The first step is Preparation: Do you think any successful doctor goes into the operating room unprepared? Operating on you based on general statements about what he heard on the news… or what his next door neighbor told him was the newest and latest procedures for a triple by-pass surgery? If so, would you allow this doctor to perform surgery on you? If not, why do you allow yourselves to work on your family’s finances? If you don’t know the rules, can you really play the better yet, can you play the game to win? Why then are you surprised when your family’s finances look really similar to the person that was operated on by the untrained surgeon? (Jacked up!)
If you don’t know what tax bracket you are in, if you don’t know how much you are paid before taxes and after taxes, if you don’t know that you should pay yourself 1st before the bill collectors, if you don’t know what your monthly outgo is and your monthly income is… you might have not seen the playing field. If you don’t know what a 401k is, or how much money is being put into it; is it a Roth Ira or a Traditional Ira; you probably can’t manage these accounts effectively. If you don’t know these things, you are probably not aware of how much you are spending and where the money is going.
My challenge to you is simple! Figure it out. Know these numbers and create a weekly plan to make sure you are headed in the right direction. It might be helpful to step back, take a look at the large picture and see your finances as a blue print. If you step back, do so some preparation, you might be able to get helpful information in planning the future and finding out where you can get viable dependable information.
The second step is to put a plan into action: You might have been able to cram for school and pass your tests even do well on them, but YOU CAN NOT CRAM for your life. Furthermore, you can’t cram for your financial success today or in the future. Imagine the farmer that party’s all year long but waits until the fall to plant his crops, what do you think he will harvest? This may all seem so bleak on the surface, but as soon as you learn this, it should be the most rewarding, elating and exciting news of today; if you start planning now, learning now and applying a little self discipline, you can get to wherever you want to be. You financial plan should begin with the end in mind.
I suggest you and your family creating a very vivid picture as to where you would like to be in: 1) the immediate future, being the next 12-24 months…2)”the near future” being next 5-10yrs then 3) the far future being for retirement and beyond. The game plan here is getting from steps 1 to 2 to 3 without getting caught up on the hiccups that life throws your way. It makes no sense leaning on a shovel and prayer for a hole, take the action, increase your financial knowledge. Your financial knowledge is your rule book! Your knowledge of this will determine by far how successful you are. In other words know the rules so that you can play the game to win.
Some suggestions are:
1) Set aside 15-30 minutes a day to increase your financial Literacy. By increasing your financial literacy you will understand how it can affect your future now. It would help you to understand how to start planning today, so as to secure your future tomorrow.
2) If you read one book on financial literacy per month, in a year you would read 12 books and in 10 years 120 books. You would have positioned yourself to understand and be more knowledgeable about your finances than most people in the industry.
3) Take time to update your results. Look at the things that are working for you and what isn’t. By doing this, it will keep you well versed in current opportunities to development and find out where you are on the continuum.
4) Tweak your methods and make sure that your game is improving in your areas of weakness. If you want to increase your success with your jump shot, shoot more of you want to increase your assets, buy more of them. You have to continually develop your knowledge of your finances because no-one else will for you. The best wealth management plan is a self management plan.