Okay maybe there aren’t any hidden secrets to financial success, but as Forbes magazine says, “Achieving financial success is a lifelong process that involves creating goals and working towards that aim; making the inevitable course corrections and modifications as you go.”
So even if they aren’t deep secrets, here are some principles that—when applied over a lifetime and maintained with “course corrections” every so often—can truly help guide you on a path to security.
1. Start with the Small Change first
Yes, that includes the pennies and nickels and dimes. Many times people realize that they need to make some serious changes when it comes to spending and saving and working out of debt instead of further into it. But the way out can appear so overwhelming that some fail to even seriously try before giving up.
That is why it is important to take baby steps. Make a plan for small changes on a regular basis as you bite off just what you can chew and grow from there.
2. Find a Balance
Just like taking small steps at the beginning, you want to be careful not to overwhelm yourself with goals that are too drastic. Just like a food diet, switching from over-indulgence to self-deprivation is only setting yourself up for failure. Rather than setting a course for turning back to your old habits and perhaps even worse off than before, work at finding and maintaining a healthy balance.
3. Celebrate the Little Things
As you steadily grow towards financial independence, take time to pat yourself on the back every once and a while. Acknowledge and celebrate the mini successes and reflect on your progress. When you pay off a TitleBucks loan, give yourself a high five. Celebrating your progress will help motivate you to stay the course.
4. Think About It
As you continue to self-assess along your financial journey, take a moment every so often to stop and think about your life values, too. Compare your goals and values with your financial reality and see how well these three important things line up. It is fairly probably that some adjustments might need to happen in your habits or your expectations.
5. This One’s Not Going to Be Popular
Sometimes, the simple answer to many financial dilemmas is to exercise more self control. Practicing self control in small ways by packing your lunches for work or resisting the urge to swing through Starbucks might feel difficult. But learning to appreciate delayed gratification will come in handy sooner and later.
Making new financial choices and creating a healthy budget will take time, energy, focus and sacrifice. While learning these principles will be a lifelong process, they will dramatically impact both your life now and your financial future.