Oct 30, 2008

Sorting Out your Finances in Stages

When was the last time you jumped from your house to work, and then at the end of the day, jumped right back in one massive leap back to your front door.

What? You've never done that before?

Maybe if you work from home you have managed to do that but for the rest of us, work is usually further away than just a large leap. Usually, to get to work we do something like the following: walk, wait, step up, sit down, step down, walk and finally rest when we get in the lift. We do it in stages, one after the other, each building on what went before.

The Journey to Financial Independence is also like that. We do it in stages and each one builds on the one before.

"I'm Not Ready to Switch Over Right Now"

newborn fawn just 2 minutes after birth
Photo: slopjop

Over the past couple of months, I have had many conversations with many of my friends about finances. I'm not sure why they come and talk to me (ok, I can guess a little) but mostly it works out for both sides in which we each learn something more. Some conversations have been small and to the point, others larger and covering many bases.

I have, however, figured out a slight pattern to what a lot of people are telling me. They say things like "Maybe I don't do it now but I'll do it later" or "I'm not quite there yet but soon, I promise" or "I'm not ready to switch over right now, I have a few things I want to sort out first".

So it seems that people want to change things but don't really want to commit to it yet. It is definitely a recurring theme.

My advice to any and all of you thinking about doing something about your finances, whether it's opening a freedom fund, starting your savings or even planning your retirement:

... JUST START NOW!

Sorry I screamed but take my advice, if you don't start today, you probably won't start tomorrow either and as we all know, tomorrow never comes. You'll wake up one day and say "I wish I started saving 10 years ago".

It turns out that I wish I'd started sorting out my financial future about 5 years ago but I'm just happy that I'm now on the right road. To those younger than I am, just go and re-read your high-school maths books about compound interest and you'll be glad you started when you did (and I wouldn't mind some credit when you're old and rich). If you still don't believe me and you didn't click that previous link, go and do it now since it has already said everything I could have said (and more).

Do It In Stages

stone steps
Photo: nakae

The other thing you have to remember is that this particular area of your life, your financial matters, are pretty complex. There are strategies to make it simpler but in all honesty no matter how you look at it, it's fairly complex. Because of which, it also means there are a number of different ways you can do things. There are also a number of different things you can do and a number of different things you can consider.

All this adds up to an extremely rich set of paths you can take from here (now) to there (retirement or any other goal of yours).

With all those paths open to you, you can choose which direction you want to go, hopefully choosing one which takes you forward and therefore you can choose exactly what you want to do.

As you would get to work in the morning, you don't just take a big leap at the start of your journey and arrive there, you do it in stages. At first you might start off your emergency fund, you might decide to spend less or you might decide to earn more. You can of course choose everything at the same time but it's much easier to break it down into little steps and just start wherever you feel comfortable.

And that is the key, that you have to start somewhere! Starting earlier rather than later is better so why not choose to start today? Something, anything, whatever you like. Start today and maybe tomorrow, do something more. You surely won't regret it.

Call for you to pledge below to start RIGHT NOW. It doesn't have to be much but just start. Leave a comment and we'll all cheer you on your merry way to financial independence.

2 comments:

theroadtohobbiton said...

This is a great post. The best part is JUST START NOW! It's so easy to put things off for a 'better' time. To quote Yoda, 'now is always best time'. Being more financially savvy is among the goals I wrote about in one of my recent blog posts, and it's so important for any kind of future security.

retire-at-40 said...

@theroadtohobbiton:

Hehehe, I love it. "Now is always best time!" I don't remember Yoda saying that but it sounds like one of his quotes.

As always with many things in life, there's no point procrastinating, just doing it is better than nothing at all.