Financial well being is emotional not logical! I know, I know the savvy investor has logarithms, newsletters and spreadsheets to logically pour over data to snag the best stock pick of the day. BUT, one emotional slip up busts a budget and robs one of any capital with which to invest. The bottom line is small holes sink great ships as do small leaks in financial plans. So while logically spending less than you make is the key to financial progress, emotional outbursts (or passive aggressive ones) riddle our financial plans with holes.
Personality, upbringing, mood and marketing contribute to our spending habits. Everywhere you turn messages suggest that happiness, fulfillment, prestige and even elegance can all be purchased. Logically we may not buy this, but our subconscious mind (the storage center that houses all images, commercials, scripting, family modeling, etc.) IS the driving force behind our ultimate actions. My point in this short article is not to establish the science behind this, but to provoke you to act differently. For example, simply stating that I am going to spend less than I make this month is like trying to turn a cruise ship (the subconscious mind) with a row boat (your worthy intention or conscious mind). That of course would be an exercise in futility and so is the goal of spending less than you make if the record reveals regularly falling short of that goal.
Here are five tips on getting things lined up for financial victory:
- Invest in your thinking. Benjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Warren Buffet declared that knowledge compounds like interest. He therefore has a habit of reading not just financial but personal development material for hours every day. A habit of reprogramming just a few minutes a day is the foundation to securing your budget. Read everything from classics like How to Win Friends and Influence People to The Richest Man in Babylon as well as studying programs like Financial Fitness. Add positive affirmations daily (i.e. I am master of my finances and accumulate wealth for security, enjoyment and making a difference) and you are now intentionally programming your “subconscious” mind for success.
- Track everything you spend in a written notebook (it can be digital) for 30 days. If you buy a gumball from a machine write it down. This is important.
- Interrupt your daily patterns. Bring a sack lunch instead of eating out. Listen to a personal development audio or podcast instead of talk radio, music or sports. Avoid commercials for awhile. Unplug from the daily programming that bombards us. I am not talking about becoming a monk; I am emphasizing the importance of taking control of the inputs so the outputs are intentionally what you really want.
- Pay yourself first. When you treat investing in you and your savings account like you treat paying your mortgage, the “needle” will move.
- Utilize tools to help manage your money. The internet has allowed disruptive innovators to create apps, business tools and personal resources in abundance. Barriers to entry into business, investing and financial planning are lower than ever. From free apps like Good Budget, which my wife and I have personally used, to tools like FeeX that will analyze your investments for ways to save on fees, it’s never been easier to become smart about your own money. In fact, I recently read an article on CNN Money that highlighted 10 top apps to help the everyday investor become efficient in their quest for financial success. If you are ready to move beyond financial fitness, check out this article and discover some amazing resources available to you. Before you do though, I recommend you spend at least 30 days with the first three suggestions in this article. Get the foundation right or you could very well end up compounding your financial woes.
Now go forward, fix the subconscious, fill it with information that will send you on a path to financial well being. With this new way of being you are empowered to truly pay yourself first. As you do so and see your accounts grow rather than shrink you’ll be thrilled you intentionally chose financial fitness. In fact you might just celebrate on the beaches of the world.