I’m going to wrap up the “10 Things” series with a post (in two parts) that should hopefully bring it all together. Most of what I’ve shared already in this series has been one of three things: a specific tool, method, or guideline for having success in personal finance. The ideas I’ll share below and in part 2 (tomorrow) are really more about changes that need to happen within you, not something you need to go do.
I’m not a psychologist, nor am I well versed in the subject. However, please allow me to attempt to articulate the two changes that took place within me, in order for me to begin to have success in my personal finances. Nothing new here…it’s just what worked for me. The first was taking ownership.
Change #1: Taking Ownership
I’ve found that I can create change more easily in my life when I first take ownership for my situation. Somewhere along the way I realized it was me, and only me, who was going to get me headed in the right direction: out of debt, accumulating savings, and into a home of my own.
For you to truly take ownership of your own situation you need to look at your own bad debt, lack of savings and tell yourself that it’s YOU, and only you, who is responsible for moving you back towards a positive situation. Don’t look to others: parents, future spouse, the Government, or even your future self. Relying on one of these to bail you out may work for a while, but you’ll never learn to thrive and grow unless you’re pulling your own weight.
Here are some specifics to help you take ownership:
Stop Relying on Someone Else and Decide to Make a Change
In my college and early post-collegiate days I was relying too much on my “future self” to help me out of my current situation. I was going deeper into debt, telling myself I’ll be able to pay all of this back when I’m making a bigger salary. Foolish.
One day, probably while listening to some Dave Ramsey, I told myself enough is enough. For me, this was just another way of saying “grow up, PT”. It’s time you decided for yourself to make a change. Make today the day you grow up.
Develop Your Own Methods
My bill tracker tool, automated savings, this Blog are all personalized methods for getting me where I want to be. What are your methods? Whether it’s how you pay bills, spend less, or track your goals, come up with your own specific methods for creating success.
I’ve given you a few examples, but in the long-run, the methods that make the most sense to you and that are easiest to you (i.e. “ownership”) have the most chance of success. As long as you are working from a solid framework, your own methods of getting there are fine.
Play to Your Strengths
To own your situation, it helps to start with the areas you’re comfortable with. Work on those areas while you learn more about the others.
If you have a spouse, use a tag team approach. Mrs. PT and I know what our strengths are and we encourage each other in them. She’s great at living the frugal lifestyle (it comes natural to her), while I’m more naturally skilled with setting up and tracking our savings and retirement funds.
If you don’t have a partner yet, seek assistance from a trusted advisor on the areas in which you’re a bit deficient.
Are you taking ownership of your finances? Come back tomorrow as I share the second change that I made which has lead to success with my finances.
The Rest of the Series…#1 Track Your Regular Monthly Expenses #2 Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt #3 Get a Job! #4 Contribute to your Employer’s 401(k) and Get That Match! #5 Put Your Savings in a High-Interest Savings Account #6 Track Your Net Worth and Set a Goal #7 Automatic Savings and Bill Payment #8 Live a Frugal Life #9 Buy Your Home the Right Way #10 Part 1: Take Ownership #10 Part 2: Being Intentional
Photo: by Brian – Progressive Spin