There are few people in the world who get excited about financial statements.
There are even fewer who get excited about organizing everyone else’s financial statements too. If you are one of these rare breeds, then we need to talk because we’re probably destined to be besties!
For everyone else, let me hand you an EASY button.
Here ya go => Not all Money Strategies/Tips/Tools are right for you.
It’s true. Turn off CNBC’s Mad Money or Fox Business, and let’s organize the mess that is all the financial advice available to us. (Disclaimer: I’m not a financial advisor, so do your research too.)
You need Results. And depending on what financial phase you’re in, you’re going to focus on specific strategies that get you those Results.
Where are you? ->
Just getting started? Not sure what your financials look like? Going into the red every month?
Have a little extra $$ every month?
Have extra $$ and a nice lifestyle?
If you are in the Just getting started category, then Bravo! Really. Let’s throw a party and have some cake (chocolate please). You just took a HUGE, BRAVE step into a better place. It might be a little unfamiliar at first, but pull up a comfy chair and get settled.
You are in PHASE 1 of your financial journey.
You’re going to focus solely on the following strategies:
Start with Building a Budget. I talk about that in this post, and have even included a Basic Budget Worksheet to fill in. If you’re one of those few people mentioned earlier who like financials I’m surprised you haven’t done this yet!??
Once your numbers are organized, identify two spending categories that are sucking your hard-earned cash.
Do a Shopping Ban on those two categories for 2 weeks to get your spending back under control.
If you are overspending on groceries, then do a ban on processed foods.
If you are overspending on Utilities, turn down the thermostat, institute lights out during the day and after 8 pm, set timers for showers, etc.
It’s ONLY 2 weeks. ;)
Have more than 2? Only do 2 at a time, it’s an EASY button, not a NAILS-DOWN-THE-CHALK-BOARD button.
Have a little extra $$: That’s great! You are in PHASE 2: Gaining Momentum. At this phase you should be growing your income, eliminating debt, and building a nest egg.
You are going to focus on two things:
1. Setting goals to save money and eliminate debt,
2. Sifting through your numbers to find pockets of money being wasted that you can divert to your goals.
How much to save? How much to put towards your debt each month? There is a lot of great advice on those topics. And I think all strategies are heading in the right direction.
My rule of thumb for savings: Enough to cover a minor crisis.
My rule of thumb for debt payments: Enough to not pull from your savings goals.
You can pay towards both simultaneously or build savings first.
If you and your family are very risk averse, build an emergency fund first. If you have a higher tolerance for risk, do both at the same time.
Have extra $$ and a nice lifestyle?: Wow! You’re doing great! In Phase 3 It’s time to focus on getting your money super-organized and make your extra $$ work harder and smarter to Grow Wealth over the next few years. This is a GREAT opportunity for you! Truly, you’re in a prime position to build an amazing life and a legacy.
Most people put their money on cruise control at this phase and are content to be content. Are you?
I think the better option is to be strategic and accelerate your growth like you’ve never been able to before!
Don’t expand your lifestyle yet. Use that money and invest it. Wealth building strategies are the key to opening up the throttle on your financial sports car.
Whatever phase you’re in, learn the “tasks” for that phase and ignore all the financial advice that is outside of where you are. Don’t get distracted by “shiny objects” or “chance of a lifetime” opportunities that don’t fit your Financial phase.
REMEMBER!!! Not every strategy, tip, and tool is right for where you are!
What happens if you use a strategy that’s not in your phase?
More debt than you can afford (excessive leverage/negative cashflow)
Your money losing its value due to inflation (we call that under-performing assets)
Feeling pressured to stay in a job you don’t enjoy just for the income
Feeling the stress of having to make more money at your job just to stay afloat
Financial collapse and bankruptcy
Increased stress, arguments, and unhappiness in your family relationships
I know from personal experience, because I made the mistake of going outside of my phase a couple of times.
I watched other successful people and thought if I did what they did I would get the same results. That’s what they tell you, right?!
And yes it’s true. But they don’t tell you all the steps from point A to Z. They only tell you points A, B, X, Y, Z.
I was impatient and wanted to take shortcuts.
The points “C through W” they don’t mention? Those are the action steps I discovered were missing when I hit the wall.
When I got back into the right phase, I understood even more deeply why there are no such things as shortcuts to success.
Moral of the story:
Follow your phase. Trust the process. Be patient and work one step at a time. Begin today. Get your results.
You’ve got this.