As a financial planner, I hear this question or some variation of it almost every day. Very few people actually get proactive with their finances and take initiative and responsibility. Very few focus on what they can control and get in action. The truth is, growing wealth doesn't have the be complicated.
Wealthy people don't have some secret you don't. They just do things that most people aren't willing to do. If you want to get serious about improving your financial situation, being better with money, and enjoying more of it, here's what you need to start doing:. It's also a fundamental aspect of financial success. Your cash flow that is, money coming in and money going out is a critical component to your financial life.
If you can't master it, you're not going to be able to increase your net worth. Start by tracking what you earn and spend. Do you live within your means, or are you in the red each month? This is so important, because it's not enough to live at your means. It's good that you don't spend more than you make -- but if you just break even each month because you spend every available dollar, you'll never have cash available to save and invest.
You need to live as far below your means as you can , so you widen the gap between what you earn, and what you actually spend. A budget is the tool you can use to make sure you keep your spending reasonable over time. If you want to follow the traditional path of working until you're almost 70 years old, then retiring for a few years to enjoy some basic comforts before you pass away, you can simply put away about 10 to 15 percent of your income in your retirement account and you'll likely be okay. But many people -- myself and most of my clients included -- want a lot more than that.
When your goals look like this, saving and investing 10 percent of your income doesn't cut it. You need to look at saving 20 percent at a minimum, and saving at least 30 percent to be on target to hit those major wealth-building goals. Saving and investing money only works when you have money to begin with. You can only reduce expenses so much before you need to look at the other side of the equation: earning more money. Even the richest people in the world have negative money mindset thoughts from time to time.
What are you thinking about right now? Will you be able to clearly articulate all you do for the company? Or will you downplay or talk yourself out of asking for a bigger raise? The key to a better financial future is to remove emotional triggers around money so you can make decisions from an objective standpoint. Yes, easier said than done. However, there are many tools to help you process your feelings and emotions around money issues.
Try the exercise below. Find a quiet place and write down your thoughts. When recording your thoughts, write what specifically you believe to be true about money. Write that down! The point of this whole exercise is to practice not running away when things get bad.
Forgiveness is such an integral part of the money mindset mastery process. Holding on to resentment means holding onto the past. Creating a better financial future for yourself means you have to look forward, and how to use your awesomeness to create it. The hardest and arguably most important person to forgive is yourself. Releasing those thoughts and judgments helps to invite new thoughts, ones that can help you create cold hard cash. When my ex-boyfriend broke up with me all those years ago, I held onto so much anger and shame about the whole situation.
I finally forgave him and all the decisions I made leading up the breakup. Within a week, I paid off the rest of my credit card debt. Interesting huh? This needs to be a daily practice. You will meet new people who cause you anguish or others already in your life that have caused you a lifetime of pain. Think of people or situations where you still feel anger or resentment towards should be related to money in some way.
Nobody will look at this list except for you.
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Pick one that stands out the most. Find a quiet place, sit down and visualize the person or the situation.
Allow any emotions to come up. Steps 2 and 3 literally help you clear mental clutter. Same with having a massive pile of stuff you never use. Never did I imagine it would lead me down the path it did. I learned to forgive myself for all my past money mistakes and gave myself permission to be more and do more.
Even clearing out your closet or curating your book collection is good enough for now. Seriously , your physical clutter represents your mental state. As in, are you afraid of letting go of old beliefs about money? When you physically make space , you mentally make space for new things too. If you want to make more money, you need to allow yourself to receive the money.
Specifically , ones that prevent you from raking in all that cash. A cool side effect is that you may find lost cash. There have been so many stories of friends finding cash in boxes, coat jackets and books.
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Start decluttering a room or items you rarely use. Be ruthless. Will you use these again? Once you have a pile of things you want to get rid of, sort them by items to donate, toss in the trash and sell. If you want to take it one step further, give thanks or express gratitude for the things you are letting go. If you have a lot of things to declutter, start slow. Tackle one room or category at a time.
Nobody has the power to change your life but you. The important question is, are you ready to do the money mindset work it takes to transform your life? Stepping up means taking responsibility for your choices , good or bad. Doing what needs to be done to get ahead.
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Choosing to shift your perspective, whatever it takes. All of this stuff is scary. But I know that if I continue to take responsibility , stop viewing myself as a victim of my circumstances, there is no stopping me.
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When you take responsibility , you understand that the power is in your hands. There is are so many opportunities to be rich and do to what you want. So commit to changing your situation.
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If not, let it go. If you can, ask yourself how you can solve the problem. For example, you want to retire in 5 years. Figure out a solution or multiple on how to make this happen. Brainstorm ways you could have handled it differently. A good one is one where it requires you to physically exert yourself.
For example, I have a yoga practice and am working towards doing handstands.
First, you will trust that the money will come.