Did you make a financial resolution this year?
I definitely did!
Achieving financial goals are the second most common New Year’s resolution, succeeded only by goals involving healthy living. Financial goals include saving money, investing, and paying off debt - to name a few. Just like with making resolutions about living a healthy life, financial resolutions can be a very personal thing. You have so many variables to consider that there can be no one-stop-shop solution.
I like to consider myself reasonably proficient and responsible with money but this wasn't always the case. If money fell into my lap - no matter how or why -I would spend it. Not always on myself, either. I would usually spend it on extravagant gifts for the people I love or on silliness like eating out or going to the movies on an all-too-regular basis. I splurged and splurged a second thought. As I matured I found out how being more financially aware could make life easier and more enjoyable - stress-free - in a lot of different ways but I had to learn that lesson the hard way.
Once I had settled down, bought a house of my own, and created little mouths to feed, I realized quite quickly the true significance of my lack of money smarts.
This lack was a big problem.
A problem that I needed a solution for, stat.
The solution was not easy, by any means, but it was an important learning curve that I needed to take in order to better understand my life and relationship with money on my journey to abundance.
It is from this place of learning and growing that I give you my unsolicited advice regarding your financial New Year’s Resolutions. The following are the first three steps to finding yourself in a better financial space in 2020. (Don’t forget to plan wisely and take into account your tendency while thinking about your financial resolutions!)
The devil is in The Details
First and foremost, it’s time to get down and dirty with your financial details so that you can better understand where your money is coming from and going to.
On my journey, being directly involved in my money looked like spreadsheets, it looked like lists, it looked like numbers, over planning, and hyper control. It looked like weekly allowances for my husband and myself, speaking with financially stable elders, professionals, and reading all things money.
This was tedious, infuriating, and disappointing but it was so, so very crucial in understanding the nitty-gritty details behind following through with my financial goals.
Change Your Mind
If you haven't read Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass at Making Money then I suggest you go do it now. What this book hopes to accomplish, in my view, is to change your mindset about how you look at money so that you can invite more of it into your life.
For a lot of people, when they make resolutions regarding money and finances, having the right outlook is imperative to making your goals work for you.
The next thing I did on my journey was to reconfigure the way I viewed money and what role it played in my life. Sincero asks us to consider how it comes and goes, and how money is neither positive nor negative but really just a tool - a means to an ever-changing end.
The way you think about money reflects the type of relationship you have with it. If you have negative thoughts and feelings toward money - most people do! (Do any of these ring a bell: Greed, the root of all evil, etc.) - then your first task is to change your inner dialogue in order to improve your relationship with money.
If you think negative thoughts about money then you will experience lack, whereas if you think positively about money and how good it can be for your life and the world then you will experience abundance. Change your mindset about money so you can reframe the way you function in your relationship with it.
These sentiments, in the way you approach your finances, are important when it comes down to the grind of earning money in the first place. The balance between working hard and having a good relationship with money go hand-in-hand when it comes to reaching and surpassing your financial goals.
Sincero explains that having a poor relationship with money pushes money away while having a good relationship invites money into your life. This is not to say that you can get rich just by being positive about it. It doesn't just fall in your lap. You have to work for it.
But remember, this is a double-edged sword.
You can’t just work hard and expect money to come to you through your extensive efforts. If you have a negative mindset about money, it’s not likely to come in abundance. You see this story unravel every day. These hard-working people, at the grind day-in and day-out, and they can barely get ahead.
In my story, that was me after I finished my first degree. I was working, but I wasn’t being smart about what I was doing and how I was thinking about my finances. It’s not just about working hard, you have to work smart.
As soon as you change your mindset about the money coming into your life, you will automatically begin to see new avenues to generate the income you need in order to make your dreams come true.
It’s time to revisit the mess you tidied up in step one and look at it with new eyes. I did, and every step just keeps getting more and more filled with opportunity.
So you’ve got a great handle on your incoming and outgoing finances, a fabulous relationship with money, and the motivation to work smart and #makeithappen.
Well, you can take it a step further - as I did - and educate yourself or get an expert to help you with the fine details of saving, investing, debt repayment, and all of the other abundances money can bring (vacations, travels, charities, all the things!). That way, when you set next year’s financial resolutions, you will already be on the path to accomplishing them!