Developing Your Financial Decision-Making Lens
Time is our most valuable resource. It cannot be made, grown, produced or slowed. I was once challenged by a professor of mine to live life by bettering myself every day, be a second faster at things I do, learn something new every day, and connect with different people whenever given the opportunity. Then and only then would I be successful. “Where will you be 5, 10, 15 years from today,” he asked. “Will you have a job vs. a career? A family or be alone? Be successful? Will you live life?” I walked out of his classroom not knowing that his words would resonate with me and how I felt about my upcoming graduation and life in general.
A few months later I discovered the financial planning profession; a few years later I started my own financial planning firm. I don’t know about everyone but I’m a firm believer that ideas, people, and opportunities are placed in front of you at the right time. It is what you decide to do with them that will move you towards personal success. Many of us freeze when we get an idea, need to talk to the right person or take advantage of an opportunity because of the fear of the unknown. How do I do it? Who do I talk to? Can we afford it? What if it is not what I wanted? All relevant questions that will keep us from taking action in starting your own business, changing careers, and pursuing more time with your family. They cause us to waste time, let fear settle in and ultimately take no action.
So how do you save time? How can you make better financial decisions? How do you move forward with living your life as you imagine it to be?
Write down what you want to do. Whatever it may be. Write down the What, the Why, the When, even if you don’t know the How yet. Write it down. Leaving your goals as thoughts does not lead to action. Writing them down is the first step to action. It gets you thinking about short-term to long-term goals. This helps you create a vision. By writing down what you want to do, you eventually start thinking about the Why.
Why is this important to me? Security, independence, happiness, family, friendships are all words that come to mind when you start thinking about Why you want to do something, professionally or personally. Figuring out the reason to embark on a personal or professional journey will allow you to make the initial decision if it’s truly worth it. And if you figure out that going on that extra trip a year, buying that house, changing careers or starting that business is worth your time and effort, it gets you to think about the When.
A lot of people say they want to do something and will go as far as writing it down and talking about it to their friends, their spouse, maybe even their parents, but they never settle on When they want to achieve something by. It has been my experience while working with individuals and their goals that having a set time frame, a due date if you will, lights a fire under one’s hind parts to get it done. Some people are scared to set a date because, “what if I don’t get it done by then?” My answer has always been, “at least your closer than you were before?”
DO WHAT YOU LOVE OR AT LEAST WHAT YOU LIKE
If you are going to put forth effort in being intentional, you might as well do what you love or at least what you like. Professionally or personally, if you are not doing what you love or at least like, then what the hell are you doing? Don't always take the safe road. Don’t put something on hold and forget about it because it sounds ridiculous or because someone’s already doing it or has done it. Everyone’s situation is unique. Especially yours. Nobody will experience travel like you do, start a business like you do, raise a family like you do or live life like you do.
Some of us may not know what we’d love to do but we may want to do a lot of things and that’s okay; that’s a great place to start. Make a decision now on what you may want to do and ask yourself, “Would I love to do this or at least try this?”
Before I decided to embarked on my entrepreneurial journey, I asked myself, “Can I do this for the rest of my life? Will I regret doing this? Will I regret not doing this? Will this enhance my life or my family’s life in any way shape or form? How far am I willing to go to achieve my goal” I ask these questions and other similar ones when I’m stuck trying to make a personal financial decision. Let’s face it, if you’re not going to regret your decision (or if you are) and if you are not willing to go beyond your own comfort zone, do you really love or like what you’re about to do?
MAKE A POSITIVE IMPACT
If you are going to do something you love, make an impact. Make a positive impact on your life, your spouse’s life, your kid’s, anyone or someone. All financial decisions come with an impact, negative or positive, so focus on making a positive one. Ask yourself about the pros and the cons of your decision. Which one outweighs the other? A lot of families want to travel but don’t. They go out to eat every other day for the convenience of not cooking but what positive impact does going out to eat serve vs. your true goal. They buy the latest iPhone, name-brand shoes, or name-brand clothes vs. fulfilling what they truly want. The decisions you make every day can be the very reason you aren't making a positive impact in your life financially.
FIGURE OUT HOW OR HIRE SOMEONE
So How can I achieve my dreams, passions, and goals? Figuring out how to achieve your goals or dreams can be the hardest part, but it doesn’t have to be. We are all born with the mental capacity to “figure it out” as my parents use to say. But do we really have the time to become an expert at everything? Thanks to technology we’re able to brush the surface of information on how to become an entrepreneur, the cost of that vacation overseas or the cruise you’ve been wanting to take, or the salary you can potentially earn by changing careers. There may be more moving parts than you may think or care to understand. Don’t let the fear of you not knowing how to do something , keep you from your goals. Hire someone if need be to help you accomplish your goals.
MyLife Financial is a fee-only, virtual financial advisor providing objective and independent advice. Our clients are busy professionals that face daunting questions of how today's financial decisions will affect their long-term financial success. Everything written is strictly for informational use only. Please seek the advice of your CPA, Attorney, or financial professional before implementing any strategies.
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