You think about it when you buy things, and when you go to work.
You thing about it in your business dealings, and in your conversations at home with family.
Money plays a big role in our lives.
Yet, even though we think about money a great deal every day, we spend very little time actually doing something productive regarding our personal finances.
That’s because we don’t always have the motivation to do something.
Strike when the iron is hot!
Every once in a while though, we get inspired. We read something or have a conversation or simply find time in our schedule. We get all fired up to get our finances in order: to save more, get rid of debt, or start investing.
It’s crucial that we use this moment to really make some big changes in our finances. Who knows when the time or inspiration will return. To use an old blacksmithing term, we need to strike when the iron is hot.
A blacksmith knows the importance of taking action at the right time. Once the metal cools down it isn’t easy to form it into the shape he wants.
We should think about our finances the same way. Take long-lasting action when you find the motivation.
In the past, it was easy for this flash moment to come, us make some changes and then move on to the next thing, with those changes not having any lasting impact on our success with money.
Automation is the new discipline.
Now more than ever, it’s so easy to take advantage automated tools that once set in motion, can have a permanent impact on our finances. Let’s look at a few things you can do to act next time the motivation to do so is there:
- Aggregate your accounts at Personal Capital. Set this up once, and then return periodically just to check your progress.
- Enter all your bill due dates into PocketSmith and get reminders when a bill is coming due.
- Log into your 360 Checking account and set up as many automatic bill pays as you can. Consider setting up auto-withdrawal on the remaining bills.
- Set up a direct deposit to a savings account. Start small, but make sure this is a separate savings account and not where you do your spending.
- Try Digit.co and automagically save over $1,000 in six months like I did.
- Increase your 401K contribution percentage. At least get the company match.
- Create an automatic withdrawal to a Roth IRA. This is easier than it sounds and can help you achieve tax diversification in retirement.
- Complete the application to finally get life insurance to protect your family.
- Transfer your high-interest credit card debt to a zero percent credit card or personal loan.
- Set up a debt reduction plan using a tool like the Pay Off Debt app.
The good thing about today’s financial world is that you can find the motivation once, set it all up, and then forget about it for a while. You don’t have to rely on discipline or trying harder next time.
Now there are still some things that will prevent you from taking action. Along with automatic savings tools you’ve got information overload and what can seem like too many choices to make.
My best advice here is to keep things simple, use trusted tools, and start small with all your efforts.
I’ve found that it’s far more valuable to get in the act of saving / debt reduction / investing than it is to perfect it. Once you’re in motion you can make tweaks and fine tune the financial system you’ve created.
But it’s never easier to take action than when you find that once-a-month or once-a-year motivation.
Strike when the iron is hot.