings and investment opportunities: Use this time to assess your savings and investment strategies. Ensure that your emergency fund is adequately financed to handle unexpected expenses. Explore investment options that align with your risk tolerance and financial goals. A well-balanced portfolio can offer long-term financial stability and growth.

5. Negotiate bills and expenses: Review your recurring bills and expenses, such as insurance premiums, utilities, and subscriptions. Consider negotiating with service providers for better rates or exploring alternatives. Small savings on regular expenses can add up over time, providing financial relief and reducing stress.

6. Prioritize self-care: Recognize the importance of self-care during the winter months. While financial health is crucial, so is your mental and emotional well-being. Allocate time and resources for activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Whether it's reading, exercising, or spending time with loved ones, prioritizing self-care contributes to a positive mindset.

7. Seek professional financial advice: If you find yourself overwhelmed or uncertain about your financial situation, seeking professional advice can be immensely beneficial. Professional Financial Planners can provide personalized guidance, helping you make informed decisions about your money and develop a robust financial plan.

8. Build a support system: Share your financial goals and concerns with trusted friends or family members. A supportive network can provide encouragement, advice, and accountability. Discussing your financial aspirations and challenges openly can alleviate some of the emotional burden associated with managing finances.

As the winter blues cast their shadow, adopting a proactive approach to freshen up your finances can significantly impact your overall well-being.

Remember that the key to overcoming the blues lies in taking small, actionable steps toward financial empowerment.

Embrace the opportunity to reassess and revitalize your financial strategy, setting the stage for a more confident and positive year ahead.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



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About the Author

Brett Millard is vice-president and a member of the executive leadership team at FP Canada, the national professional body for the financial planning industry. A not-for-profit organization, FP Canada works in the public interest to foster better financial health for all Canadians by leading the advancement of professional financial planning in Canada. 

He has worked in the financial advice industry for more than 15 years and is designated as a chartered investment manager (CIM) and is a certified financial planner (CFP).

He has written a weekly financial planning column since 2012 and provides his readers with easy to understand explanations of the complex financial challenges they face in every stage of life. Enhancing the financial literacy of Canadian consumers is a top priority for Brett and his ongoing efforts as a finance writer focus on that initiative. 

Please let Brett know if you have any topics you’d like him to cover in future columns ,or if you’d like a referral to a qualified CFP professional in your area, by emailing him at [email protected].

 



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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