Financial stability starts with a dream [Financial Friday$]

If you’ve ever heard anyone talk about financial analysis it usually doesn’t involve day dreaming. After all, money is all about numbers, right? Not exactly. Money is about an exchange. It’s absolutely powerless if you make it so. So, let’s start at the beginning and start dreaming.

Go on, dream.

Every good goal starts out with a dream, yes? Even financial ones can. After all, how can you know where you’re aiming if you don’t have a goal? And how can you have a goal if you don’t have a dream that you want to achieve? So, take a few minutes right now to close your eyes and dream about where you want to be in 10 years. Do you want a big house When you’re done, open your eyes and scribble down all the things you want to have.

Once you’ve got your list of things handy, go through and write down the cost of those items. This is not the time for shying away from your dreams. Embrace them — even if they are irrational. You may have to prioritize to make it happen or hold off on some for sometime in the much further future, but you’ll never know what you have to do until you have this list in front of you.

Norman Vaughan once said, “Dream big and dare to fail.”

Making those dreams come true

You have the dream in the palm of your hands, and it’s possible that you can realise them. The trick to realising it is not get sidetracked by “poor me” mentalities, the “shiny object in the window” mentalities, or even the “workaholic” mentality to get from where you are now to there. Start with what you have and your budget. Don’t have a budget? That’s the very first place to start. You need to know where your money is going and how much is coming in.

Break it down

When you’re looking at your budget, what do you see? You see a lot of money going out for some money coming in, more than likely. Zero in on that money going out and put it under a microscope to look for areas you can save some money. Some common areas are:

  • Late fees
  • Bank fees
  • Interest on loans and credit cards
  • Subscriptions (magazines, Netflix, etc.)
  • Not having the best value for your needs (phone plans, etc.)

Take action

Now that you’ve taken the microscope to your expenses, start taking action where you can. Late fees? Set the dates in your calendar a week in advance so you pay on time or before. Bank fees, plans, and interest? Call up your providers and lenders to see what you can do about saving some money. You can save a lot of money if only you ask nicely — but stick with firmness. Remember, no one will try to save you money when it makes them money. A great place to learn their ropes is with the book “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” by Ramit Sethi. His approach is no-nonsense, easy to follow, and makes you wonder why you never thought of that before because it’s stuff that’s pretty easy to do. Can’t afford the book? Check out his accompanying website for some ideas, but beware that the book is so worth it.

Take these little bits of money you suddenly find yourself with and use it to make your dreams come true. 

So, you’ve found some extra money when you no longer had to pay late fees, lowered your interest rates, and stopped paying bank fees because you had more money? All that money you just “found” need to go into investing into your future. Resist the urge to splurge on yourself right now. Save it and splurge later when you’ve got a good deal of cushion below you. Then, go out and make your dreams come true one piece at a time. Go on. You deserve it.

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