It’s never too late to get better at managing your personal finances. Whether you’re 25 or 65, you can’t go wrong by taking your game to the next level. Here are three ways to do it…
Attach Your Finances to Exciting Goals
Folks often decide to improve their finances because they know they could be doing better. They “should do something about it.”
And that’s fine, as far as it goes. But make sure your financial goals… get you really excited.
For example, “getting out of debt” just isn’t very motivating for most people. They think it should be, maybe. They do want to get out of debt. But it can take a lot of work ‒ and a lot of time. So it’s hard to keep the momentum going month after month… it just takes too much will power.
So it’s good to think in terms of WHY you want to get out of debt. What will you do with that money you’re currently sending to the credit card companies each month, once you’ve paid them off and the money’s freed up?
How will it feel to see your credit score’s needle move from the left side of the dial, way over to the right side?
Can you visualize yourself actually taking that trip you’ve been unable to afford? List out and imagine all the things you’ll do and enjoy, day by day, when you finally take it.
You get the idea. What matters is why you’re changing your financial habits. Once you get that clear in your mind, you’ll have deep motivation working for you ‒ not mere willpower.
(For some more perspective on this, see my posthere.)
Change Big AND Little Things
It’s easy to overlook this one ‒ but you really do need to address both.
If you only focus on the little things, like clipping coupons or cutting back on designer coffee drinks, you’ll run out of steam. You need bigger, more inspiring tasks to take on. (That’s where focusing on your Why really comes into play, like we looked at above.)
And it’s not just about setting short-, medium-, and long-term goals ‒ it’s about being open to redefining who you are and what’s even possible. So when you think about that vacation… Sure, it’s a pretty good vacation
you have in mind. But maybe you’re holding back and settling for what you think of as an “OK” vacation. When what you really, really, want…
Is a wildly exciting and exotic trip of a lifetime! The kind of thing no one in your family has ever done. It’s so crazy, it’s almost hard to admit it to yourself.
Well, admit it to yourself. Think, “Why not? Why shouldn’t I take that kind of vacation? What would it take to pull it off?”
In other words, you may need to think in terms of different kinds of goals, a different kind of retirement, and a different kind of you.
Still, as good as all that is, you shouldn’t neglect the little stuff. Those baby steps do make a difference.
True, skipping the $4.50 latte every day won’t make you rich. But that kind of attention to detail does. Being willing to make sacrifices every day to reach your goals proves to yourself that you’re serious. It helps you be more aware of where your money is (and isn’t) going. And it also gives you quick wins, on a week-by-week basis. You know you’re making progress ‒ because you’re actually making progress!
So track your receipts and balance that checkbook. Clip those coupons. Get rid of cable maybe. Stop spending money on stupid crap you don’t need and don’t actually enjoy all that much.
That’s how you balance the big things and the little things.
Connect Time with Money
This one’s huge, and deserves a whole post on its own…
But here’s the bottom line: time is money… and money is time. What does that mean?
Simple: time is the most valuable commodity you possess. Not money. Time.
Now, there’s a certain amount of time that you have to pour into not-so-great activities, like dealing with taxes, traffic delays and other setbacks, handling others’ mistakes, etc. It would be nice to reduce that part of your life to zero ‒ but that’s not realistic. At best, you can only shrink it.
But for the rest, start thinking very strategically about your time. For example, time is money, so…
Make as much money per hour as you possibly can. If you work for someone else, get that raise. Maybe find a higher-paying job. If you work for yourself, look for ways to give more value to your clients so they pay you more. Get more and more efficient ‒ that way, your effective hourly rate goes up.
(And look for ways to leverage your money. This is what investment basically is. Hint: investing in real estate is a great investment strategy!)
Also, money is time, so…
When you’ve got “time on your hands,” think in terms of priorities. Why cut your own grass, when you can pay someone else a fraction of your hourly rate to do it for you? Instead of sinking two hours into that kind of yard work, you could a) do two hours of work that covers the cost of the yard work and puts some money in your pocket… or b) spend the time with family and friends, or getting into a hobby you enjoy.
The point is, you can use money to buy yourself time. Learning to do that well is a financial master skill.
Conclusion: It’s Up To You
Folks, these three strategies work. When you begin to work them into your habits (or rediscover them, if you used to do them), the payoff is massive. And they work whether you’re just starting out on your own, or if you’ve been making money a long time ‒ whether you’re digging yourself out of debt, or looking to leverage your existing capital.
No one will do this for you. Then again, no one is going to stop you, either. So today’s a great day to start.
Give us a call at (801) 990-5109 orschedule your free appointment hereto build a personalized Wealth Plan. We’ll be glad to help you take your financial game to a whole new level.