Driving in your Financial Lane

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Road with Dollar sign at a distance

Many people are fascinated by the idea of being ‘rich’ or to a lesser extent, financially stable. However, what is being done to achieve this goal? Is it possible? and what can be done?

Wealth is measured relative to an individual’s current financial status, how they live relative to their income and what he or she believes is wealth. Example: A and B are two persons earning the same amount of money per month, but, the obligations A could be significantly more than B, hence, B having more disposable income would, therefore, be classified as being wealthier than A.

Yes, we do know that with the state that the economy is in and the constant rise in prices of products that are essential to everyday living, it is very hard to set aside money for the future. However, it needs to be done!

Knowing the priorities in your life and setting financial goals are key factors in financial success. When I say priorities, I mean, living within your means and not allowing how other person’s lives look, or what they do, to influence how and what you spend your money on. A lot of persons put on a façade, “flossing” money without hesitation, allowing outsiders looking in, to think they are wealthy and thus wanting to match up to them so they aren’t being called “lame”. What will be “lame” is when your monthly bills come in and you cannot afford to pay them, or when your child is ready to go to school and you are unable to pay their school fee much less give them lunch money. Where will those persons be to help you? You need to help yourself!

I’ve found that the more you are secure within yourself and what you want out of life, the less you have to prove to persons and can then build yourself quietly.

Every individual has to mentally condition their minds to save. If you are the type of person that is not disciplined enough to see and not touch, here are a few pointers for you.

  • Have separate savings account from your current account so that you can transfer money into.
  • Get a savings pan that cannot be opened unless full.
  • Give your money to a trustworthy person to hold until needed.

Personally, I allocate a specific amount of money to be used for a particular day, depending on my activities. If I end up using it all, (which is never the aim) then fine, however, if I don’t, I would then drop any extra there is, even if it’s $5, into my savings pan.

Making a conscious effort to be able to say no to yourself is most important. You see a nice shirt you want to add to your closet? A new pair of shoes that catches your eye? You need to ask yourself if it is necessary to get that at that very moment. I am of course not saying no one should treat themselves because everyone works hard, so treating yourself is necessary, but when and how often is the question. Some persons will be able to treat themselves more often than others but a good tip to this is if you do really want the shirt and it costs $2000, put down $1000 per month and at the end of two months you would be able to buy that shirt. The aim, however, is to be able to buy what you want, how much you want and when you want it, of course with also being able to satisfy your obligations.
It is very important to know yourself and what you are able and unable to do. However, it would not be wise to put all your eggs in one basket. The majority of the wealthiest persons in the world or specifically Jamaica, have different streams of income. Therefore, investing in stocks and bonds, real estate, opening your own business, spending wisely or even savings, aids in how comfortable you feel about your financial security.
Of course, everyone has different levels of income, responsibilities, and goals, but no matter the amount, make an effort to save a percentage or a fixed amount of your income every month for emergencies or just future plans. It is better to put down money in small portions to mitigate the impact it has on your pocket than to take a big chunk out of your pay in one go. Depending on your financial status and availability of startup funds, investing or starting a business will not be easy, the benefits may not come quickly but once there is persistence, you will see your wealth grow. Risks and sacrifices have to be made for everything in life but the more you put your mind to achieving something, the easier it gets even with failure. Failing means to try a different strategy or simply try harder. Step out of your comfort zone and always tell yourself that you can be where you want to be financially. Life is about making mistakes and picking yourself back up from it and then keep pushing. However, one mistake you don’t want to make is to never make that next step in securing your future. No one wants to be living pay cheque to pay cheque. Everyone wants to be able to do the things they love while tackling the things they must do, so everyone needs to take that next step and put aside fear and negative thoughts so that their tree may bear fruit. You do not have to start big but start somewhere. Start small and keep growing.