A New Year, a Fresh Start
I absolutely love the start of a New Year and this year is a bonus because it is the start of a new decade. For many, myself included, a New Year is an opportunity for a fresh start and a chance to set new and exciting goals for the future.
Lifestyle, personal, professional, and financial goals are all worthy contenders and I hope you have taken, or will soon take, the time to determine and write down specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timely goals – SMART GOALS — for 2020 and beyond.
Simply put, I believe there are two types of people in the world: people who MAKE life happen and people who LET life happen. If you want to MAKE your life happen, and not leave things to chance, setting goals is one of the best ways to focus your time, energy, and money.
All goals take time and energy and most goals require money. And since we all know money doesn’t grow on trees, we have to save and accumulate money in order to achieve our goals.
One of the key rules for being Fin$mart is to avoid debt to fund your goals or to at least minimize debt so that you can pay it off as quickly as possible. There is nothing worse than being saddled with car payments for years on end, paying high interest on your credit card to fund an epic vacation (or worse, a terrible vacation), being unable to secure a down payment for your first home, or not taking advantage of tax-sheltered accounts for retirement savings and investments.
In order to avoid and minimize debt, the essential rule for being Fin$mart is to live below your means so that you can save for your goals and meet your financial needs without financial stress. Living below your means will look different for every individual and family, based on your unique circumstances, priorities, and choices, but how you do it, is what I call being Fin$mart.
Fin$mart is the new Frugal
Starting in 2020, I would like you to think of Fin$mart as the new frugal. The word frugal is defined as being economical with regard to money. Other adjectives to describe frugal include: thrifty, careful, cautious, meager, skimpy, paltry, or prudent. The point is, all of these adjectives carry a somewhat negative connotation. Being Fin$mart is not negative…it is a smart, intentional choice that reflects a positive money mindset.
When you are Fin$mart you spend money on things that matter most and cut back spending on things that matter less. For example, you may choose not to spend money on new clothes in order to save money for your next vacation.
Every day we make countless choices as to how we spend our money. We therefore have countless opportunities to be Fin$mart. When you are Fin$mart, you prioritize your spending to align with your values, your goals, and the vision you have for your life. This is how you MAKE your life happen and use Financial Smarts to live your best life.
When you are Fin$mart you also ensure to get full pleasure from everything you spend your money on…waste lies not in the number of possessions we have but in our failure to enjoy them. That said, there comes a time in our life when we need to realize when “enough is enough”. Mother Earth can no longer sustain the “more is better” or “the person with the most toys wins” materialistic mentality when it comes to our spending.
When you are Fin$mart, you control your money — your money doesn’t control you or your life. When you live below your means and save money, you start to build wealth and get on the path to Financial Independence. Financial Independence is the new retirement. It is when you know everything there is to know about your money, you can make financial decisions without depending on others or relying on debt, and you can live and work on your own terms. You no longer have to trade time for money.
Make 2020 a Fin$mart Year – here’s how:
Live below your means by first developing a budget with savings goals and a spending plan.
Then do this:
- Be intentional with your money
- Spend your money consciously and mindfully
- Align spending with your values, goals, and the things most important to you
- Know the difference between your needs and wants
- Always aim to purchase for less — most everything goes on sale!
- Do not take on unnecessary consumer debt and avoid paying interest
- Value anticipation over instant gratification
- Take equal pleasure in saving as you do spending
- Only buy what you love, not just what you like
- Define yourself by who you are, not what you have
- Prioritize your spending. Research purchases. Evaluate alternatives. Seek the best value for your money.
- And always ask these questions: Do I need it? Do I need it now? Can I satisfy the need in another way? Can I purchase it on sale? What happens if I don’t have it?
We only live once. Each day we have a limited amount of time, energy, and money. I close this post with one of my favourite TEDx Talks, The Magic of Not Giving a F***. In this humourous, F-word laden talk, Sarah Knight, outlines her “Not Sorry Method” to stop spending time and money you don’t have, doing things you don’t want to do. Take 12.5 minutes to enjoy this truly unique and memorable perspective on budgeting our time, energy and money. Caution – strong language!
Need help getting Fin$mart? Visit the Fin$mart Services page for details on personalized coaching and MAKE your life happen while getting on the path to Financial Independence.