Planning Your Financial Future
Have you heard the adage: “Money is power”? Ask yourself, if you have no money, how much power do you have? Without going into a deep philosophical discussion about money, let’s keep it simple, you need money for most things in life. Daily living expenses, vacation with your family, college for you or your children, happy hour with the girls and so on. Money impacts all of us and many of our decisions have an impact on our finances. Money allows us to take control of our futures, meet our needs and the needs of our families and communities, taking the power of our futures out of someone else’s hands. Money allows us to save, invest, plan for the future, break generational cycles of poverty, build generational wealth, and create legacy.
Most of us will agree that this is true however, some of us have a warped perspective when it comes to our finances. Finances is not a sexy topic and most of us have not been taught the importance of properly managing our finances and leveraging money as a tool to create wealth and achieve financial satisfaction. Let’s dive into the root cause and discuss some solutions.
Money is seldom the problem when someone experiences a money issue; it is merely a symptom to a much bigger issue. The true cause is generally rooted in 1 of 3 key areas:
If you have a perspective problem, you’ll most likely say things like: money is the root of all evil; money is not everything; money can’t buy me happiness; and some people care too much about money. While there is some truth in all of these statements, we all know that money is essential to a productive and abundant life and only those with perspective problems view it negatively. This group was probably raised by parents who shared the same perspective and have learned this in their lifetime.
If you have a people problem, you’ll most likely say things such as: my kids will be angry if I don’t buy them this; or I have to have this, everybody has one…it’s the trending thing right now. My friend will be angry if I don’t help. Or you might succumb to the YOLO comment one of your friends make. You know, you only live once said by someone giving you bad advice right before you make a bad decision that will have a lasting negative effect on some area of your life.
People and relationships are the common denominator in all of our lives. Some of our relationships are beneficial to our financial health and some of them are just devastating. Time to distance yourself from anyone not adding to your life and holding you accountable to transforming your financial future.
Lastly, a process problem. This is the easiest of the three to correct. This is simply not knowing what to do or where to start. Seek out knowledge and resources that will educate, empower, and hold you accountable to achieving the financial goals you establish for yourself.
So now that you’ve found yourself in one of the causes above, you’re asking: what can I do to change my current situation? Well, I’m glad you asked. Not all money struggles are created equal therefore, there is no “one size fits all” solution. I’ll provide a set of suggestions for three different scenarios:
Women living in a deficit – women in this bucket get paid, your paycheck is not enough to cover your basic and essential needs. You don’t have enough to tie you over until your next pay. You find yourself getting a payday loan or a loan from a friend or family member just to make it to the next pay. You are living to work, pay bills to work again.
Create a budget. This will allow you to establish a plan for getting out of the vicious cycle. Cut all unnecessary spending until you’ve stabilized your financial situation.
Consider upskill and starting a new career to increase your earning potential.
Start a business or side hustle to create another stream of income.
Take on a part time job to help eliminate some debt and assist with paying bills.
Women living from paycheck to paycheck – women in this bucket are one paycheck away from category one – living in a deficit. If you are in this category, you have one of two issues. You are not making enough money, or you are spending too much money. If you have more essential bills than your paycheck, you are not making enough money. If you have more non-essential bills and purchases than essential bills, you are spending too much. My advice, in addition to creating a real budget and creating other streams of income, would be to:
Rid yourself of non-essential expenses until you can save $1000 emergency fund, 3 to 6 months rainy fund and start investing some cash
Establish clear financial goals and begin working to achieve those goals
Connect with an accountability partner that will hold you accountable to achieving your goals
Women living in a surplus – if you are a woman living in surplus, you are well on your way to achieving financial freedoms and creating generational wealth. My advice to you would be to institute your fantastic five: Business banker, financial advisor, accountant, attorney, insurance broker. Look to do the following:
Invest in the stock market
Invest in real estate
Start a business or side hustle (consider a franchise)
Acquire life insurance with the sole purpose of transferring wealth
Teach your children about personal finances
Begin preparing for their college
Significantly increase your savings for retirement
As we are cleaning our closets and getting rid of stuff that we don’t need and no longer serve us, we should take time to clean our financial closets and get rid of perspectives and people that no longer serve us, clear our financial lives from the clutter that is blocking us from achieving financial freedoms and organizing our finances for success.
Financial literacy transcends beyond your education status, your race, sexual orientation, gender, or any other divide you can think of. It impacts us all. You must have the desire, determination, and commitment to seek out the knowledge and more importantly, be willing to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve your goals. It’s time to start putting financial security before swag, financial peace before possessions and financial futures before flashiness!
On the other side of fear is greatness. Each of us has greatness within us. There is nothing unique about me other than my desire to achieve financial success and the effort I put toward it. You have what it takes. Start now… it’s never too late.