The Ten Commandments Of
A Summary Of The Jean Chatzky Recommendations
These three pages summarize the Ten Commandments of Financial Happiness as determined by Jean Chatzky, author of a book of the same name.
The explanations and comments under each commandment are a blend of my own abridged version of what Jean said in an article published in Money Magazine, and my own personal comments and views. The headings are exactly as Jean wrote them in that article.
1. Get (pretty) organized
Set up a system that works for you, so that if you have to put your fingers on an important piece of paper, you can do it quickly and without hassle. That's the key.
People who say that they are ‘pretty organized’ and can find what they need quickly are happier than those who aren't and those who can't.
The principle of orderliness applies not only to money and finances. It is, in fact, a very important aspect in all areas of one’s life. It creates a platform for the experience of peace and happiness.
2. Pay bills as they come in rather than all at once
People are happier when they pay their bills as they arrive, rather than letting them accumulate for payment at the end of the month.
I agree entirely with this policy that Jean recommends, and here are my reasons:
- The task becomes smaller and less of a chore, because it is done in small chunks rather than as a dreaded month-end ‘mission’.
- Seeing smaller amounts getting knocked off your bank balance (or added to your overdraft) is less traumatic than having a huge slice of your earnings ripped from you at month end. It’s just less ‘painful’ to do it piecemeal during the month.
- If you keep tabs on your bank balance during the course of the month, when you pay each bill, you have less anxiety about your financial situation because it is less of an ‘unknown’ or unclear matter. Even if your bank balance is not looking good, you at least know what the situation is, for sure. And that alone lessens anxiety and fear.
3. Keep tabs on your cash
They say that knowledge is power. And power reduces fear and anxiety. If you don't know where you’re spending your money, you're more likely to be unhappy because of the uncertainty and anxiety that results from the feeling of lack of power. Jean offers several ideas here. Choose whichever one’s you feel will work for you:
- Save your receipts.
- Start the day with a certain amount of cash and try to live within those limits.
- Withdraw only a certain amount of cash for the week and put only a portion of it in your wallet each day.
- Use only one bank account for your payments, so that all the outgoing funds are recorded in one place and on one bank statement.
- Balance you bank account regularly. Jean says their research shows that people who do so are happier. That will help you stay focused on where all your money is going.
Jean’s book, The Ten Commandments of Financial Happiness, covers these ten points in more detail, and with more practical examples to help in their implementation.
Jean Chatzky’s next 4 commandments >>
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