2. Stop comparing yourself to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
3. Tackle debt. If you are in debt, getting out of it is like climbing a mountain but imagine the exhilarating feeling you’ll get when standing on top of the mountain. Negotiate a reduction in interest rates; your lender is more likely to negotiate with you if it’s means getting paid.
4. Know yourself and, as Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true.” Know what you enjoy spending money on and what areas cause you stress. For example, if you enjoy spending money on gifts, then spend money on gifts, but look at what other areas may require sacrifice. If you struggle with saving, set up an automatic payroll deposit progam.
5. Dream. What do you really want out of life? What role does money play in that, if anything? It may not play as a big a role as you think. If money plays a big role in your dream, it’s probably not a dream, it’s a responsibility or a way to shut your ego up.
6. Set just one financial goal. Be specific with dates, times, and then look for signs that you are on track. If you have a target to shoot for, you’re more likely to hit it. Your actions will be aligned with your goals.
7. Set another financial goal for ten years out. Remember to make it SMART: Specific, measurable, achieveable, realistic and timely.
8. Set aside 10% of each paycheck for savings. Do not touch this money unless you have an emergency. A sale at H&M is not an emergency.
9. Make sure you have enough insurance (life, disability, homeowners, automobile, liability, health). I know, you’re probably thinking “How much is enough?” Well, talk to some licensed agents and get their feedback. If you want to avoid a sales pitch, pretend you’re a reporter doing an article or a student working on a project for school.
10. Learn one financial term that’s always baffled you. Put it up on facebook; I’ll bet it baffles most people and no one’s brave enough to admit it. Go ahead, Google “Asset Allocation” (hint: it just means recipe for investments, I have a blog about that, btw).
11. Get your last will & testament done. Most people avoid this because (a) it creeps people out talking about death, (b) it costs money (but probably not as much as you think) and / or (c) they think “What do I care what happens to my money, I’ll be dead!” True, but how many family squabbles could have been avoided if only these matters were addressed in time and with consideration. This is especially important if you have children. Be a grown up, get your will done. Have a t-shirt made or update your facebook status to tell everyone you’re a responsible person. Your 3rd grade teacher didn’t think you’d ever be this responsible. Prove her wrong.
12. Don’t beat yourself up about a perceived (or real) lack of self control, find tools to help you and then use them.
13. Celebrate! It’s important to enjoy your money. There’s a big difference between saving and hoarding; the first is prudent, the second is fearful. You must reward yourself – even if it’s in a small way – or risk feeling deprived and resentful. How much joy is in that?
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