According to a CFSI survey, 17% of Americans are “financially vulnerable,” meaning they struggle with nearly all financial aspects of their lives, and 55% are “financially coping,” meaning they struggle with some but not all aspects of their financial lives. That means that over half of our country is not quite happy with how things are going in their finances.
I wish these statistics were shocking. With student loan debt at its highest, the ease of seeing what other people have, and the increased “YOLO” mentality, it makes sense why people aren’t happy with their financial situation. The good news? There’s always time to do something about it! You can have it all financially, no matter what that looks like for you.
You don’t have to struggle with your finances, regardless of how you were (or weren’t) taught to manage your money. I’m walking you through the steps to take so you can have it all financially, and some.
What Does Having It All Financially Look Like?
Before I walk you through the steps to take to have peace in your financials, you need to understand what having it all means to you. Everyone’s definition of financial freedom and stability looks different. That’s perfectly fine. You need to think about what it means to you. There are a few basics that everyone should have, before they can really pinpoint what having it all financially means to them.
At a minimum, having it all financially means:
- Food on the table
- Roof over your head
- Bills paid on time (never late)
- Saving money regularly
- Living a debt free life
This is the minimum “have it all” list. Anything above and beyond the minimums listed above will be determined by the individual. Take some time to think about what financial freedom means to you. When you know what it looks like, you can start working to get there.
Here’s How You Can Have It All Financially
#1 – Determine what “having it all” looks like for you
As I stated above, you can’t have it all financially until you know what “having it all” looks like for you. Give yourself some uninterrupted time to think about what you want most out of life. Think about what you’d like to do, see, accomplish, and have before you are no longer here. How much money will be needed for that list?
Don’t worry about where you currently are, just think about what you want out of life. Feel free to dream as big as you’d like. This is your financial “wish list”. Write all of these things down. You’ll never want to lose sight of that end result.
#2 – Assess your current situation
Now that you know what you want and what financial means it will take to get you there, it’s time to look at your current situation. We need to understand exactly what you’re working with, so we know how much work we have in store. If you are familiar with your net worth, then you may have an idea of where you currently stand.
If you don’t know your net worth, let’s start from the beginning. Make a list of all the things you own, or money in your accounts. These will be your assets. This would include things like property, retirement account balances, expensive jewelry, stocks, bonds, or anything else of value.
Next, make a list of everything you owe. List out all of your debt, including the balance and types of debt. If you owe people money, make sure you include that amount on the list. Do your assets have a greater value than your debt? If not, you have a negative net worth. 😱 Don’t panic though! This is more common than you think.
Finally, think about how many items you already have on the minimum “have it all” list above. If you are missing the top 3, that should be your main focus.
#3 – Create a plan to focus on the most pressing goals
When you know where you stand, you have an idea of how you can move forward. If you already have the top 3 items on the “have it all” list above, focus on the second 2 bullets. This is where most people find themselves.
Before you dive into paying off debt aggressively, you’ll want to make sure you have an emergency fund in place. It doesn’t have to be a large emergency fund. It just has to be enough to cover you financially in case something was to happen. The goal is to not have to use debt to cover an emergency.
Once you have your emergency fund in place, you can start working on paying off your debt. You will want to put as much money towards your debt as possible. Once you pay off your debt, work towards the next goal, then the next goal, then the next goal. You will want to keep working towards the items on your “have it all” list. One by one.
#4 – Be ready and willing to make sacrifices
Before, during and after you knock items on your list, remember that you must make sacrifices along the way. Nothing worth having comes easy, so if you really want to have it all financially, you’re going to have to work for it. You’re going to have to say “no” to the things you want, so you can say “yes” to the things you need.
Have the conversation with yourself each time you start out on a new goal. Remind yourself that you are willing to make sacrifices and keep your eyes on the prize. You are fully in control, so consistently keep telling yourself that.
#5 – Keep fighting through, even when things come up
Nothing EVER goes 100% as planned. Understand that things will come up to throw you for a loop or slow your progress. That doesn’t mean that you can’t bounce back and keep pushing through. Regardless of what happens to slow your progress, keep fighting. Things never work out just perfectly, so accept setbacks when they come. Learn from them. Then, put a plan in place to ensure they don’t impact you as hard the next time.
Some setbacks come in the form of demotivation. These can be the hardest setbacks to fight through. Keeping your eyes on the end result can help when you’re feeling defeated. Create a vision board with all of the things you want. Set a reminder on your phone that each day you’re closer to your beach house. Work with a finance coach to stay focused. Have an accountability partner to bounce feelings off of. Put yourself in a position to succeed!
#6 – Recognize when it’s time to invest in your financial growth
As you work towards having it all financially, keep a note of your progress (or lack thereof). If you’ve been grinding for some time with nothing to show for it, it may be time to invest in your financial growth. Sometimes, learning from someone who has been where you are or is where you want to be can be the best way to propel you forward.
Don’t be afraid to invest in your future growth and success. It may seem like more time and money going out upfront, but the returns come after you do the work. Remember…nothing worth having comes easy. You must be willing to invest in your success. No one will care more about your success than you do!
#7 – Stay the course
Finally, stay the course. If you are seeing progress in your situation, then keep going through the motions. And, it will feel like going through the motions. That’s okay. Fight through it. The more progress you start to see, the more excited you will be to keep going. You are worthy of having everything you desire. You just have to work for it!
Need help getting all you can out of your finances? Schedule a free consultation with me and let's get you to a great place in your finances!
Related: 10 Steps to Financial Freedom
No matter what financial freedom looks like for you, you can achieve it if you’re willing to work for it! The steps above will help you as you map out your plan for achieving your dream life. Are you currently working towards financial freedom? What are some of the things you want most out of life? Post a comment below to share and put it out into the universe!
The CGS Team