There are many small decisions we make every day that can make or break our finances. Some of the most common mistakes that get individuals and couples in trouble are living beyond their incomes, underestimating the destructive power of debt, and taking too much financial risk out of pure greed. The list could go on and on, but as we look at improving our financial position, what are the key issues we should focus on in order to build a solid financial foundation today, and to protect ourselves from unnecessary financial pain in the future?
We can know something yet fail to do it. We can desire certain outcomes yet fail to live in a way that helps us achieve those outcomes. This precisely is the reality of Americans today. According to the National Journal, even though Americans say they want to save more money, they behave in a complete opposite way.
Understanding your financial reality and being honest with yourself is key to achieving your desired financial outcomes. Do you know what your main struggles are? Is it using too much plastic? Is it living beyond your means? Is it careless spending and a lack of understanding where your every dollar goes? Whatever “IT” is, you must first recognize it as an issue that needs to be addressed.
Where are you going?
Do you have any financial goals, or are you simply living one day at a time hoping to make ends meet before the next paycheck comes along?
Goal setting and knowing the direction you want to take your finances into is important. Writing those goals down will help you turn wishful thinking into reality and will give you a roadmap to follow.
So what are your financial goals? Do you know where you want to be 3-6 months from now? How about in the next 3-5 years? Is becoming debt-free a dream of yours? How about paying off your mortgage early? Or maybe something as simple as spending less than you make? Go ahead, set some goals, break them down into manageable chunks and start moving forward!
How will you get there?
Now that you recognize the issues that keep you financially strapped and you have a set of goals you’d like to achieve, it’s time to make a list of how you will start turning your finances around. To help you get going we created a quick checklist:
– Create a budget. Do it the traditional way, on paper, or use a FREE online budgeting app like Mvelopes to help you track every expense.
– Make a list of ALL your debts and figure out your date payoff dates based on the monthly payment you are currently making. Need help? Talk with a Money4Life Coach for free, we’ll help you do this with a free debt analysis.
– Pick 2-3 areas in your budget where you know you can make adjustments in order to spend less. If possible, create a monthly surplus of $100.
– If you have no cash reserves, start setting your $100 surplus in order to build your $1000 emergency fund. If you do have cash reserves, use that surplus to reduce your debt faster.
These four simple steps, if applied, have the potential of setting you up for financial stability and financial success.
So what’s stopping you? Do your reality check, write down your financial goals (however small or big they may be), and start implementing the four simple steps we’ve outlined for you. Give yourself 3-6 months and you’ll start experiencing a financial turnaround! Becoming a financial superhero doesn’t require a cape and superpowers, you can get there with the determination to conquer the supervillain: financial stress.