As the clock strikes 12 ringing 2014, amongst all the celebration there is inevitable chatter about New Year’s resolutions. We are now almost to the end of January and that vigor and excitement about the changes you’ll make in the New Year are fading. But why? Change is hard, harder than we really give it credit for. If all it took was a little will power we wouldn’t keep making the same resolutions year after year. This week check in with your financial goals because total wellness should be physical, mental, spiritual, and financial. By now your credit card bills have arrived and the reality of the holiday shopping extravaganza are hitting. Don’t despair, with some good planning and self reflection next year this time could more satisfying.
It all starts with getting back to the basics of Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad. Do you know what your balance sheet looks like? As you get your taxes ready to file, it’s a great time to be looking at the past year and taking stock of all your assets and liabilities. As you probably already realize your financial goals for 2014 should include steps to decrease your liabilities and increase your assets.
Let’s start with liabilities. Look at all the cash going out on a monthly basis and assess which one’s you are over paying, duplicating, or unnecessary. Start looking at other providers that can offer you lower rates. In many areas, cable, internet, and phone services have a lot of competition. Before you decide to change to that other company’s lower introductory rate, call your current company’s customer retention department and offer them the opportunity to keep you as a customer by lowering your bill. Beware of their offer to give you more for your money. Remember your goal is to lower your liabilities not get more doodads. If they refuse, schedule to have your service shut off. You’d be surprised how they change their tune. Please remember to be nice. This isn’t about being a hard negotiator or being rude. You’ll get farther by simple stating the facts and explaining that you’d like to be loyal. I’ve been able to cut my cost by almost 50% by using this method. Also, look into different electric and gas providers. Many people don’t realize you have some choices that can save you money.
Now that you are starting to save money on some of your household expense, don’t turn around and buy more doodads. Take that monthly savings and work towards putting it into assets. Starting out you may not be able to buy that asset that throws off enough passive income to cover your expenses, but start small. Looking into investment opportunities that don’t necessarily require a lot of money like wholesaling real estate, buying mobile homes, or investing in tax liens may be a good starting point. Also, don’t forget the difference between good debt and bad debt. Good debt is debt someone else pays for you. Start looking at what kinds of credit you can use to invest. Those checks that your credit card companies send can often be used to purchase small deals. No credit left? Look for my future blog about strategies for paying off those doodads to free up your credit for investing. Look at your bank for lines of credit. The banking industry is highly competitive, so talk to several and see who can offer you the most bank for your buck.
Be specific about how much savings you are looking to achieve on your liabilities this year and how much you will gain in assets. Without a clear goal there is nothing to work towards. If you find yourself off track it’s time to step back and ask yourself why. Often times it is deeply rooted in old beliefs. Are you creating rules that are holding you back based on past experiences? For example, you might feel like you will miss out if you don’t have ALL the cable channels. Why not just try it out? Do a little test and block all your premium cable channels for 1 week. If you can’t find something on TV that is entertaining to you, use that time to do something else that will advance you toward buying your next asset. Research some areas that might be up and coming for your next real estate venture. You just might discover that your success is much more satisfying than a million cable channels.
If all else fails, get help. This is exactly where coaches can be helpful. There are many different specialized types of coaching out there, so do your research and find out what type of coaching might be right for your situation. The most successful people all have mentors and coaches who help them when they get stuck. You’d be surprised what you uncover when someone helps you create distance from your situation allowing you to get a new perspective. We almost always find that the biggest hindrance to reaching our goals is in our own head.
With all this being said, leave room to forgive yourself for your failures. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our mistakes it stops us from even trying. You are far too important to neglect. Instead of making your New Year’s Resolution something just fun to discuss, make it an important part of the business of you. Lastly, don’t forget change is uncomfortable and if you aren’t challenging yourself you aren’t going to achieve your goals. Learn to love discomfort like a scary movie or a thrilling roller coaster ride. Wishing you a happy, healthy, and financially rewarding New Year.