Are you struggling with debt?
Trying to save money?
Sick of living paycheck to paycheck?
What if it was possible to take control of your finances in three months? What if you could shift, or “move the ball” to change your perspective on money and alter things for the rest of your life.
Like most challenges in life improving your finances is a journey, and sometimes the hardest part of any journey can be to just get started.
Maybe you have a whole bunch of credit card debt, a student loan, or maybe you’re just trying to save more money. Regardless, you’re probably fully aware of your situation and also understand that if you can change the picture, you will be much better off in the future.
But why is it hard to get out of debt and save money? Why is it hard to even get started with the whole process?
Most often it’s not because we don’t know any better or don’t have the ability to understand the mathematics behind money. Rather, it’s a function of how we view or perceive the whole process of getting out of debt.
If you’re struggling with your finances it can be an emotional roller coaster. Stress, anxiety, fear, frustration can lead to exhaustion – it can be a mental whirlwind. The negative emotions can have a serious impact on how we view our environment at any one time, how we view our reality.
In most cases, the reason we procrastinate and struggle to even get started with a plan. A plan that we know will help us improve our financial position, is because in addition to all the emotional baggage we are carrying, we spend too much time overthinking the process.
Overthinking our situation causes us to procrastinate and it typically comes in two forms.
Looking back is the process of continually beating ourselves up over and over again because of the debt or the situation we have put ourselves in. It’s always looking at the past. They say hindsight is 20/20 and nowhere is it more prominent than with our personal finances. In our mind we go through all of the “shouldn’t have” or “I wish” scenarios of how things would have been different if we would have just done things differently.
- I shouldn’t have purchased that 48” TV on my credit card.
- I shouldn’t be eating out as often.
- I wish I would have saved more of my tax refund.
Even if we can justify some of the reasons for our past decisions, we know we are the only ones we can hold accountable. Sometimes that just doesn’t feel very good. Not feeling good about the past keeps us stuck today.
- 11 Reasons to Save Money and Pay Off Debt,
- 3 Reasons You Should Budget Your Money
- The Time Value of Opportunity
Looking forward is the process of constantly evaluating our current environment and projecting into the future. – all the “what-if” scenarios. If the scenarios were always positive this perspective would not be an issue. However, most often as it relates to debt, it’s more negative than it is positive.
- If I could pay off my debt I wouldn’t be living paycheck to paycheck, but it’s going to take forever to pay off all this debt.
- If I didn’t have a student loan or car payment I could save more money.
- If I had a better job and made more money I wouldn’t be in this situation.
Inevitably as we cycle through all of the “what if” scenarios we become so exhausted that we may choose to not think about it at all, which of course doesn’t help our situation. Looking forward and the “what if” scenarios we create keep us from changing our future.
Beating ourselves up about the past, and procrastinating about the future creates a level of indecisiveness. Rather than doing something, or changing something – we do nothing. What’s that saying, “I use to be indecisive, but now I’m not sure”
Holding on to the past and worrying about the future, keeps you stuck.
Just Three Months
I am a huge proponent of trying anything and everything. (Except if it relates to heights, I have a fear of them) I believe that by trying new things we gain a true perspective on what is possible, and we learn something in the process. At the end of the day whether we like it or continue to follow whatever endeavor we choose is always up to us.
This is the primary reason when discussing personal finance with individuals in debt I recommend a three-month plan. I believe that once you start the process of creating a plan and then implementing it, the results you achieve in just three months will change your thinking. And inevitably your course of action regarding your personal finances.
Three months isn’t about paying off all your debt or saving $100,000 in your savings account. Three months is about getting out of the looking forward, looking back scenario and actually acting versus thinking about your financial situation. It’s about taking control for three months – three months that will eventually lead to a lifetime of financial success.
Of course, before you start you have to have a plan. A process to overcome the looking forward, looking back conundrum. Follow these steps to create your strategy.
- Create a Five-Year Plan – chart your course of where you want to be in five years.
- Establish an emergency fund – so you can avoid taking on more debt.
- Design a simple budget – so you know where your money is going.
- Leverage the Snowball Method to attack your debt and free up more money to save and stop living paycheck to paycheck.
Use these tools to create your own financial plan, and then stick with it for three months. I assure you once you start the process of taking control of your finances your perspective on your debt and saving money will change. You will no longer spend time in “what if” scenarios, rather you will begin charting your course to the future and the opportunities that lie ahead.
Try it – Just Three Months. Yes, You Can!
- Filling The Pig – In 4 Steps – understanding the debt trap and how to get out.
- FTP Workbook – free, printable workbook to create your complete get out of debt plan.
- Emotional Agility by Susan David, a great book on how to create change in small incremental steps.
- FTP Think Different About Your Money email course.
Do you spend time looking back or looking forward? Comment below.