How taking responsibility for your own finances can start today
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I was doing an interview recently for a major publication when they asked me why I thought women weren't able to get ahead financially. They gave me some examples like the costs of living being too high in Australia, and it really got me thinking about the trap we can often fall into of blaming outside factors as the reason we are not getting ahead. This can apply to many areas of our lives (think health, fitness, weight loss) however is a particularly common mindset when it comes to making excuses for why we haven't achieved what we set out to financially.
Of course there will always be situations that are beyond our control, that can send our finances (or any other area of our lives) into a tailspin, however for the most part if we are disciplined, organised and accept full responsibility for our own individual outcomes, even the unexpected can be well managed.
I believe anyone can achieve financial freedom for themselves (and what that means to each of us is completely different) if we adopt a new approach to the way we view our finances.
Firstly, accept full responsibility for the management of your finances. Accept where you are now and acknowledge that today is the first day of the rest of your life. I know it sounds corny! But really, it's true. The past is irrelevant if you start creating the future from today. Being in control of your money, knowing what is coming in, what is going out and making a plan for how you use the surplus to build your own financial freedom, are the keys to accepting full responsibility for your finances. Save your own emergency fund instead of using credit cards, and roughly keep track of what you are spending you money on so you know where it's all going.
Secondly, you will need to be organised when it comes to the management of your money. Of course this area of your life will just plod along if you're not giving it the time and attention it deserves. So, set aside some time to establish all of those direct debits you need to, ensure bills are paid on time to avoid late fees and make sure you are meeting your mortgage repayments and regularly contributing to any investments you are building each and every month.
And finally, learn to be disciplined. Routine and discipline are what will get you ahead of the rest when it comes to reaching your goals. We all know that achieving any goal is really just a series of steps that need to be completed and repeated until we reach our end point. Personal financial management is just the same. You must stick to your plan if you wish to reach your goals, there are no two ways about it, the numbers just won't stack up otherwise. If you indulge in a splurge when you can't afford to, something you are working towards will eventually be sacrificed, so stick to your plan and you will achieve financial freedom.
If we all take responsibility for our own money, be organised about how we manage it, and establish routine and discipline, the sky really is the limit. If there is one thing I've learnt over my many years working as a financial adviser it is that it's really not what your earn that determines your success, it's what you do with the money you do earn that matters.
Build it slowly.
Disclaimer: Please note this article is of a general nature and should be used for informational and educational interest purposes only. Please seek professional advice before making any decisions in relation to your own personal circumstances.