Note: This article was included in The Carnival of Personal Finance #145 – Online Broker Tips Edition at Stock Trading To go.
Who do you know that is a financial success? Everyone knows or has read about someone who has had his or her share of financial successes. What made them different? What drove them to succeed? What financial secrets did they have that you don’t? What special key did they have to unlock the door to financial success?
There are no secrets save ONE. Financial success can come to anyone who master’s this one key. If you can develop this key area in your life, not only will you have financial success, but you will enjoy success in other areas as well. Okay, what is the key to financial success?
Before you click the Stumble button or the “X” in the top right hand corner, think about this: only one character trait stands between you and the financial success you . Only one. If you can master just a little bit of this one trait, you can make a real difference in your own life. You don’t have to become a monk, or some hermit living in the mountains to have self control. All you really need is to develop a financial goal and an idea of how to get there. Add in your small amount of self control and you’ll be on your way.
How do you develop financial self control? Here are —- steps to use to help you develop self control and start achieving the financial success you desire.
1. Make it automatic. Put your savings on auto pilot by having it automatically deducted before you even have the chance to spend that money. If your employer offers automatic 401k deductions. Sign up today. If your bank allows you to automatically transfer money into a savings or brokerage account, set it up today. Put your bills on auto pilot as well. By putting your money where it needs to go every pay period, you’ll avoid the temptation to spend what appears to be discretionary income but actually isn’t.
2. Identify and deal with the emotions that frequently cause you to lose financial self control. Those emotions could be anger, fear, guilt, boredom, jealousy, impatience, or dissatisfaction. Do you remember having very little as a child? Do you buy something nice for yourself when you feel stressed? Once you learn to deal with these emotions in a mature manner, you can begin to control them, but first you have to identify those negative emotions.
3. What patterns of your life cause you to lose your financial self control. Do you frequently overspend at Christmas? Do you always have an over the top cookout on Independence Day? Do you feel the need to buy a gift every time you return from a business trip? Alter your behavior so that you’re able to overcome these patterns. Start a Christmas Club at your bank, budget all year for that cookout or change it to a potluck, write a meaningful letter to your loved ones on your next plane ride home. You will have to break the pattern.
4. Act. Take some action right now that runs counter to your lack of self control. Maybe it’s setting up and funding an online savings account. Maybe it’s going to an online broker and starting the process of opening a Roth IRA. Maybe it’s starting an investment club. Maybe it’s calling your credit card company or cable company and asking for a rate reduction. Maybe it’s starting a rule to wait 3 hours for every $10 something costs. If a new sweater costs $70, you have to wait 21 hours before you buy it. The way to develop self control is to start right now…right now and with every decision you make going forward.
5. Cherish and relish the feeling you get when you take action. Enjoy the feeling of accomplishment. Firmly implant it into your mind. The next time you’re tempted to procrastinate or fall off your self control wagon, take a moment and remember how good it felt to actually get something done using your own self control.
The richest people in history didn’t all get that way because it was handed to them. They achieved their great successes because they were able to muster self control. They controlled their spending. They controlled their emotions. They controlled their money. Don’t tell me you don’t have any self control…you made it to the end of this post. What you have to do now is exercise your self control and make it stronger.
Note: Steve with brip blap wrote a terrific article on Self Discipline that should be on EVERYONE’S reading list.