Financially Fearful? 3 Money-Confidence-Boosting Tips From Alexa von Tobel's TED Talk

Financially Fearful? 3 Money-Confidence-Boosting Tips From Alexa von Tobel's TED Talk

Think back to the last time you started a new diet.

The first week, you were likely jazzed and feeling confident that you'd discovered the key to feeling better.

But then week two rolled around, and you came face-to-face with a slice of birthday cake. Suddenly, your confidence to stay the course was shaken.

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Well, it turns out that the money-confidence trajectory is similar. In your 20s you tend to feel empowered, certain you'll make the right decisions for your financial future.

Yet as you start assuming greater responsibilities—you know, things like buying a house and filling it with kids—that self-assurance starts to wane.

In fact, according to recent LearnVest research, less than 30% of people between 35–44 say they feel confident about their money.

And that uncertainty can lead to financial paralysis.

The good news is that changing your attitude doesn't have to be difficult. In her TEDx talk, LearnVest founder and C.E.O. Alexa von Tobel offers baby steps for taking charge of your money—and kick-starting a new year with newfound confidence.

Tip #1: Establish Financial Security

The first step to taking control: putting in place the building blocks of a healthy money life. Tackling foundational to-dos—setting a budget, paying off debt, and saving for emergencies—can help inch you closer to your ultimate goal of financial security.

For people who haven't yet developed a strong savings muscle, beefing up a rainy-day fund may seem superfluous. “But what [the average person] doesn’t know is that if she loses her job tomorrow or has any type of emergency, she’s completely vulnerable to rely on credit card debt in order to keep her head above water,” von Tobel says.

So work toward stashing away six to nine months of net pay. To help make that process easier, consider setting up automatic transfers from your checking account, so you'll never even miss the cash.

RELATED: 5 Strategies That Can Make You Happy About Saving

In order to start earning the money you deserve—and that you need to accomplish your goals—you have to be willing to promote yourself at work.

Tip #2: Ask for More

In the spring of 2013, just 51% of Americans negotiated their salaries when they received a job offer—likely leaving money on the table as a result. In fact, research suggests those who negotiate earn about $5,000 more annually.

In order to start earning the money you deserve—and that you need to accomplish your goals—you have to be willing to promote yourself at work. Otherwise, von Tobel says, you may be stuck waiting around for your boss to give you a raise—and there's no guarantee that day will come.

Just remember to back up your negotiations and raise requests with concrete specifics on how you have—and will—help the company achieve its objectives. So if you've exceeded your sales targets for eight quarters in a row, or you're about to hook a high-profile client, highlight these wins.

RELATED: 6 Perks High-Earners Can Negotiate at Work

Tip #3: Save for Retirement—Now

When you’re decades away from your golden years, it might seem like it's too soon to start planning. But if you don't, "the American dream of pausing when you're 65 [probably won't be] a reality," von Tobel says.

Thanks to the power of compounding interest, the earlier you prioritize this goal, the better. To ease into saving, start contributing just enough to take full advantage of your employer match. Then, if you can afford to contribute more, slowly ramp up by 1% every six months.

Simply having this plan in place can be a huge confidence boost. Remember: The only person powerful enough to make any financial dreams a reality is you.

Want to hear more from von Tobel? Check out the full TEDx talk here.

RELATED: 3 Retirement Experts Dish: My Dream Retirement—and My Plan for Getting There

LearnVest Planning Services is a registered investment adviser and subsidiary of LearnVest, Inc., that provides financial plans for its clients. Information shown is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended as investment, legal or tax planning advice. Please consult a financial adviser, attorney or tax specialist for advice specific to your financial situation. LearnVest Planning Services and any third parties listed, linked to or otherwise appearing in this message are separate and unaffiliated and are not responsible for each other’s products, services or policies.

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