Are you a slave to money?
Do you wish you had more money, maybe just a little bit more at the end of the month? Does it seem your money has a mind of its own and magically disappears before the end of the month? Do you believe money controls you instead of the other way around? And do you think having more money is the key solution?
If these questions sound familiar, you are not alone.
Being a financial coach I have come across many people who eagerly want to earn more money because they think that will solve their entire money problem.
The reality is very different.
The financial struggle has nothing to do with the amount of money you earn. It has in fact nothing to do with how much money comes in every month. A lot of people think “if I only made more money” or “ if I could only win the lottery” all my financial problems would disappear. If you take the latter group (lottery winners), many studies have shown that a significant percentage of lottery winners go broke within a couple of years. So if the amount of money is not the issue what is it then and how can you take control of your money?
Let’s do a test
Place a small bowl of M&Ms (or your sweet addiction of choice) right within reach. Leave it there all day and then count how many you ate. Think you were testing your self-control? Now try putting a large bowl in the same place. I’d venture to guess you’ll end the day with as few left at the bottom as when you started out with less.
Indeed, it’s hard to stop when it seems like you’re hardly making a dent. That’s because we tend to adjust our consumption based on what’s available to us – and we aren’t just talking about your sweet addiction. Many people treat money the very same way.
What’s the real challenge?
The real issue for many people is how they manage their money. Your ability to manage your money properly tells a great deal about your relationship with money and your money thermostat. In a recent study amongst millionaires, it was found that one of their key success factors in acquiring & growing their wealth was the fact that they actively managed their money. It wasn’t the amount of money which was important but the fact that they could keep their money and make it grow. Like with the bowl of sweets in the test mentioned before, it can be very easy to have a lot and also spent a lot that will leave you in the end with little. So your ability to keep, manage and make your money grow is what will make all the difference.
But how do you do that? What is the secret to properly manage your money and not be a slave to it? One of the essential ingredients in money management is to start by building a relationship with your money. Creating money habits & attitudes that support you and help you increase your wealth, this is the most pivotal part of managing your money. A lot of people start with complicated budgets or ingeniously build Excel overviews or apps. However, after a few weeks life takes over, and the budgets and overviews disappear or are left gathering dust.
So how do you become the master of your money?
Before you start with budgets or any financial plan, it is most important to figure out for yourself WHY you want to have (more) money.
A lot of people think that to have a financial secure and problem-free life they need to be millionaires. However, as stated at the beginning: having more money is not the key. What is important is first to start with finding out
I would like to encourage you to make a list for your purpose for money by answering the following questions:
- What are the things you would like to do?
- What are the things you would like to buy?
- What are the things you would like to experience?
- Why would you like to do/buy/experience these things?
- How would doing/buying/experiencing those things make you feel?
- By when do you want to do/buy/experience those things?
- Choose the three most important ones you want to focus on the coming months.
- Make them time bound, for instance, to be accomplished by the end of the year. Don’t make the time span too long because you might fall into the “postponing” modus. So three to six months is a good timeframe to stretch yourself.
Make this list visual in the form of a vision board or a list, and place it somewhere you can see it every day. If a new car is on your list, go make a test drive and take a picture of you sitting in that car. If it is your family, make sure you include pictures of you and your family doing the things you would love to do if you had the time/money.
Once you attuned to what your purpose for money is, your next step is to
by the set date
“If you do not know where you are going to,
every road will take you there”
The Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland
By now you know
- 1) your purpose for your money
- 2) how much money you need for this/these purpose(s) you want to accomplish between now and three to six months.
Time for the serious fun to start. Start building your financial plan.
The third step is to
Challenge yourself (or together with your partner) to cut down on your “nice to haves”. Every euro saved there can be used to help you accomplish your purpose for money. When it comes down to categorizing your expenses into the two groups mentioned above what for you might be a “need to have” might be a “nice to have” for someone else. That is perfectly fine. It is your financial plan; it’s about what is important to you.
If you are an entrepreneur, your next step is to calculate how many products/services you need to sell to cover all your expenses AND save for your purpose for money. I have noticed that this part can be very confronting. You might grasp that the way you are currently doing business will not lead to you realizing your purpose for money. You might need to increase your prices/ find more clients or change your business model entirely. A very crucial moment. Do you choose to continue the same path or do you choose to stretch yourself to accomplish your purpose for money? Also a very crucial moment but for employees: you might realize that your current salary is not enough. For you the question arises as well: what to do? Ask for a raise, switch jobs?
The decision you make will significantly influence the success of your financial plan as it will only work when you fully commit to realizing your purpose for money.
Once you’ve made the decision to fully commit to your purpose for money, it’s a matter of working out your plan step by step.
To help you out with this step, I have created a very easy to follow financial success plan that you can download for free at wealthyandhealthylife.com
“Make a plan, work your plan or plan to fail”
The fourth and final step is, in my opinion, the most important component of becoming the master of your money:
Every individual is unique and has his/her money habits and attitudes. We all deal with money differently. Some of us are spenders; some are real savers and others avoid the subject of money altogether. It is therefore of essenceto find out what your habits and attitudes are relating to money. I call this your money type.
If you want to know what your current habits and attitudes are relating to the money you can do the test on wealthyandhealthylife.com and get specific tips for your money type.
There are also some universal money habits that can greatly help you take control of your money:
- Have a purpose for your money & include your family/children. For instance when your purpose for money is to go on a vacation with your family, have a visible saving jar at home where you invite your family/kids to help save for the vacation. Make it a family purpose & ask them to come up with ideas how to save enough money for the vacation. You can be surprised at how creative children are, and it sets a good example for later.
- Pay more in cash. It is easier to spend more money when the only thing we need to do is swipe our debit card through a machine.
- Work with budgets. Set for yourself, for instance, a budget for the monthly groceries and stick to it. You can get the money in cash once a month and put in a jar (necessity jar) and only use this money for groceries.
- Share your purpose for money with friends & family
- Avoid credits/debts. If you do not have it now in cash, learn to save for it.
- Pay yourself first. It is important to learn to enjoy the money. When money comes in, make sure you pay yourself first in the form of doing something nice for yourself or putting it aside for your purpose. I usually use 5% of the money that comes in to treat myself to something nice and 5% to save for my purpose for money.
- Educate yourself financially
- Pay off your debts.
So to summarize
To master the game of money and take control of it, I would like to encourage you to try out the four steps mentioned above. They have not only resulted in amazing results in my life but also in the lives of my clients.
- Have a purpose for money & make it time bound & visible
- Calculate exactly how much money you need for your purpose for money
- Have clarity on your monthly income & expenses & make a financial plan that includes your purpose for money
- Create & incorporate healthy money habits & attitudes
Sandra is a Financial Consultant, Coach and trainer with a Master's degree in Finance & Accounting from Nyenrode Business University. As a Financial Consultant, she has worked for and advised many big organizations in the Netherlands such as the Dutch Railways (Nederlandse Spoorwegen), Port of Rotterdam (Havenbedrijf Rotterdam), Deloitte and Telfort.
In 2014, she co-founded Money-Matters to help raise the financial literacy among entrepreneurs. As a coach and trainer, she has helped many entrepreneurs on their road to financial independence. Her personal mission is to educate & empower entrepreneurs with financial knowledge that leads to real results. "I truly believe that financial wisdom leads to success. True financial literacy is what will allow us to pursue our biggest dreams."
Visite her site at wealthyandhealthylife.com.
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