There is no point turning over a new financial leaf to take your finances to the next level unless you have a clear path, with no distractions. Some accountability helps, too.
You’re pumped up for a new weight loss and get-fit program. You’ve got the blender, shakes, books and online subscription. The only issue is that after six weeks on the program, you haven’t lost any weight. Would you continue or go back to your old ways? If you’re human, probably the latter.
Personal finance and financial planning are no different to fitness and weight loss. They’re all about habits and behaviour. There’s no point turning over a new financial leaf, wanting to take your finances to the next level, unless you have a clear path, with no distractions. Some accountability helps, too.
If you’re serious about turning over a new financial leaf, make sure you do these three things.
1. One thing at a time
It’s exciting, you’re pumped up about changing your ways – but don’t let this be a hindrance to your progress.
Make a list, even just three or four things you want to achieve. Prioritise them and only focus on the first thing on that list until it’s complete.
It’s possibly worth putting the easy, low-hanging goals early on the list. A sense of completion will give you a sense of progress and an emotional win, much like losing weight within the first month of a diet.
The ‘one thing at a time’ rule may slow other goals down, but just remember: you are trying to change your behaviour. Sometimes delaying pleasure is something that our culture is not aware of. Who wants to fix a car gear box before an overseas holiday? No one, but the art of delaying gratification will allow you to win in the future.
2. Don’t listen to your broke friends
It’s no secret that many people are driving around cars they can’t afford to impress people they don’t like. This usually is a symptom of FOMO and not mastering the art of delaying pleasure (see above). It’s ever-so important when you want to turn over a new financial leaf that you be strong and to not listen to your friends.
You may also need to say no to that extra night out, or that random shopping trip.
Many people will tell you that you’re not doing things right when you decide to actually get in control. But keep in mind that most people don’t know the intimate details of your personal finances and it’s frankly none of their business. They’re usually nosing in because your approach is the opposite of what they are doing and what the rest of society does. Be strong, say no and tell them that you’ll compare notes in a year’s time!
3. Get yourself a wealth coach
A wealth coach is like a personal trainer, but for your money!
Yes, there are results to be had with your fitness outside of the gym and with your money without help – but if you want to turbo charge results and have someone in your corner, you should consider a wealth coach. There are many financial advisers who offer this as a service and can act as a sounding board for your goals, an accountability partner, but more so a trusted adviser who is there if (well, when!) the going gets tough!
Usually a wealth coach will pay for themselves with the results they bring. If you do consider this, give them a good shot of at least six months, 12 being recommended. Make sure they fit with your personality for an even better result.