Money challenges are very personal. They differ from one another and they differ during time. Perhaps you've been through a divorce that effected your personal finances deeply. Perhaps you chose to work in a low paid industry which has made it hard to put aside lots of savings. Perhaps you have a large inflow of money, but they seem to disappear as quickly as they showed up. We all live in our own reality. But the fact is that you can start doing differently. Today. But you need to know where to start.
My name is Mia Ingelström and I work as a personal trainer in finance, and here is my best recipe on how to become an athlete when it comes to personal finances.
5 Keys to take leadership over your financial future
Take control over where you are NOW. How much does your life cost? This is of high interest because it’s hard to make a change if you don’t know where you are right now. If you go to a personal trainer in a gym he or she will ask about your current health and your current training pattern. The same goes for finance. Taking control over your NOW is figuring out how much income and expenses you have and how much assets and debts you have. Simple as that.
Figure out – where do you want to go? Do you want to run a Marathon or climb Kilimanjaro, or do you just want to have a strong and healthy body? Different goals require different methods and the same goes for finance. By knowing your goal, you will work according to different strategies. If your goal is to get enough cash to start up a new business or if your goal is to know how much to save for your retirement, you will concentrate on different things.
Optimize your current situation. All personal trainers do the same. They look at what you do today, and they help you improve it. The same goes for finance. What interest rates do you pay today for your mortgages? How much do you spend on unnecessary charges for mutual funds? And even here the metaphor between physical training and financial training is obvious: you can learn everything from YouTube, google and books. A personal trainer, however, can see in between the lines, give you the right training program so you can reach your goal faster.
Action – get going. Do your push-ups. Do your yoga. Do your interval training. Just do it. Call your bank to negotiate your mortgage. Change your behavioral when it comes to shopping. Start investing your “future money” on the right risk level. Change your retirement funds to cheaper ones. Focus and just do it. Don’t think too much, just keep on. “First when you have reached the top you will notice how low the mountain was” (Dag Hammarskjöld).
Recap – where are you now? It’s important to pause and to look back. What happened along the way? Who are you now? We are in constant change but it’s hard for us to see it ourselves. When it comes to money and personal finances this is highly true. By taking baby steps we are “suddenly” somewhere else. We moved our positions forward. Maybe you have started to save money every month and now you see that it has grown to an important sum. Maybe you didn’t even know what your mortgage costed you, and know you negotiated the interest rates to a much better deal. This will “loop you back” to number 1 again – where are you now? And you can start all over with a new goal in mind.
This is my secret receipt to create the financial future you’re wanting to have. And by doing this over and over again, you will reach it sooner then you could ever imagine.
Author: Mia Ingelström, Personal trainer in finance at Financial Fitness Sweden AB