Got money troubles? Blame astrology

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Mara Ruocco has been obsessed with astrology for as long as she can remember. Her mother bought her astrology books when she was a child and she pored through them, hoping to learn more about this mystical philosophy, and maybe something about herself.

“I love the idea that we’re connected to the stars,” the 26-year-old real estate agent said. “I don’t think if it’s scientific, really, but we can all agree that the moon affects the tides and gravity is an invisible energy tying us to the earth, so astrology can’t be that far off.”

Ruocco is right; several studies agree that astrology has no scientific basis. So why do people still tune in? Nearly one-third of all U.S. adults believe in astrology, according to a 2018 Pew Research Study. It’s become a daily obsession for some. Horoscope apps, like Co-Star and AstrologyZone, have exploded in popularity, growing revenues by 64% to $40 million in 2019. Some astrologers have reached celebrity status through social media.

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Millions of people have turned to astrology since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Increased fears and uncertainties about the future have many seeking answers through astrology, said Susan Miller, astrologer and founder of Astrology Zone, a horoscope website attracting 11 million readers annually.

“People just want to feel grounded, to figure out everything going on around them,” said Miller.  “And my job is to help them to help them make sense of it all.”

If astrology can help us make sense of our relationships, careers and life goals, can it help us understand our personal finances?

Astrology vs. your money

Astrology studies the influence the stars and planets have on our lives. Twelve zodiac signs represent different periods of the year. Your zodiac sign and horoscope determine things like how you perform at work, how you act in relationships and even how you handle money, said Rachel Gordon, an astrologer and author.

“Every sign approaches money differently and they all have challenges and strong suits when it comes to money,” she said. “For example, Aries is great with knowing when to take a financial risk. Scorpio excels in financial negotiations, and Aquarius wants to amass wealth so that it can be divested to where people need it most.”

Ruocco’s a Virgo, which means she was born between Aug. 23 and Sept. 22. According to Miller, Virgos are known to be “extremely practical” and “thrifty” with money. Ruocco isn’t sure how accurate that is.

“My sign definitely doesn’t dictate my financial situation,” Ruocoo said. “Are Virgos supposed to be frugal? Because I’m not.”

Your sign determines how you make decisions, like what you want to eat for lunch to who you’re attracted to, said Nicholas Campion, associate professor in cosmology and culture at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. It can also influence your money choices.

Some investors see a stock price ticking up and buy. Others look to the stars to decide what to do with their money. Gordon said astrology helps identify overall market behavior, pointing to market upswings and downturns before they happen.

“There are many market analysts, hedge funds, CEOs and even realtors that consult the planetary patterns and speak to astrologers,” she said.

Here’s how well you handle money, according to your sign

We asked Miller to walk us through how each sign typically approaches money. Here’s what she said:

  • Aquarius (Jan. 20 – Feb. 18): Aquarians are known to be altruistic and donate their money. They are less likely to invest their money in the stock market and more likely to put it toward alternative investments.

  • Pisces (Feb. 19 – March 20): Pisces put all their money toward creative endeavors, like artistic hobbies. They have an “out of sight, out of mind approach” to money management and rarely budget, said Miller.

  • Aries (March 21 – April 19): This is a typically competitive zodiac sign, and Aries often try to build wealth as quickly as possible, opting for a get-rich-quick scheme over long-term growth.

  • Taurus (April 20 – May 20): Taurus is often an over-spender and “really loves the finer things in life,” said Miller. They may struggle with budgeting and living beyond their means.

  • Gemini (May 21 – June 20): This sign has a strong money outlook and loves learning about finances, frequently monitoring the business news for their next investment. They’re most likely to have a financial adviser.

  • Cancer (June 21 – July 22): Cancer signs are fairly thrifty, and are known to go the extra mile to get a good deal on something.

  • Leo (July 23 – Aug. 22): Leos sometimes spend impulsively, but are known to also set bold, ambitious money goals and will stick with their plan until they accomplish it.

