April is officially Financial Literacy Month--and before it comes to a close, we’re coming at you with 3 mental steps you can finish before May comes around.
Our first three steps are all in the mental arena--cut through the paralysis-by-analysis, improve your financial vocabulary, and pinpoint what your finances can do for you.
In our next Financial Literacy blog, we’ll cover three steps that are immediately doable--and will give you the confidence boost that you’re not just thinking about your finances, you’re creating them.
Your Three Mindset Steps:
1. Figure Out What “Rich” Will Buy You--Shoes & Vacations, Coffee & High-Rises?
Here’s a simple definition for rich: it’s the ability to afford what you actually want.
What do you actually want? Use our little sheet below to help you narrow down where you’d actually like to invest more of your money:
What's your top 3?
You may have discovered that you’re actually spending a lot of money on a cable package you don’t really use, or a large apartment that you don’t really spend any time in. Lots of things sound nice--but what’s nice to you is different, and can help you allocate moolah.
Bottom Line: Spending money on what actually makes you happy will not only help you feel rich, you’ll also be the definition of rich. (Bonus: You’ll spend less on stuff you could do without).
2. Use The 80-Something Rule--Not Just For Seniors
We call this the 80-Something Rule not because it only applies to octogenarians, but because it combines two of our favorite 80-something guidelines:
In the Age of Information, it’s easy (and all too common) to fall into paralysis-by-analysis. Financial Literacy: does that imply making an investment portfolio, or debt reduction, or picking a financial podcast? Which ones are worth our time? What if I don’t know anything about any of this?!
So we don’t pick anything.
But we forget: getting started is 85% of the way there. It’s not perfection. It’s not mastery. But it’s good enough, and it’s way better than 0%. You opened up a savings account? You checked your credit report? You saved $50? These three easy tasks have taken you light years away from 0%. And this blog will help you go further.
When it comes to going further, get cozy with the 80/20 principle. Did you know that research has found this phenomenon everywhere from allocation of resources to what personal activities actually make an impact on our lives?
In a nutshell, the 80/20 Principle states that 20% of your activities will result in 80% of your results.
So don’t expect that you have to be a full-time day trader or an experienced banker to make enough money for your ideal lifestyle. All these little things you are (or are about to start) doing will make up the largest percentage of your eventual results.
3. Create Positive Chatter--Or, A Mental Radio Station That Works For You
We don’t know what kind of background noise you deal with on a day-to-day basis, but we do know that we human beings have a tendency to anticipate negative outcomes and to worry over things we may or may not be able to control.
If you’re not ready to jump on a mindfulness or positive affirmation bandwagon, there is a simpler way to get yourself out of these poor mindsets:
And into these:
Simply put, start listening to audiobooks and podcasts. Try the self-help section. Listen to inspiring novels. Download biographies of people who lived the kind of life you want to live. We need these road maps to inform us that we’re not alone in our struggles and that, step by step, we can go further in life.
Looking for a free way to get started? Libby is a great (non-affiliated) app that allows you to borrow books and audiobooks through your local library system. All you need is the account number on your library card!
Here are our beginning book recommendations (again, no worries, all non-affiliate):
I Will Teach You To Be Rich - Ramit Sethi
Deep Work - Cal Newport
Matter: Move Beyond Competition, Create More Value - Peter Sheahan
Insurance Made Easy - Tony Steuer
Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk - Peter L. Bernstein
Bonus: One Easy, Quick Practical Step
We’ll cover more about investments, credit, and the surprising applications of insurance in our next Financial Literacy blog, but one painless step you can take today is requesting a free insurance quote.
Feel like you’re under-insured? Didn’t think you had any options outside of Open Enrollment? Waiting on retirement or dreading your 26th birthday? Here at Health Benefits Now, we’re well-versed in all the different situations and solutions that comes with our clients’ insurance needs.
So get started with a free quote today--we can’t wait to help you along your way!