“Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the “gotta have it” scale.” Zig Ziglar
Money ranks high up in the priority list of basic necessities. It’s vacuum can spell catastrophe. This post is not about its excessive preoccupation, but about not disregarding the importance of money; contrary to the thought of infinite write ups available, which propose that the intent is supreme. If there is no commercial viability, the idea dies its own death, and so does the intent.
Money is important, and the earlier we learn it, the better it would for us to respect it and put it to good use.
Rule no.1 that would be universally true is that managing money, is a function of behavior and not statistics, budget or maths. This would be the most fundamental change that you would have to make. Behavior mandates that you strictly have few guideline rules for yourself, such as the one that I follow, inspired by Mr. Dave Ramsey: no debt. This is the rule that you would live or die for. Therefore, if it means junking your credit card, do be it. If it means carrying more cash in hand, I would do so. There should be one guiding principle for this behavior which is sacrosanct.
I have seen that you fundamentally need a shake-up if you want to change to a new habit or change behavior; easily would be the most difficult job in the world. I would not wake up on one side of the bed one day and find myself to be a changed person. There are rigors to be followed to instill this discipline. The benchmark is 66 days, which is the essence of my 66 days rigor. Changes at fundamental level change the lifestyle, which one should be ready for. This is on an average, however may take more or less depending on individuals.
Rule no.2 is that you should be able to know where your money is going. Mr. Dave Ramsey proposes budgeting as a great way to achieve this. He has been fanatical about budget, so much so that he takes this as a counseling tactics to get husband and wife on the same plane. And that is true, improper financial planning is reason no.1 for the couple to separate. And if they are aligned, it will restore understanding and financial success. Again, this is a function of behavior, where the husband and wife need to be transparent to each other, get committed and follow the budget. Budgeting also gives the picture, where the money is going and therefore your ability to control it. I would recommend that you also keep and expense tracking app and note the tiniest of spends that you are incurring. I feel that not just us, such deep discipline should be inculcated in our children as well. A good financial well being amounts to success and confidence.
Rule no.3 are goals, therefore one should have a set of goals. The most important goal is to save. Starting with at least 20% of your income and depending on your expenses. But by and large the thumb rule for saving should be 20%. This should be going first from your income to any instrument of your choice. And then one should put in the expenses, starting with the most essential ones to the least. Such as you would want to mandate are Food, House (rent) and maintenance essentials such as electricity, water etc. Mr. Ramsey proposes baby steps, which I would highly recommend, no matter in which part of the world you are in. His process are unique and if you follow them, you can expect results. The other part of the goals are life ambitions and essentials such as buying a house, kids education.
Rule no.4 is not to be emotional in making a financial decision. Impulsive decisions are recipe for disaster. You are much better off delaying gratification, thinking more about it, discussion with your spouse before making the decision. This is hard exercise, especially when it concerns the loved one, your kids or an immediate family. One needs to very rational in money matters.
Lastly, Rule no.5 is continuity. Like any other habit, if one leaves any of the plan midway, you will not get the benefits. Continuity in the long run multiplies and compounds and gives you superior results. This is the real key to financial success to be regular with your belief and practices. It would definitely require rigor.
Money requires a hard taskmaster to manage it.
I hope that you start your financial/money management behavior when you finish reading. And when you would look back, you may reflect this as the most important step that you would have taken towards securing success.
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