  • Virgo (Aug. 23 – Sept. 22): Virgos tend to be responsible with money and are diligent budgeters. They make level-headed investment decisions and are fairly risk-averse.

  • Libra (Sept. 23 – Oct. 22): Libras are indecisive, which can make it hard for them to commit to a big money purchase or investment. They would benefit the most from a financial adviser to make the decisions for them.

  • Scorpio (Oct. 22 – Nov. 21): Scorpios are known for their street and money smarts. They can make a money decision without hesitation, and regularly follow business news to find new financial trends.

  • Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 21): Sagittarians are goal-driven and enjoy putting their money towards self-improvement goals, like education. They are also charitable and enjoy donating.

  • Capricorn (Dec. 22 – Jan. 19): Capricorns are rule followers and are responsible when it comes to money. They have a long-term investment outlook and don’t take crazy money risks.

What astrology actually tells you

Remember, astrology isn’t based in science. But it may help you understand your behavior, which allows you to make more informed decisions with your money. Even a spendthrift sign (looking at you, Taurus) can be frugal. In fact, the biggest hurdle to saving money may not be the month you were born, but cognitive biases like present bias or limited memory. And while you can change your birthday, you can work to overcome certain biases (we explain how here).

Campion explains that while astrology won’t determine your future, it may help you make sense of yourself and how you deal with complex issues like your personal finances. Understanding your behavior can help you make better investment moves and determine the right time to make a financial decision, like buying a house or changing jobs.

For example, I’m a Scorpio, which means I’m known to make rapid (sometimes impulsive) money decisions. This is only somewhat accurate, but staying cognizant of some my financial biases can help me curb impulse purchases and think through larger financial decisions. Reading my horoscope regularly, whether I agree with it or not, helps clarify my intentions before I make a decision.

Ruocco agrees.

“I don’t allow my horoscope to make decisions for me, but sometimes it helps me make sense of things I feel or struggle with,” said Ruocco. “I’m able to self-reflect and understand why I’m making the financial decisions and how to course-correct.

This article originally appeared on Policygenius.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

More from MediaFeed:

10 signs you’re living beyond your means

 

Living beyond your means is an easy trap to fall into. And if you’re not keeping close track of everything that’s coming in and going out of your financial account, you may not even realize you’re doing it. But if you often run out of money before the month is over and you don’t know exactly where all the money is going, it could be a sign that you’re living above your means.

 

Over time, living a lifestyle beyond what you can actually afford can lead to mounting debt and also keep you from reaching your financial goals.

 

Related: Budgeting for basic living expenses

 

 

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Simply put, ”living above your means” means that you are spending more money than you are earning. People are able to do this by relying on credit cards, loans, and pior savings to cover their expenses. However, the process is not sustainable, and eventually overspending is likely to catch up to you.

 

Living beyond your means can also mean that you’re spending everything you bring in, and, as a result, don’t have anything left over for saving or investing, such as building an emergency fund, saving for a short-term goal like buying a car or a home, or putting money away for retirement.

 

Here are 10 red flags that you’re living a lifestyle you simply can’t afford — and tips for how to get back on track.

 

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If most or all of your paycheck is spent immediately on bills and you don’t have anything left over at the end of the month to put into savings, you are likely living over your means and may need to make some adjustments. If your current lifestyle has become a habit, you may feel there is no place to cut back. However, if you get out your monthly statements for the past three months and take a close look at where all your money is going each month, you will likely find places where you can cut back on spending.

 

This might be ditching cable, cooking (instead of ordering take-out) a few more times per week or quitting the gym and working out at home.

 

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If you’ve been putting a lot of your expenses on your credit card and/or don’t always pay your bills on time, you may see your credit score take a hit. This number is important because it can be accessed by anyone considering giving you new credit and may be used to determine the interest rate you’ll pay on a home or car loan, and also new credit cards.

 

If you aren’t sure what your credit score is, you can get a free copy of your reports from all three credit bureaus. Looking it over can help you understand why your credit score has dropped, and help you take the necessary steps to repair it.

