Could mindfulness help you with your financial goals?

More and more people around the world are practising mindfulness. Scores of academic studies have shown how focusing your attention on the present moment, in a non-judgemental manner, can reduce stress and improve mental health and general wellbeing.  A video on the Bloomsbury Wealth YouTube Channel.

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Transcript: Robin Powell & Jonathan DeYeo/ Financial planner and author

RP: More and more people around the world are practising mindfulness.  Scores of academic studies have shown how focusing your attention on the present moment, in a non-judgemental manner, can reduce stress and improve mental health and general wellbeing.  For some people, mindfulness may improve financial wellbeing as well.  Jonathan DeYoe is a financial planner who has written a book called Mindful Investing.

JD: Really, when you think about what mindfulness is, it’s the non-judgmental awareness of the present moment, as we experience it through our senses and through our headspace, through our minds, right? Thoughts and feelings. And that non-judgmental turns out to be really important when you’re dealing with anything emotional. And all you have to do is open one paper or one magazine to see how emotional money is. Money, the idea of not enough money, the idea of I’m not happy with money, the idea of, you know, all of our lives focused on contingent happiness. If only I had a raise, if only I had a better job, if only I had a better partner, if only I, if only, if only I would be happy. And it turns out that’s not how happiness works. And if you’re more mindful of it you can be happier. You can have better wellbeing, but actually you can have better financial outcomes as well.

RP: One of the problems investors face today is that they’re bombarded with unhelpful information, especially on social media. But a mindful approach may help.

JD: We have to recognise that there’s always this sense of the gathering darkness. There’s always this sense that something is wrong in the world and you can always find evidence to prove you right. That there is something wrong in the world. You don’t have to go back far to find the last series of things that were wrong. And then before that, the last series of things that are wrong, we’re moving from uncertainty to uncertainty, to uncertainty, to uncertainty. And if we recognise that, if we’re mindful of that, if we remember, if we have an adult memory at all, and we remember that, yeah, we were uncertain six months ago for a different reason. And six months before that for a different reason. Then we don’t have to get bent out of shape by the thing that’s happening today that we’re uncertain about.

RP: Mindfulness, says Jonathan DeYoe, could also help you to understand yourself better. Self-knowledge is a critical part not just of investing but of financial planning in general.

JD: To apply mindfulness to personal finance, you actually have to inquire as to what’s important to you in terms of values, in terms of what you should be spending money on. What is your authentic lifestyle look like? Because relative to again go back to social media, I don’t mean to say social media is evil. But it gives us a lot of messages we have to filter.  If you are just on Facebook for a minute and a half, you’ll have 14 different ads and you’ll have 27 people telling you how great their lives are and you will feel the pull to follow what they say and what they do.  If you’ve never done the work internally to think about what’s important to me, what do I value, what’s my purpose, what do I want out of life, then you’re just going to get pulled left and right in every direction.

RP: To be clear, mindfulness is no magic bullet, and it doesn’t work for everyone. But, if you haven’t tried mindfulness, it might be worth exploring — and applying it when deciding about money and investing.

Disclaimer — The information in this video does not constitute advice or a recommendation, and you should not make any investment decisions on the basis of it. If you do however require advice please do not hesitate to contact Bloomsbury Wealth.