The 30 Day Personal Finance Challenge is over. Now what?
The first step is the hardest
If you feel like you don’t even know where to start you are not alone. Most people are too busy to invest time into a thorough analysis of their finances and putting together an action plan on how to improve them.
After all, we don’t study Money Management and Personal Finance at school. We learn how to be good workers and experts in our fields. But no one teaches us how to find our dream occupation and how to deal with money in this world. So, we become dependent on our employer, clients, parents or spouse.
Few are the ones who picked up healthy money habits from their parents. Most often we carry the money topic plus a bag full of limiting beliefs which we are not even aware of.
It’s time for a change!
Here is a simple plan for you:
Identify your biggest pain points
Start by asking yourself these questions:
- Are you in debt – student loan debt, customer credit or a mortgage?
- Is your income covering your basic expenses? Don’t you have anything left to save?
- Did you lose your job? Do you see no chances of finding a new one soon?
- Is the area you are living extremely expensive?
- Do you have to take care of 2 family cars?
- Are your household expenses too big?
- Are you worried about paying for your children’s education? Or your parents’ allowance?
- Did you make a big and risky investment and it didn’t work out?
- Are you a big spender? Do you spend everything you earn?
- Do you have a scarcity money mindset? “Money doesn’t grow on trees” and so on?
- Is someone else taking care of your finances and that’s why you feel helpless?
- Are you bored with numbers and is it too depressing to even think about it?
- You don’t have the habit and automatic systems in place to save?
- You have some savings, but you don’t even know where to start with investing?
- Are you too busy to look at all this stuff?
- Don’t you have a retirement strategy in place?
- Don’t you have an investing strategy in place?
- Are you blaming your parents for not giving you a better education?
- You feel unfairly treated by your partner when it comes to money?
If you answered positive to any of the above questions, don’t worry. You will never get it done, and it will never be perfect. But as with most things in life, good is good enough.
Don’t worry, financial literacy is a life-long process.
It might even be painful because you have been carrying around these beliefs for a very long time – they have become an integral part of you. They will fight back if you start working on them. What is important here is to face reality.
You gotta know your numbers and your TRUTH!
- You have already identified the biggest pain points. Tackle the biggest pain first. It can be intimidating but you can do it! If you have debt, start with it.
- Describe what the ideal outcome for this pain point is. Outline a plan for possible actions on how to get there. Set a deadline for when it should be done.
Pro tip: Visualize your ideal outcome and actions and put them on the wall.
- Check out on your goals regularly.
Pro tip: While making a plan makes us feel more in control, it’s not a replacement for action. If you find you have a lot of items on your “do it later” list, set a recurring calendar reminder to review your list every three to six months. This helps keep you accountable.
- Surround yourself with success stories and your heroes. Find people in your social circle, who have successfully paid debts, made investments, and have a good work-life balance. Learn from their mistakes and successes.
- Read broadly about financial topics – start with some beginners’ books and work your way up to more advanced topics. Follow blogs, podcasts. There’s a niche for everything – mommies pinching pennies, millennials, artists, retirees, whole families, digital nomads, entrepreneurs, etc.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help and invest some money into professional financial advisors. As long as you choose someone with good references, it will pay back.
- Find someone who has similar goals. Form a money mastermind group.
You got this!
The key is to think long term, 2 to 5 years ahead. A lot can be done in 5 years. Start with one step at a time and celebrate every milestone.