Set attainable Goals
As we grow up, our parents and society set predetermined goals for us. We have all heard “Go to school and get good grades so you can get in to college. Then get good grades in college so you can get a good job.” But, upon graduation it is crucial to set financial life goals. When I graduated I set a goal to pay off my student loans in the first year. I recommend you set goals for 1, 5, 10, and 30 years. My 5 year goal was to buy my first place with cash and I was able to do that in 3 years after graduating. We will get in to the nuts and bolts of how, but the most important thing is to start to dream and set attainable goals you want to shoot for in your personal and financial life.
Don’t strive to be normal, strive to be different and make a difference! I can’t begin to tell you how many times people thought I was crazy for saying I would buy my first place with cash. One reason could be that I live in the 6th most expensive place to live in the US, or maybe because something so out of the norm is unheard of for us “free-spirited” millennials. Dave Ramsey, author of The Total Money Makeover, says it best, “Live like no one else now, so later you can live like no one else”. The purpose of this step is to not do what everyone else is doing, but instead challenge the norms society has put in place! Are the goals you set crazy enough? The mindset is to not keep up with the Jones’s, but to change your family tree.
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Create a Budget
A goal without a plan is a wish. When you want something bad enough you will find a way to get it, if not you will find an excuse. Essentially to make a budget you take your total monthly income, then subtract out your basic living essentials (Food, Shelter, and Transportation). The amount that is left is money you have control over. Your budget needs to correlate with your goals. For example, my goal was to pay off $30,000 in my first year out of college, so I had to put a loan payment category in my budget – i.e loan payment of $2500 per month. If your money is tight you may need to do some redefining of basic living essentials or increase your income. Common fixes to decrease your living essentials are eating out less, getting a roommate/living at home, and car pooling. To increase your monthly income, check out my extra cash section. To create your personal budget click here.
Control Your Mind
Life is tough! We always hear people say how easy life was as a kid, no work, bills to pay, no student loans to repay, free rent, food etc. (you get the picture). While it is easy to think this way, you need to control your mind daily to make sure you stay focused on your goals and executing your budget. One way I do this is by reciting a daily creed to myself. Every morning I have a reminder on my phone go off to keep me in check. I look in the mirror and say this like Ray Lewis is giving a pep talk:
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Today is the best day
I am Healthy
I am Positive in everything I do
I get to go to work today…some people don’t
I get to drive a car today…some people don’t
I get to walk my dog today…
I am Debt Free…
I Love Myself (say it 10x…don’t judge)
Why go to work today?
I get to work to make money to invest and change my future, to buy a house and start a family.
Don’t be pushed by your problems be led by your dreams
What am I doing today to get closer to my dreams?
[Insert why from next step]
Make today count! Let’s go you got this.
And there you have it folks, the secret sauce to Phil’s $wag.
Live your why
The key to attaining goals is to have a Desire, to take Action, and last to have a Purpose. In high school, there is always a girl that everyone wants to talk to (Desire). Several awkward teenagers with puberty levels through the roof may go up and talk to her (Action). The one that has a reason, for example take her to a dance or out for ice cream, is typically the one who she picks (Purpose). This analogy is exactly what you just did. Your desire is the goals that you wrote down for your life. Your action is consistently and aggressively executing your budget. The final step is your purpose or the why. For example, the reason I want to attain my goals is to live on my own terms, travel, and show love to people. Think hard about your why and insert it into your daily creed.
To be honest I do like personal finance and love talking about this stuff, but I LOVE people and want to see everyone succeed. I have discussed this topic with a lot of different people and would be more than happy to have a conversation with you. Contact me here and subscribe to this blog to get new strategies and tools to help you on your journey.