You want a better financial life, right? I mean, who doesn’t? To have a successful financial life, you must first define success.
My wife and I recently made a significant investment change. We decided to invest more into our time than our finances. For years we had lead a chaotic and sometimes downright out of control, calendar. We came to the realization that instead of saying yes to everything, we needed to start saying yes to our family. That is what lead to me quitting my full time job and starting my own financial planning firm. Even if we were going to make less money, we knew it was more important for our family to have more time together.
Some people may think that was a crazy financial decision. But because our decision was based on the right reasons, it was absolutely the smartest and best decision for our family.
When it comes to making better financial decisions, you must first understand what’s at the heart of your financial plan. Once you know that, you can implement these three tips.
1. Find Your Money Crush and Ask Them How They do it
Sure, maybe only financial advisors truly have money crushes. Believe me, I have several. But, the truth is, somewhere along the way, you have run into some incredible people that have struck you as very well put together. Maybe it’s the way they live their life. Perhaps it’s how they seem to use money to live a better life. Or maybe it is how they have transitioned gracefully from full-time employee to full-time retiree.
If there is someone in your life that you admire for their financial responsibility and ability to do what’s important to them, it’s time to find out more. Ask them if you can have a chat about how they’ve reached their financial and life goals. It’s a good idea to give them a bit of an idea of what you are wanting to chat about ahead of time!
Here are a few examples of questions you can ask:
- What is the best financial decision you ever made?
- What is the worst financial decision you ever made?
- What did you learn about money growing up?
- Tell me about your first memory of money?
- What sources of information do you rely on for making financial decisions?
- What is the most important thing your money gives you today?
2. Plan with Purpose
One thing I commonly hear from my financial mentors is that they make financial decisions based on what’s most important to them. Of course, we can’t have everything we want. I suggest making a list of everything you want to accomplish and then ranking them from:
- Must do
- Would like to do
- Fun to do
By prioritizing your goals, you can make sure your financial plan is full of what you value most in life. When you have a purpose for your financial life, it’s much easier to make the tough decisions on what to do with the resources you have.
Your purpose is of particular importance when dealing with a spouse. You need to communicate what’s important to each other and make sure you share the same values. I have had the pleasure of working with several wonderful couples. In doing so, I have watched them learn things about each other that they never knew before. What an empowering feeling to have a goal and a partner that wants to help make sure you achieve it.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Dream Big and Think Outside the Box
If you had told me two years ago where I would be today, I would have politely told you that you were crazy. Never in a million years would I have thought I would have my own financial planning firm.
That’s the beauty of creating a financial plan that truly means something to you. It allows you to visualize your dreams. You know, the ones in the back of your head that you keep convincing yourself you’ll never be able to do. Once you create a visual, you can let your brain go to work on creating a plan for how you might get there.
Have you ever bought a new or a new-to-you, used car? I bet once you bought it you started seeing that same car all over the road. In reality, the car had been there all along. Once you opened up your mind to recognizing it, you started seeing what was always there.
By talking about a goal, writing it down on paper, and visualizing what it will look like, your brain will start to think of amazing solutions of how to make it happen. One of the things I make a point of doing with each of my clients is sending them home to think about their unresolved goals. I love coming back together to compare notes on all of the ways they thought of to get closer to having the life they have dreamt about. It’s not magic, and most of the time, it’s not easy. If it’s a goal that is a must do and it’s supported by your values, you may be surprised to find out that you’re closer than you think. To learn more about financial planning outside the box check out or blog: How to Plan for Retirement Outside of the Box.
When it comes to dealing with finances, we often try to take the emotion out of the discussion. We try to convince ourselves that money is just a set of numbers and if we get to the right number, then everything in our life will come together.
Unfortunately, talking and planning out our financial life is as emotional as it can get. It’s time we start embracing our emotions as natural and beautiful parts of who we are. By making sure your financial plan connects with you on an emotional level, you’ve taken a significant step on the path to a better financial future.
Nick Nauta is a Certified Financial Planner™ with over ten years of experience in Financial Planning. He lives and works in the Lansing Area. His passion for financial planning over his 10-year career comes from his first memories of money and the idea that financial planning isn’t about how much you have but how you use it to live a meaningful life. Find out more about Nick here.