Dec. 21, 2020
Being awesome with your money is 90 per cent psychological (mindset). The other 10 per cent is having the right skills, which doesn’t mean being good at math (phew!).
And, the good news is that anyone can work on their money mindset even if they don’t have any money. All you need to get started is to know how to act like a financially secure person and the desire to change the relationship you have with your money.
These are the six mindset characteristics financially secure people have.
Financially secure people know deep personal satisfaction doesn’t come from having more things; rather it’s from having good health, strong finances and positive relationships. These folks often make average incomes, but their secret sauce is they spend 20 per cent less money than anyone else at their same income level. This allows them to save more for their future and stay out of debt.
How do they do it? They apply a specific spending technique called value buying by which they stretch their dollars as far as they can possibly go on fewer, better things. Financially secure people still support local businesses while taking advantage of sales and discounts but, most importantly, they only buy what’s needed. Thus, you won’t find any hoarding in their homes and you definitely won’t find them keeping up with the Joneses, who are broke, btw.
Let me quickly clear up a myth that frugal people are cheapskates. They’re not. Cheapskates are like the Grinch. They lack generosity and put their well-being at risk just to save a few bucks.
If a leaner, more frugal life appeals to you, the first step while you’re off over the holidays is to purge and sell excess items from your home, then start visioning what you really need going forward and make a plan to live on less.
Financially secure people know how important kindness and giving are for their personal sense of self-worth, and for the sake of their community, which is why they give money (between five and 10 per cent of their take-home pay) and they also volunteer their time, regularly. Giving money away to those who need it actually improves your finances, which is contrary to what it sounds like. Besides the valuable tax credit, it’s linked to raises, promotions, a larger network, greater sales and a stronger brand (especially if you have a business).
You’ve heard of how living “abundantly” (ie. feeling fullness in your life financially, personally and professionally) is the key to greater personal satisfaction, right? Well, it starts right here with generosity. If you want to taste abundance, look around and see how you can help. Then start giving, in a small but meaningful way.
Financially secure people know that it’s good to dream, but their dreams are dependent on their income, which is why they focus on earning more every year for two reasons. First, this ensures they keep up with inflation (historically hovers around two to 2.5 per cent); and second, this allows them to invest just a tiny bit more for their eventual retirement every year.
2020 was a financial mulligan, especially in terms of income growth. But with a vaccine on the horizon, and economists feeling more optimistic about 2021 job growth, there will hopefully be greater income-earning opportunities for everyone.
Our time on this planet is limited and so my advice when it comes to earning more is twofold; first, focus on doing great work when work is available; and two, always be on the lookout for opportunities to earn a bit more doing something you love. When you do earn more in 2021, don’t squander it! Do the next two things.
Financially secure people know that being prepared is liberating. Thus, they save about five per cent of their take-home pay and try to earn as much interest on these funds as possible, without exposing the money to market risk. In other words, they’re big-time proponents of the classic high-interest savings account. When emergencies or big expenses pop up, they’re prepared.
You can get prepared, too, by automatically transferring a portion of your income into a high-interest savings account regularly, starting today.
Remember when I said financially secure people spend about 20 per cent less money. Guess where that money goes? Right here! Though you might not be able to earmark this much money for your investments, your future self will thank you immensely for making retirement savings a priority, with whatever you can afford. Think about the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ll be ready when you clock out from your last day on the job 20 years from now. That peace of mind is why financially secure people care so much about investing well.
Need another motivation to invest? Stats show you and your spouse will be much happier and more likely to stay together when you’ve got a plan for retirement, even if it is modest. You don’t need to have buckets of money to start; in fact, $50 is all you need at most investment houses, but the key is just getting started and making it a regular automatic habit to invest.
Financially secure people see themselves as the top returning investment of all time, which is why they spend money and time on personal development; approximately three per cent of their take-home pay goes toward wellness and learning (including on money management), and up to 36 months are spent on formal mentorship (courses, coaching and training), not including post-secondary education.
When was the last time you put your personal development first? If your budget is tight, it’s OK. You can still work on new skills, hopefully your financial skills, for low to no cost until you’re in a stronger position. Read blogs, use the library (they’ve gone digital, you know), sign up for free master classes and so on. The point is to work on improving yourself and your finances, however you can, which will strengthen your money mindset.
Even if you don’t have two nickels to rub together, if you make it your new year’s resolution to start living like a financially secure person, by applying these six mindset characteristics to the way you approach your money, positive financial changes will come your way. I wish you a strong money mindset going into 2021. Happy holidays!