A Fresh Financial Start
"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for; we are the change that we seek." US President Barack Obama
Many people experience a sense of desperation when they think about their finances; past failures and present frustrations leave them feeling powerless about their financial future. With expenses increasing steadily, salaries depreciating with the dollar, and debt spiralling out of control, it's no wonder so many persons are in distress.
Even if you are unhappy with your money history, it is very possible to "wheel and come again" as we say in Jamaica. Getting a fresh start with your finances begins with admitting your dissatisfaction with your situation and accepting that you may have made mistakes over the years which cost you dearly.
Once you have examined your past and present concerns, you need to decide that it's time for a new beginning. As the quote from President Obama declares, change starts within; there is no one else out there who is going to miraculously fix your problems for you. Changing old habits can be challenging, so you have to be committed to continue with the course until complete.
It's not hard to cultivate good money habits, once you learn the right actions to take. Last week, I started outlining a step-by-step process that can help direct you toward a more prosperous outcome. To recap - imagine that achieving financial success was like building a house. What are some of the things you would have to do to create a solid, secure structure?
Creating your financial house
In any construction project, the first phase is to create the design for the building. Similarly, to build your financial house, you must first be clear about your dreams and goals. Clarity and enthusiasm about the things you want to accomplish will propel you to carry out the required activities to make a turnaround in your life.
To create an edifice that can withstand major disasters and the ravages of time, a builder will ensure that the foundation is very strong. When it comes to money, you must also create a solid base by budgeting to make the right choices with your spending dollar. A proper budget allows you to be aware of and prioritise all your expenses over the course of a year.
Even the most elaborate building can only be completed one brick or panel at a time. If the contractor does not have enough raw material for the job, the project will remain unfinished; and if you cannot generate sufficient income, your goals will seem impossible to attain. Creating extra-income sources which generate more 'building blocks' is a vital step in your own plan.
Raising the structure
Continuing our house-building analogy, the next phase would be to frame out the spaces for the rooms. The bigger the building, the more time would be spent on creating the framework. With your financial house, saving is the process that will support the structure and determine its final size. Consistent, disciplined saving over time gives your house shape and strength.
A builder tries to protect his construction from elements that weaken the framework such as salt water or termites. One of the most devastating factors that could eat away at your financial house is unnecessary debt. Borrowing money to pay for budget shortfalls or consumer purchases will erode your framework and eventually destroy your foundation.
If the building is a large mansion or towering skyscraper, additional structural support may be required. Similarly, if you need a lot of money to satisfy your desired lifestyle, you must develop your expertise in wealth creation. To supersize your earnings, get involved in wise investment options, sustainable business systems and passive income opportunities.
Building for the long term
It is necessary to protect the ongoing construction from elements that could destroy it; your financial house will also be susceptible if you don't shelter it. To safeguard your money, you need to have the security of adequate life and health insurance and protection for your property. You should also avoid taking careless investing risks that could deplete your wealth.
To establish an edifice that will last for generations, the builder should make provisions for future developments. One of your financial requirements is a long-term retirement plan that will supply ample income, which can withstand the impact of inflation in your later years. Estate planning is also necessary to maintain your assets beyond your lifetime.
Once the building is completed, the owners should carry out periodic assessments on the structure to make certain that it continues to be sound. With your own financial house, seek expert assistance from knowledgeable investment consultants, tax professionals, and legal advisors who can help you to preserve your wealth for the long term.
Cherryl is a money coach, business mentor and founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services. Her upcoming book, "The 3 Ms of Money" will reveal all the secrets she learned about financial success. Read more on money and business matters at www.financiallysmartadvice.com and www.entrepreneursinjamaica.com. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.