How to be your best self, financially
Having your financial life in order is an inside job. It’s about reflecting, thinking, prioritising, great decision making and educating yourself. Money matters can seem complex or overwhelming but the reality is that we need to be in control of our financial position to really be the best versions of ourselves. So, let’s get to the basics of money management so you can thrive at life, both on the inside and the outside.
1. Know what’s important to you and why
Pour a cup of tea (or wine) and take a seat. Think about your life and assess what is truly important to you. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day, go through the motions, move from position at work to another one when an opportunity comes up or just connect with your girlfriends who organise the catch ups. The life you want to live is there for the taking but you need to work out what you want. Do you really want THAT job or does it just make sense because that is (in theory) the next step? Is that the friend you want to catch up with or is she just the one who messages you the most?
The same goes for your financial situation, it’s easy to operate on default but taking the time to really understand yourself will help you spend, save and organise in the right places. Money is simply just a tool and you determine how you use it and how you use it impacts how you feel about your overall situation. So, sip that refreshing drink and explore your values and ask your “whys”. Ask yourself “why is that important to me?”. Taking the time for this thinking will assist you to understand your motivations which will inform your decision making going forward. It’s about working from the inside out.
2. Know what’s working, and what isn’t
While you are having a moment of reflection think about your current position:
How do you feel? Confident / Stressed / Overwhelmed / In control / Worried / Drowning / Inspired / Borderline concerned / Impartial / Ecstatic / Naïve / No idea (Ignorance is bliss?) / Ready for rescuing / Ready for Change / Focused / Uninformed / Unprepared / Other?
What is working? Think about these categories: Savings / Debt / Housing Situation / Car Situation / Work-Life Balance / Travel / Health / Managing bills and expenses day to day / Banking structure / Investment / Wealth Protection / Super / Other Loans / Career / Earning Potential / Retirement Planning / Passive Income Streams / Alternative Income Streams / Wealth Creation / Financially managing periods of leave (e.g. parental leave/career change) / Other?
What isn’t working? Do you have any of these to consider? Late fees / Increasing debt levels / Financial Goals but no plan / Unnecessary ATM fees / A lack of an Investment plan / Unknown Superannuation situation / Unfulfilled career or travel goals / An imbalance in your life / Confusion with your bank accounts / Concerns about your ability to earn more money or retire when you want to / No financial buffer to manage unexpected costs / Laybys worth more than your weekly allowance / Multiple credit commitments / Unmanageable debts / Clutter in your workspace, home or purse / Valuable items being underutilized / Swimming in receipts or paperwork / No financial plan for periods of leave coming up / Other?
3. Make a plan
Believe it or not you have done all the hard work – you’ve identified where you want to get to because you know your values and priorities and you have a clear idea on where you are now but reviewing what is and isn’t working. The next step is just to bring those two, together. Look at what isn’t working and make a plan for each area so you can bring it closer to your best version. It might be a small step like creating a budget so you save rather than overspending. Or, it might be bigger like taking the plunge and putting your savings into that investment that you have wanted for some time. Next, look at what isn’t working and make a plan for those.
Keep in mind that this is a journey. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you don’t have to have all the answers. Chat to those around you, chat to experts, chat to people who inspire you. Ask them “What’s the best thing you have ever done financially?”. Take the advice you want and leave the rest.
Being your best self, financially, is as easy as following the 3 steps above. Remember, your actions don’t have to be titanic. Success often comes down to all the smaller, daily choices you make so just start somewhere and stay focused. And if that’s too much, just clean out your purse – a minimalist purse makes everyone feel fantastic.
Image from Zurii