Q: I’m struggling to stay on track of my finances. Any advice?
A: I think about this problem a lot. One of the biggest reasons why people don’t reach their financial goals is their lack of financial literacy, along with the lack of confidence and ability to develop and stick to a financial plan.
Given this, the first and perhaps most important step is to treat getting financially organized as something you must do! If you treat it as something you “should” do, odds are you won’t get much traction. If you treat it as a “must”, then you have a better chance at success!
There are many effective strategies on how to organize and grow your finances. My seven-part blog series on getting financially organized has a few pointers on how to stay on track. One that I find particularly effective is getting leverage on yourself. Set a financial goal and make a promise that if you don’t achieve it by a certain time, you have to do something you dislike. Perhaps it’s giving up meat for a few weeks if you don’t get your will or power of attorney done.
In my experience, one of the major differences between clients who stay on track and grow their finances and those who struggle to do so is their level of financial literacy and confidence. When people increase their fundamental understanding of personal finance, they start on the path to success. As they gain more knowledge and confidence, it’s much more likely that they will execute strategies to achieve their financial goals.
Unfortunately some of us were raised in environments where proactively taking care of finances was never stressed. Even worse, many were taught or learned that money is bad and focusing on how to make, grow, or manage it is an unworthy endeavor. If this sounds familiar, you will need to be more diligent than most.
Just remember, persistence is key in pushing through and staying focused. As Calvin Coolidge once wrote, “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
Best of luck!
Ask An Advisor is a regular feature based on commonly asked questions I’ve received from clients. If you have a question, shoot me an email. I will write back and post your question in this series for the benefit of other readers. If you don’t want your question posted online, or wish to remain anonymous, let me know.