 

For example, you might set up automatic payments for the minimum amount due on credit card bills and loans so you never miss a payment. You may also want to pay down your balances on your credit cards and lines of credit. This can lower your “credit utilization rate” (how much of your credit limit you are using), which is factored into your score.

 

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If money is feeling a little tight, you may feel that now is not the time to worry about retirement. But you likely won’t be able to work forever, so it can be wise to make saving for retirement a priority and to get started early.

 

Thanks to compounding interest (which is when the interest you earn also starts earning interest), the earlier you start investing in a retirement fund, the easier it will be to save enough money to retire well. You don’t have to contribute a lot; even just putting aside a small amount of each paycheck into a 401(k) or IRA each month can help you build wealth over time.

 

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Keeping your rent or mortgage below 30 percent of your monthly pre-tax income is sometimes recommended because it can leave you with enough income left over to save, invest, and build wealth in general.

 

Staying below 30 percent can be difficult, however, if you live in a region of the country where the cost of housing is high. Nevertheless, spending a lot more than a third of your income on housing can leave you “house poor” and put your other financial obligations at risk.

 

If you find that your housing costs are taking too large a chunk of your monthly paycheck, you might consider downsizing, taking on a roommate or finding a way to increase your income with a side hustle.

 

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Another sign you may be living beyond your means is that your savings have stagnated. Making regular deposits into your savings account in addition to your 401(k) or IRA allows you to work towards your short- and medium-term financial goals, such as putting a downpayment on a home or a car or going on vacation.

 

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An overdraft fee, or “non-sufficient funds fee,” is charged when there’s not enough money in your account to cover a check or debit card payment. Mistakes happen, and a one-off overdraft isn’t necessarily an indicator of overspending. But repeat offenses can be a sign that you are living too close to the edge and don’t have a clear picture of how much money is going into your account and how much is going out.

 

You may want to start tracking your spending and keeping a closer eye on your spending account to make sure you always have enough to cover your electronic payments.

 

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Many people think making and following a budget will be too complicated. But having a budget can actually simplify your spending decisions by letting you know exactly what you can and can’t afford.

 

Having a budget also helps to ensure you have enough money to cover essentials, fun, and also sock some away in savings. If you’ve never set financial parameters for yourself, you may want to consider taking an honest inventory of how much you are bringing in each month and how much is going out each month.

 

Once you get a sense of your own patterns and habits, you can work toward building a realistic budget that allows you to spend and save more wisely.

 

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Leasing a vehicle you would not be able to purchase outright or finance can be a major financial red flag. Leasing lets you rent a high-end lifestyle, but many people end up with leases they really can’t afford.

 

You might be covering your monthly payments, but if you can’t do that while meeting your other expenses and also putting money into savings, then your car is likely too expensive.

 

You may want to consider downgrading your vehicle or saving up enough money to buy a car — either outright or by making a solid downpayment so your monthly payments are low.

 

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It’s fine to use your credit card to pay for everyday expenses and the occasional big purchase. But if you can’t pay off most of the balance each month, you’re likely living beyond your means.

 

Rather than give over part of your paycheck just to interest each month, you may want to cut back on nonessential spending and divert that money toward paying off your balances.

 

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Not having a stash of cash you can turn to in a pinch can be a sign that you’re overspending. You may be gambling on the fact that nothing will go wrong. But life is unpredictable, and getting hit with an unexpected expense you can’t pay for can lead to a financial crisis.

 

Instead, you may want to build an emergency fund that can cover three to six months worth of living expenses. That way, you’ll be covered should something happen, such as an illness or injury, job loss, housing issue or any other expensive personal matter should come up.

 

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Unfortunately, living beyond your means is all too easy to do. And while a few weeks or months of spending more than you earn may not be a major problem, overspending on a regular basis will likely catch up to you in the form of high debt and neglected savings.

 

Creating (and sticking to) a spending budget can help ensure that you can afford your bills and basic expenses, and still have money left over to save for the things you want in the future.

 

Learn more:

This article originally appeared on SoFi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

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