Last week, I was feeling sick and sorry for myself (sorry to my husband Simon who did not hear the end of it!)
I was so grateful that I am in a financial position where I was able to quit my full-time job over two years ago, to now run my own business from home. Last week while I was working in my PJs (and spending perhaps a little bit too much time in bed), I had flashbacks to the times I was sick as an employee. Having to make the choice to either drag yourself out of bed and push through while you’re feeling awful, or to make the dreaded guilt-ridden phone call to take a sick day. It sucks!
I am so grateful to be in this position, so in today’s post, I want to share with you how I got to the financial point where I said goodbye to my corporate job and hello to life on my terms.
One of my favourite quotes is one of Mark Twain’s – “The secret to getting ahead is getting started“.
Most people feel that there is some sort of hurdle that they need to jump over BEFORE they can start working towards a point where they have more money.
“I’ll start when I’ve paid off the credit card…”
“I’ll start when I’ve saved $1,000…”
“I’ll start next year when things have settled down a bit more...”
There’s always some reason why you can’t start, so if we keep listening to all of the reasons, we never will.
I was not in an OK financial position when I started on my journey. I had a personal loan on my car paying a ridiculous interest rate. I was largely living week-to-week with not much left in my bank account. But I started, and now I am so grateful that I did.
Don’t wait. Start now. Right now (as in today). The longer you wait to start, the longer you’ll be waiting to live your dream life.
Here are the 5 steps I took (and that I take my clients through), to be in a great financial position:
Step 1: Identify your mission (why are you doing this in the first place).
Please don’t skip this step! Some people think that it’s a little too woo-woo for them, but when they don’t nail this part we ultimately see things fall over later on or a significant delay in how long it takes.
Grab a piece of paper and write out your perfect day. If money wasn’t an issue – if you had enough to pay the bills and live life on your terms- what would your day look like? From the moment you wake up, until you go to bed, write down hour-by-hour what your day would look like. Get super specific – where are you, who are you with, what are you doing, what are you eating… everything! Write it down, and stick it somewhere you will see it (I read mine EVERY DAY). This is why you’re doing all this money stuff. We are ultimately working towards getting this to a point where this day is your reality, every single day.
Step 2: Work out exactly where you’re starting from.
I’m not going to lie – this part can suck a little bit. This is the part where we stare our finances head on and deal with it. I want you to comb through your bank accounts and work out a few key things.
a) what you own (aka your assets)
b) what you owe to anyone and everyone (your liabilities)
c) how much you’re spending every week/fortnight/month
d) how much you’re saving
Step 3: Identify the gaps in your knowledge and fill them.
You’ve just stared at your finances in Step 2. While you’re working through that step, I want you to question anything you’ve looked at that you don’t understand. How much interest am I paying? How is the interest charged? How much tax am I paying? What is my super invested in? Anything you don’t know, I want you to find out. Read my posts or emails, ask me questions, google it, read a book, listen to podcasts… Whatever your preferred learning method is, use it. When it comes to getting better with your money, knowledge is power (and has the power to make or break you).
Step 4: It’s time to evolve.
You’ve now worked out where you’re going, and where you’re starting from. It’s now time to work out how to get from point A to point B.
Take out another piece of paper and write down where you’re starting from (point A) at the top of the page, and where you want to be (point B) at the bottom. Let’s say, for example, you need $10,000 to reach one of your goals, and you have $100 saved already. You’d have $100 at the top, and $10,000 at the bottom. What is the gap? It’s time to brainstorm all of the ideas you have to get from the top of the page to the bottom. Do you need to pay off debt? Do you need to save more? Do you need to cut back your spending? Do you need to start investing? Your brainstorming ideas are now your money plan – so get out and do them!
Step 5: Incorporate all of this into your everyday life.
Every day, I want you to start your day by thinking “What can I do today, to get me closer to my perfect day?”. At the end of the day, reflect on if you’re closer to where you want to be.
Make the money stuff as easy as possible for you, and automate everything that you can. Set up direct debits, automatic transfers, reminders on your phone. Use intelligent apps with bank data feeds that will track your spending. Your money strategy does not need to be overly complicated – you just need to ingrain it into your life in a balanced and sustainable way.
My message to you today is, please just start.
Do something small that is going to take you just one step closer to where you want to go.
You don’t need to wait any longer.