If you haven’t seen the popular OWN TV show, Iyanla Fix My Life, where relationship expert Iyanla Vanzant teaches celebrities and everyday folks how to fix what’s broken in their lives, then you’ve been missing some good TV (especially this season.) Iyanla provides tough advice, but somehow I get the feeling that when the cameras turn off, her subjects are going to slip back into their broken ways. You see, the advice does not work if you don’t work.
The same is true for your finances. Many of you set financial goals or resolutions at the beginning of the year. And, we’re over a third of the way through the new year. Are you still keeping pace with your New Year’s resolutions?
Don’t worry, most of us jettisoned those back in February. But that’s not a reason to get discouraged. Pick yourself up, brush yourself off. We still have plenty of year left to make some serious financial progress. You just have to put in the work.
Consider these 5 tips that will help you get your financial life in order.
Determine your financial priorities.
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will do. The problem with most Americans is that they have no financial focus. They lack financial priorities, so they’re easily distracted by financial diversions. The newest video game console, latest pair of designer shoes, or thoughts of renting a condo on the beach derail truly important financial goals.
That’s why creating short term, medium term, and long term goals is so important. Sit down with your partner and decide on what is financially important to both of you.
TIP: Write your financial goals on a piece of paper. Make a plan. Then commit to action.
Care less about what anyone else does.
Scan the cars of the physician’s parking lot where I work and you’ll find your share of Mercedes, BMW’s, and Audi’s, But one parking spot is always claimed by a 15 year old bright yellow pick-up truck. You’d think it odd for the prominent physician who owns this car to shun models more in line with his stature as a physician, but he could care less.
Instead of wasting his money on a depreciating asset like a car, I’m sure he’s using his money to purchase assets (rental real estate, stocks, bonds, businesses) that will make him even more money. He is less concerned about keeping up with the Joneses and more concerned about building his wealth. And so should you.
TIP: Drop the need to impress, and instead concentrate on improving your own net worth.
Understand that saving is contagious.
Businessman and philanthropist W. Clement Stone once warned, “If you cannot save money, the seeds of greatness are not in you.” If you can not save a piece of what you earn, then you’ll never be financially successful. It’s that simple.
But people make every excuse in the world as to why they can not save. In essence, however, they’re actually making every excuse in the world as to why they can not be financially successful.
Here’s the secret, start off small. I have a friend who decided to place just $25 of every paycheck into her workplace 401K plan. Due to the company match her small contribution has turned into over $2500 in just two years. And her success has made her eager to save even more. You see, savings is contagious. The more you save the more you’ll want to save.
TIP: Pay yourself first by saving a portion of your income, even if it’s only a few dollars a week. As time goes by, the momentum to save even more will build.
Eliminate bad habits.
Your habits could be costing you plenty, sabotaging your chances for financial freedom in the process. Smoking, eating out, playing the lotto, and drinking bottled water are just a few of the seemingly innocent vices that could be robbing you blind.
Determining the cost of these bad money habits may provide the motivation you need to discard them from your life completely. Eliminating one cup of coffee a day, for instance, could save you $985 a year.
TIP: Here’s a worthwhile exercise. Go over to Lending Tree and use their Bad Habit Calculator to see how much 15 common bad money habits could be costing you each and every year. The answer just might surprise you.
You can only cut expenses so much. Learn to build diverse income streams.
While cutting costs is important to getting your financial house in order, you can only cut expenses so much. In addition to cutting expenses, you must learn how to make more money. You must learn how to create new revenue streams.
A common understanding is that the average millionaire has seven streams of revenue. While I’m not suggesting that you go out and find seven ways to make more money, consider just one or two and focus on them for the rest of the year.
Perhaps you’re good at math or WordPress. Could you tutor someone to help them learn these skills? Do you have closets full of junk? Could you sell it on Ebay or Amazon? Maybe you’ve always had an idea for a side hustle but never put your plan into motion.
TIP: Take inventory of your talents and put those talents to use creating additional revenue for you and your family.
One of the best way’s to get started with the tips above is to check out our hit film, Generation One: The Search For Black Wealth where nation’s top financial experts weigh in not only on how Blacks fell behind, but surefire strategies families can implement to begin building a strong financial legacy for generations to come.
BMWK, what can you do now to make sure that the rest of 2017 will bring you financial success?