I thought it only fitting to open Abovare with an article focusing on what you should be thinking about as you embark on your journey towards better control over your finances and in turn more freedom to lead the life you want. The ability to exert control over your finances and the variables that influence them correlates strongly with your mental strength and overall steadfastness and ability to follow through on your plans. Therefore, it stands to reason that utilising some simple tricks that are shown to improve the chances of follow-through will help you us on our to better financial control.
One of these tricks is ages old and propagated in recent years by authors such as Steven Covey in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and more recently the high-profile TED-talker Simon Sinek’s aptly titled Start With Why. Following the advice is as simple as having a clear picture of what it is you want to achieve before you start something; what the why? Far too often we start something without a clear end goal in mind, which makes it almost impossible to achieve anything of note.
Consider the anecdote of going on a trip. Sure, travelling is nice, but setting out willy-nilly without any plan of where you want to go, you are likely to abandon travelling before reaching the place you want to go. Instead of going off on a whim, use the planning stages of your expedition to sort out where you want to go, and why you want to go there. Preparation will give purpose to your travels, increase your chances of follow through, and increase the feeling of accomplishment after reaching the end.
When it comes controlling your personal finances, not drawing a clear picture of what it is you want to achieve is simply too big of a risk to assume, regardless of your particular tolerance for risk. Consider the consequences of failing to identify your why, and as a result relaxing a bit and slowly letting go of the control over your finances. You don’t have to be in possession of a particularly vivid imagination to get an accurate idea of what the outcome is likely to be. The Internet is full of stories telling us exactly what happens.
I do have good news for you, however. The mere fact that you are reading this sets you apart and indicates that you are on the right path, away from the ruin of debt. Instead, you are actively looking to educate yourself and through the power of knowledge take control of your finances. To make sure that you build on that momentum, and maximise the chances of success and avoid the pitfalls of losing motivation because of a lack of end goals, it is important to stop and take a moment to reflect.
For many people, money becomes an end in and of itself. If you stick around to read coming content here at Abovare, which you can, for instance, do by subscribing to our mailing list, you will quickly and often notice that my philosophy is that money has no intrinsic value. Money only means something as long as we can use it as leverage to achieve the things that matter in life. And what are those things? The true is the beauty of it is that no one else can tell you what is important to you. Some people work to accumulate money to retire from the rat race, while others want to buy a new car. And if one of those things truly makes you happy, then that is fine, nobody can object.
Part of defining your mission statement, and formulating why handling your finances matters to you, is examining the depths of your psyche and discovering your core values. While nobody can tell you that there is something wrong with wanting to buy a fancy car, as stated above, it is important to be conscious about what you define as your why. Much of what will be written here at Abovare in the future will be about trying to hammer this point home, and in turn dissuade unconscious consumption. So many of the situations where people find themselves between a financial rock and a hard place is avoidable simply by adopting a more conscious approach to what money is spent on, and why.
If you are already familiar with your why, and utilise a conscious approach to what you spend your hard earned money on, that’s great. But do not worry, there is plenty of content coming for you as well here at Abovare. The why behind Abovare is to educate and share actionable tips and tools for improving your personal finances, and that will include in-depth looks at topics such as budgeting, saving and investing, in addition to many other related topics.
And, if you are among the many people who have not yet given careful consideration to their why when it comes to accumulating assets, I suggest that you spend some time with yourself. Reflect on what you wish to achieve in life, and what part money plays in getting you there. When the why is sorted out, you are ready to start your journey, and the place to start is by reading The Basic Principles of Personal Finance. This is the first of Abovare’s Guides to Building Wealth, and it introduces some of the most fundamental concepts of personal finance.
Finally, make sure that you never miss new content from Abovare by either signing up for our mailing list. You can also stay up to date on other interesting articles related to personal finance around the web by following us on Twitter. If you prefer Facebook, we naturally have a profile there as well, so don’t hesitate to hit that like button.
Header photo by Quinn Dombrowski.