Got Good Financial Habits?

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Have you ever considered that your spending habits are a reflection who you are? And, who you will become?

Your future is molded by every dollar you earn and use. If you choose to use them wisely you can easily build a fortune. If you choose to waste them, you throw away a fortune that could have been.

Your habits reflect who you are!

The most important asset in your life is your time. The best ways to use that asset is 1) learning and 2) doing. When 90% of the people buy a TV and only 10% buy books… there are magical opportunities out there to become wildly more successful, if, you only choose to use your time more wisely. People are distracted and wasting their lives.

Robert Kiyosaki said, “Most people fail to realize that in life, it’s not how much you make. It’s how much money you keep.” The only way to keep more of your hard earned money is to develop a habit of saving. Managing your money differently than you have heretofore used it can profoundly change your life.

When I was trying to get out of debt I was paying extra on all of my debts but in a pretty even amount. It felt like I wasn’t making any progress and it was kind of a downer. I knew I needed to pay everything off but with a snail’s pace, I wasn’t excited. In an effort to kick it up I decided to follow Dave Ramsey’s baby step process and that made all of the difference.

By that point, I only had two outstanding debts. My student loan of $7,400 and my car loan of $8,600. I started paying the minimum on my car $100/m and $1,400 on my student loan. That is when the magic happened. After my first payment my student loan was $6,000, then $4,600 ( I skipped the $5,000s), then $3,200, then $1,800 (I skipped the $2,000s), then I owed only $400. It felt like magic.

In only 6 months that payment was gone. It took me 14 years to pay it down to $7,400 following the minimum payment path. What a relief to retire this loan. Then I hit my car payment hard. It was about the same. All my money went to paying it off and all of a sudden (less than 6 months later) it was gone and I was debt free. The psychology of the baby steps far outperforms any side issue of interest rate. In my opinion, anyone who wants to discuss “interest rate” as an argument for their plan they are fooled by the lies of advertising. It is motivating to see debt disappear.

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A funny thing happened while on this journey. I had to make major changes in my lifestyle to accomplish my debt payoff and while thus doing so I saw myself making these changes and I began to recognize other areas in my life that needed attention. I was motivated and began to change my bad habits that weren’t beneficial to myself and my family.

I developed a list of the habits of the wealthy and another of the habits of the poor. In this format, I was able to see where I was strong and where I was weak. I was tired of being weak. It wasn’t getting me anywhere. I eventually created the below graphic from my conclusions.

 

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One day, as I was driving with my son, I showed him this graphic and ask him to evaluate me on each of these points. He gave his opinion and I made some commentary, where I was and where I was going. We discussed his perception vs. what was really happening in my life. It turned out to be the best conversation I’ve ever had with him. It gave him an opportunity to discuss his perceptions and contrast their realities which is always a good way when considering any situation.

I learned that we tend to “blame technology or the economy or [our] boss [rather than ourselves for our problems]. Sadly, [we] fail to realize that [we] might be the problem.”(1) Our habits, good or bad, define who we are and what we will become. After I realized that I was the problem I was finally able to make the needed adjustments and set a more productive course in my life.

TIP: Never say, “I can’t afford it!” Rather say, “How can I afford it?” It changes your mindset from unengaged to fully engaged. When you are proactive you can find solutions. When you are reactive you create excuses and accomplish nothing.

I’ve learned that if you want to accomplish more in your life you need to take charge, set goals, use your time more wisely and be proactive and do things. Make checklists, check them off and keep them so you can see your progress over time. If you will do this I assure you-you’ll have learned the skills to be the change you want to see in the world.

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For additional articles on finance and other topics read The Internet Dark Ages blog.

(1) Robert Kiyosaki
Article 11 of 11

 

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