Financial success means different things to different people. For some, it’s about how much money is in the bank, how high up the corporate ladder they climb, or how much their house has increased in value. For others it might simply be not having to worry about day-to-day finances.
With most things monetary, there’s no ‘quick fix’ solution, and no easy path to success. Paying off a home loan, building up your super, or watching your investments grow takes time and patience.
Which means your attitude and approach to money can be just as important as your bank balance. A new year is chance for a fresh start, and an opportunity to practise good financial habits. Here’s how to get started and how Equip Super can potentially help.
Hold yourself accountable
This is not about cutting out all non-essential spending to save a few bucks here and there. What we’re talking about is taking the time to learn about yourself from a financial perspective. Do you like to shop because you want something new or do you find yourself splurging in certain instances, such as when you’re stressed or unhappy? Do you feel a sense of achievement when you have a certain amount of money in the bank, or do you feel like saving is just another way of saying “I’m not allowed to have any fun”? Figuring out not only what you spend money on but also why may just help keep yourself in check and help you make lasting changes.
When things go wrong financially, it’s easy to slap blame and heap failure on ourselves, but blame isn’t the best tool for growth. Instead, try acknowledging that something has gone wrong and find the lessons to be learned from it. What can be taken from one mistake that can be applied to future endeavours?
Understand your money mindset
This answer is different for everyone. What do you want right now, or in 20 plus years down the line? What are these things going to cost you now and in the future? What do you need to do to make these things happen? Are they things you can achieve without feeling like you’re punishing yourself in the present?
Some people associate financial success with how much money they have in the bank. Squirrelling away all your hard-earned money into a savings account at the expense of giving up everything outside of the essentials is a good way to build a nest egg or emergency fund (kudos to you if you’re able to do this) in the short-term.
Conversely, some people might struggle to adopt this mindset, especially long term. Everyone’s situation is different. Think about the things you really want in life; is forgoing a lot going to lead to a better life for you down the track, or are you going to struggle in other areas?
Be honest about your financial situation
Everyone says that there’s no better time to start planning for the long-term than right now. And to be fair there is no time like the present… but later can be ok too.
It’s important to consider your personal financial situation before tackling any kind of big financial goal. Try viewing any new goal as a positive goal, and any debts or financial issues that need addressing as negative goals (in that keeping them around for too long can negatively impact your finances).
In some cases, it might be better for the long-term to put off a positive goal in favour of focusing on removing a negative goal from the equation first. If you try to do multiple things at once, you may struggle and feel disinclined to continue a positive goal because of the effects of a negative one.
Give yourself breathing room when you need to
Hitting any goal doesn’t just miraculously happen overnight. To get somewhere requires planning and laying out exactly what you need to do to get there. Not having a plan or timeline in place can make goals feel unattainable, whereas breaking things down into smaller chunks makes things easier to digest. For example, aiming to save $50 a week over one year is more quantifiable than simply aiming to save as much as possible.
A stumbling block for many financial goals can be something called FOMO (“fear of missing out”, for the uninitiated). Depending on where you are in life, you might have a lot of friends and family around you who are buying their first home, going on big holidays or just always being out at events. But remember, just because everyone around you is doing these things doesn’t mean you’re missing out by not following suit. If those goals are also your goals, but you’re not quite in the space you want to be to do them, that’s perfectly fine. Comparing ourselves to others never leads anywhere positive, especially around finances. You are striving to be the best version of you – no-one else.
Start 2024 on the right note
The new year is synonymous with resolutions. But instead of deciding on something that you may or may not see through to the end of the year, why not think about how your own financial foundation is faring? It could help you to go about making some solid changes that set you up for long-term gains.
A financial planner can help you understand your overall financial situation, and highlight ways to achieve your goals. Whether you’re just starting out in the workforce, or thinking about retirement, they can assist with a variety of financial questions including:
- children’s education expense
- saving and building wealth outside of super
- managing any debt you may have
- budgeting and cashflow
- managing your tax
- retirement planning
The initial appointment is obligation free and available at no additional cost to Equip fund members.