Who doesn’t want to be a boss with their money? If cleaning up your finances has been on your mind for a while now, take this as a sign. You can create financial resilience today. No matter where you are currently at with your personal finances, there is somewhere you can take action to improve. Taking action now could mean a (an extra) vacation for you this year, paying off debt so you can do something awesome, or being able to take advantage of an opportunity that you otherwise would not be able to.
“What you focus on grows. What you concentrate on is what you see more of in your life.”— Robin S. Sharma
Here are 4 Ways to UpLevel your current money situation now, no matter if you’re a hot mess or already a money boss!
1. Focus on what you want to grow
One of the most gratifying moments being a financial coach is when a client realizes that “this money thing” really isn’t so hard, confusing, scary or frustrating after all. The secret is simply to spend time focusing on it. Sometimes all it takes is spending 30 – 60 minutes with what has been intimidating you, and the fear just melts away. The more time you spend on a regular basis with your money, the more confidence you will have. I promise.
So right now, your challenge is to plan 1 hour into your calendar to spend time looking at one aspect of your finances. Stop reading this right now, and add the appointment to your calendar. It’s OK to not know exactly what that is going to be just yet. I’ll provide some ideas next, if you need them.
Now, go back to your calendar and make this a recurring weekly appointment.
It’s no secret that what you spend time focusing on grows. If you want to gain mastery over your money so that you can do whatever you want with it, you must first dedicate the time to do so. By ensuring you have time set aside weekly, you ensure the time needed for mastery of your money. Whether it’s Saturday morning with coffee in your pajamas or Monday afternoon sandwiched between your weekly status update meeting and gym workout, just do it!
2. Start with the Basics
Personal and business finances don’t have to be complicated and time-consuming. With consistent attention, like time tending to a garden, you will continuously reap the rewards. Not only will your finances be easier with a basic structure in place, but your life will be too.
Taking the gardening analogy one step further, time with your finances could even be a peaceful and serene experience. Weeds will be nipped in the bud before any heavy lifting is required. Your garden will flourish with regular watering and fertilizer. Time and attention will lead to greater financial resilience.
Once you have a dedicated weekly time on your calendar to spend with your finances, I suggest starting with a review of the basics. In this order: Knowing what is Coming and Going (aka budgeting), Insurance, Emergency Savings, Credit and Debt, and then finally, Investing for the Future (including Estate Planning).
These five areas of personal finance basics cover everything needing tending to, for everyone with a financial life. From teenagers to grandparents, these basics can be regularly visited to keep your money life on point and as stress-free as possible.
These financial basics are also the cornerstones of establishing financial resilience. Once you have a handle on knowing what is coming and going, your insurance coverage, emergency savings, credit and debt, and investing that is aligned with your long-term goals, you can weather many a storm. Car repairs, surprise bills, lawsuits, family requests for support, gift-giving, or medical emergencies, for example, don’t have to because for financial emergency or ruin. When you have built a strong financial resilience and foundation, you have the basics down.
3. Choose ONE area to Stretch
“The hallmark of successful people is that they are always stretching themselves to learn new things.” – Carol S. Dweck
Once you have the habits and basics in place, don’t stop there. This could already apply if you feel like you currently have a great handle on your financial life. Living below your means with Checking, Savings, and Investment accounts in place – check. Estate Planning done – check. Financial Planning on track – check. Another Financial Coach secret: our finances – like laundry – is never done. There is always money coming and going to review, next level benchmarks, new dreams, and goals. You really can never run out of financial topics for your weekly review. It’s possible to continuously build your financial resilience.
Increase your chances of success by growing one area at a time.
Whether you are working on the basics, or feel a level of mastery within all areas of your finances, make sure you are giving yourself a stretch goal in just one area at a time. Is there one current savings goal that you can make an extra effort to achieve sooner? Is there a side gig or hobby that you always wanted to explore, but never felt you had the risk tolerance to do so? Do you really need to get your trust established (important but not always urgent)? Title clean up on assets from a divorce (recent or years ago)? Just pick one major financial focus to accomplish at a time.
Some other ideas to incorporate into your regular money review one at a time, to help build your financial resilience:
If you own one or more businesses, these can easily take a weekly slot for review.
Aligning your finances with your values
If you believe in green energy, but your bank or investments support drilling for oil, you may want to re-align where your money is invested. This could include changing financial institutions, re-balancing investment portfolios, or aligning everyday purchases with companies that support causes close to your heart.
You are self-sufficient, financially independent, and have a good handle on things. Perhaps it’s time to start, or review, your strategy around philanthropic giving.
Is tax season a nightmare? Are you always requesting an extension to file? With a little time and intention around organizing your finances, tax time doesn’t have to be a nightmare. This could include electronic and paper folders to gather tax documents as they come in throughout the year, a review of your W-2 withholdings with a tax professional, or estimated tax payments if you are a self-employed business owner.
Aside from what assets you may be leaving for your family or favorite charities in your estate plan, what legacy are you leaving your spouse, children and grandchildren when it comes to financial lessons? Can you pass on lessons in family financial history? Are there good, or bad, stories to share about financial literacy? What are the values you want to live on after you’re gone?
When ready, these mastery topics all have a ripple effect that goes beyond the basics.
4. Benchmark your Growth
No matter where your finances are, messy or well-managed, sustained focus and growth come from knowing your numbers. Knowing your net worth is vital to being financially savvy and financial resilience. Your net worth is a snapshot of where your finances are – high-level, big picture – over time. It may only be once a year, but regularly reviewing this benchmark is critical to know what direction your efforts are taking you.
Your net worth also helps any advisor, financial coach, or other accountability partner help keep you focused and on track with your goals.
Remember the key to going from hot mess to no stress and building your financial resilience is simply putting in the time and focusing consistently. Start with the basics. Focus on one area of improvement at a time. Finally, sustain your focus and financial resilience by creating ongoing accountability, and you create financial freedom.
As an entrepreneur and financial coach, Michelle Boss, aka The Money Boss, has helped many money mavens focus on their finances and establish healthy money habits for sustained stability and resilience with their finances. You can see what project her financial habits have made possible at www.https://www.livermorevalleywinecountryinn.com or @livermorevalleywinecountryinn on Instagram and Facebook.
Michelle Boss is a Personal Finance Coach and Certified Financial Education Instructor. She is certified through the NFEC. As a Professional Money Coach, Michelle helps successful women get smart with money so they can grow their wealth and finally feel financially secure. With Michelle’s Group and One-to-one Coaching Sessions, she helps take the Fear out of Finances.