Struggling to Find the Right Direction
Budgeting, saving, investing, getting a good deal, minimizing risk, and paying off debt are all big pieces to your personal finance puzzle. Together they help paint part of a picture where you are today. They are all good and should be on our to-do (or doing) list, right? But how often do you stop and think about where you are headed?
In the muddy waters of today, we tend to lose sight of the grander vision. The horizon becomes blurry and we're not sure if we're even headed in the right direction anymore.
We were caught in that mess a few years ago. Spending all that we had, but just barely treading water. We had good paying jobs and nothing to show for it. Hardly any savings, and a bunch of debt.
The solution for us came in a two-part formula: Create a plan, and follow the plan.
Sounds simpler than it really is...
Creating a Plan
We couldn't create a plan, because we didn't know how. We were paralyzed because we didn't know where we were going or what we should be doing. We were lost and didn't' know which way was North. We not only needed a map, but we needed a compass to get us pointed in the right direction.
We felt terrible about how we had been spending our money, and wanted to find a way out of the financial mess we had created. We were sick and tired of living paycheck to paycheck, and with good paying jobs, still not being able to do the things we wanted to do without putting it on a credit card and hoping for the best when the bill came.
It was frustrating, crippling, and exhausting living that way. So, after taking a class on how to handle money, we finally had some guidelines and a roadmap to start implementing.
Being able to break down the process into small bite-sized steps was key in both getting started, and seeing progress right away. We also had the grander vision for where we were headed.
Following the Plan
This is where things breakdown for most of us. We get motivated and fired up and get started, then things don't go as quickly as we hoped, so we start looking for another way to achieve our goals.
In order to follow a plan we needed to be 100% committed. In our case, that meant we both needed to be 100% committed.
We were at a fork in the road with our lives and especially with our marriage. If we took the wrong path, I'm not sure we would have made it through. We were destroying our marriage with our inability to talk about handling money.
And let's be honest, how many significant decisions and discussions involve money at some level?
We had to find common ground before we could start seeing progress, and before any of that we needed a common goal to help keep us stay motivated to push through the really tough times that were ahead (so we didn't fall back into old habits).
Our big motivator was the hope of starting a family debt-free. The freedom that comes from not owing people money, not only freed up our monthly cash flow but it gave us peace of mind and shed a huge amount of weight from our shoulders.
Photo by Justin Salem Meyer (He is amazing! And how adorable are these two?)
It gave us the capacity to focus on what really mattered in those first few months of having a newborn (and even more so now). We weren't worrying about paying creditors and also wondering how to pay for this new life we brought into the world.
I'll say here as well... sometimes you don't plan for things that happen to you and have to deal with them. On a very small scale, our recent vehicle mishaps have been eye openers for how we handle and plan for things that are out of our control.
But one thing is for sure, planning and saving will leave you more prepared than if you are not planning and saving. The point being, that there is no better time than now to start getting your plan together, and moving toward your goals.
If creating and sticking to a plan is something you want help with, let's work together! Let's have a 30 minute discussion (it's free) about your situation and discuss how coaching can help take you from where you are to where you want to be.
What hurdles have you faced in gaining control of your finances, or putting a plan into action?