Lessons from a Straight Road

Straight Road

Will this straight road continue forever in the same direction? No one would say yes to that question and yet, many people might think, “Since mutual fund XYZ has returned 16 percent annually over the last five years, I’ll use those numbers to plan my finances over the next 10 years.” Or “My boss ALWAYS overlooks my accomplishments.” Or “I just can’t help it. When I go to the mall I just have to buy something.” They think the road never turns, that things will always stay the same. That’s a tragic mistake called “linear thinking” and it believes nothing will ever change.

A straight road never stays straight.

YOU can change your personal financial situation but YOU have to change it. No one else is going to change it and you’re not going to win the lottery.

Here are 7 things you can do next week to improve your finances, changing them (and yourself) for the better:

1. Go to What’s The Cost? and calculate exactly how long it will take to get yourself out of debt…then take action by building good habits and paying off that debt.

2. Commit yourself to reading one book per month. Start with The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness.

3. Decide that you improve your finances by spending less than you earn and that you will establish and stick to a system of personal accountability. Do it THIS week. Before next Friday.

4. Seek ways to earn extra money, then use those funds to either pay down debt, or invest in your future.

5. Review your current situation. Examine your life insurance, your health insurance, and your tax with-holdings. If you received back your own money in a tax “refund” this year from Uncle Sam, make adjustments to scale back what is being withheld (check with a tax advisor). Use that money to fund your savings, your emergency fund, or your retirement. Don’t blow the money.

6. If you experience a windfall, don’t make a decision on what to do with it until you have had some time to think.

7. Establish your payment calendar and build good credit habits by catching everything up next week. If you don’t have the cash to get completely caught up with your minimum credit payments, sell something, anything to force yourself into a corner and get caught up.

The key is to live a life of intention. Everything that happens, does so because you made it happen. Far too often we poor mouth and complain that our lives are out of our control. But when we really look deep inside ourselves, we’ll see that everything that happens, doesn’t happen TO us, it happens BECAUSE of us. Nothing continues in a linear path, nothing. Life is always changing and adapting.

The exciting news is that since you can change the road you’re on simply by making wiser and better choices, your future is just waiting on you.

[tags]lessons, road, personal finance, money management, how do I improve my finances, change my life[/tags]

Photo Credit: ME!

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