What does your stairway to financial heaven look like? If you were describing a perfect financial life, what does it include?
My clients can describe at great length what's going wrong in their financial lives. They are focused on the debt, or the disagreements, or the too-low savings.
We are trained to look for what's wrong. I think it's a survival mechanism that is as old as mankind. Let's face it; we needed to see the tiger that was lurking in the brush.
That constant attention to the "not working" side has stunted us from envisioning what we do want. Let's exercise the "perfect money life" muscle today. What would you include in that picture?
Here are the visions that I have. I'm writing them in the first person because they are my ideal, and may not be yours:
I envision simplicity in form and function. This would include buying less stuff for "stuff's" sake. Less to buy, less to clean, less to insure, less to worry about. If it breaks, I replace it. If I'm using the last bottle or box of something, I put it on the list. New-better-faster comes into the equation only at the time I'm replacing something.
I don't feel stress about my finances because my choices are in alignment with simplicity and a stress-free financial life.
My finances are in a system that is repeatable and doesn't take a lot of thought. One account handles bills, another account handles spending and errand money. There's an account that handles the irregular expenses, and others the retirement and longer-term savings. I have a system for funding them, and don't have to spend a lot of time seeing if it's working because it is set up to take care of itself.
I work hard for my money. (I'm sure you do, too.) In return, I respect the hard work I've put in by being mindful about how I use my money.
I keep track of where my money is spent. When I'm out in the world, I know how much is in my accounts before I make a spending decision. I've developed a list before I leave home so I know why I'm in any store and come home with what I need.
If I'm on a shopping mission for anything, I've determined in advance what amount of money I'm willing to spend for it. That way I don't have to waste my time with options that are over that amount, but can focus on the options that fit both my requirements and my money.
SAVING FOR THE FUTURE
I'm not saving for a rainy day; I have a specific reason for what I'm saving. My short term savings are for irregular expenses that will happen this year, including vacation, home maintenance items, gifts, car servicing, and many others.
My longer term savings are also for specific purposes. I've met with a financial adviser and know what my retirement savings goal is and have a clear picture of what I'll have available to me when I retire.
When I'm saving for something specific, like a car or piano or something, I have a separate account so that I can watch the savings grow and feel like I'm achieving my goal long before the final dollar amount is reached.
COMMUNICATING ABOUT MONEY
I check in advance about what to expect when I'm considering an expense, from dental care to car servicing to arrangements with friends. I hate being surprised by a cost because it can cause me to slip into resentment or fear.
When I talk with others about money, I keep the conversation clear and focused. I don't want to infect others with financial fear or discontent, because the place I want to come from is gratitude. I'm aware that the climate from the news media is often negative, and I don't buy into that.
That's my personal financial paradise. What's yours? Take a moment to open to the possibilities of what you want to have. When you're ready, write down your thoughts so you can map out what your perfect financial picture looks like, and then add to it when things occur to you. If you don't know some of the information specifically, highlight the gaps.
This way you can create your own stairway to the sky. You have your game plan, and now you can map out your strategy for achieving it.
By starting with what you want, you've given yourself increased motivation and energy for achieving it. You've also given your subconscious the destination you desire. By writing it down, you've made it more concrete and achievable.
If you don't want to map this perfect financial life alone, or have trouble developing your strategy for achieving it, or find yourself floundering in the getting-it-done area, shoot me an email about what you're having trouble with and we'll put our heads together to find you a solution that works within your criteria.
The time to do this is now. Once you've developed the stairway to your personal financial heaven, you reach it one step at a time.