Debt is an albatross: school loans, credit cards, home loans. Too often people find themselves in a vicious financial cycle, unable to save. The difference between growing wealth and vying for it is following rules you should never stray from. It’s simple, not easy, but not impossible. The health of a person’s wealth can be compared to his or her relationship to it. If you want to grow old with your money, practice healthy relationship approaches to your finances.

Break Up With Debt — It won’t love you back

If you want to start a new, healthy relationship with your money, break up with bad habits – getting into debt being the worst. This is the first thing we recommend to anyone who asks how they can grow their wealth, retirement funds, or peace of mind: manage your debt. Getting out of debt is priority #1. Every dollar that you use to pay off your debt, you’re saving. Let’s say you are in $20,000. Even with a low interest rate loan, you will end up paying more before you pay it all off. That interest you are paying is money lost. If it’s credit card debt, pay more than the minimum every month. If you get into the cycle of just paying off the minimum, it’ll impact your credit score and your retirement plans.

Always Have Reservations — A lot of reservations

You should have reservations — about losing a handle on your assets that is. How you spend your money and your long-term goals for that money are connected.  Savvy individuals don’t just have personal goals, they also have goals for where they see money going (and staying). The practice of visualization is helpful because the more you consider that your money is a tangible asset, the less you’ll see it as just bank statements, receipts, or numbers.

Go Dutch — First, know how to handle money on your own

Keep an eye on your own expenses first, as a couple second. The better your vision for your own spending, the more you can offer to your personal relationships. This is not to say that married couples shouldn’t discuss finances together, of course they do and should. However, each person has to come to the table with a sound understanding of how to handle their own financial affairs before sharing it with each other.

Save The Date — Plan for your retirement day

Last minute, unforeseeable expenses can occur. People lose jobs, things break down, and property can be affected by natural phenomena. Bad things can happen, so prepare for Murphy’s Law. Having a financial cushion for those potential disasters can mean the difference between getting by and getting into dire straits.

Figure out the amount you should have for retirement, it should be a long-term goal for everyone. Set an amount to put aside every month,  and stick to it no matter what. You’ll be thanking yourself for this forethought when the rainy day turns into a tropical storm — and you’re left flooded with regret instead of money for retirement.

Don’t be too proud to ask (an expert)

Being wealthy doesn’t always translate to being money smart. However, staying connected to your money does. For the layman, portfolios, investments, the stock market are daunting to comprehend. Luckily, you don’t need to be a financial wunderkind in order to make the right decisions. Get a trustworthy, highly recommended financial expert to fill in the gaps.  If you don’t know how to proceed, ask someone who has been handling money for years. It’s their job to make your money work for you. Ask for help if financial consulting isn’t your day job.

Journal everyday spending — Another helpful step towards staying in the black is to actually see how much you are spending on the little things. Keep a record of what you’re spending money on. A coffee here, a scone there; it adds up to unnecessary surprises at the end of the month. You can’t be expected to remember every single little daily expense, so keep a record.  

The tiny little extravagances are not necessities and should be held to a pre-budgeted minimum. If you can’t live without your morning bagel, include an “miscellaneous fund” to your expenses every month and most importantly, do not spend above your means.

Creating a healthy relationship with your finances is akin to having a healthy one with your loved ones. People who have a lot of money love their money. They foster its growth, stay connected to it, and nurture its continued longevity. These practices work. You have nothing to lose trying out these 6 tips, except your money.