Here is the hard truth that many financial planners and "experts" won't admit. Saving money can be hard. You may have heard it, but truly understanding it may help you. You may be wondering how can I save, when I can barely pay my bills? Your reality will be different than mine, and my reality will be different from Suze Orman's below. I'm sure her reality is different than Dave Ramsey's. Even Dave Ramsey's will be different than Warren Buffett's. So, you have to ask yourself the question that only you know.
What keeps you up at night? What one financial goal do you really want to achieve? Only you know; but know this. You can.
I know it can be hard to know where to start in building financial security. You want to do what is best, but oftentimes it’s hard to figure out what is best. Paying off debts? Building an emergency cash stash? Saving for retirement? Looking into long-term care insurance? Talking to your teenagers about why you can’t write them a blank check for college?
Ultimately, you will want to tackle every item on your financial security To Do list. But right now, the most important move you can make is to forget that list and focus on just one item.
What’s the one financial issue that keeps you up at night? What’s the one issue that if you were able to start “solving” it would make you feel smarter, stronger and more secure about your future?
Don’t edit yourself here. Don’t think about what you think you should say. Or what you think your family needs from you. I want you to focus on you, and only you.
That’s not selfish. That’s the first step in taking care of everyone! When you can start to make choices that alleviate your stress, you are in a far better place to be present and strong for those you love.
So let me ask again: What keeps you up at night?
Whatever you answered, is now your main financial priority.
I am not suggesting you can snap your fingers and have it “solved” in a day, or week, or month. But I can promise you two things:
• Doing nothing will only make you feel worse.
• Doing something—consistently—will make you feel so much stronger and secure.
That something could be finding an extra $10 or $50 a week to put toward a financial goal. That something could be stopping yourself before every purchase and asking yourself “is this a need or a want?? Do that consistently and you will find you have more money saved that can be redirected to whatever is keeping you up at night. That something could be committing to talking to your family honestly about money matters, and working together to make the right choices that build security for all of you.
I have long said that money has no power on its own. We give it power through our choices in how we spend and save our money. If there is a money issue keeping you up at night, I want you to dig deep and think what new choices, actions or strategies you can make and use to calm those anxieties. Follow through for a few weeks and you will be amazed at how effective you are. It may still be months or years until you have achieved your ultimate goal, but by knowing you are on a path toward financial security, you will feel so much better today. I bet you will sleep a lot better!
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