You Can Change Your Financial Future In 6 Steps
Dear Rich Lifer,
The coronavirus pandemic has single-handedly wiped out more than $11 trillion of wealth globally and put at least 33 million Americans out of work.
You may feel like there’s no way your finances will ever bounce back, but don’t waste your time worrying.
The road to financial recovery is a well-traveled path. If you are struggling, the steps to come back, no matter how bad your situation may seem, are fully proven.
Even though it may seem like your situation is unique, the truth is many people have been exactly where you are now and managed to recover.
Today we’ll show you the six steps you need to take to get your finances back on track.
This system works whether you are going through a divorce, bankruptcy, experiencing a hefty medical bill, or simply caught up in a vicious cycle of overspending and debt.
Here are the six steps anyone can take to climb out of a deep financial hole:
Step 1) Accept Your Situation
This doesn’t mean giving up. It means accepting the circumstances for what they are. Without fully accepting your situation, you fool yourself into thinking things “aren’t that bad” and you end up prolonging the suffering.
Yes, it’s terrible to be in financial distress. Yes, nobody should have to go through what you’re going through. But you can’t change the past.
What matters now is your resolve to change the future and that starts with accepting the situation you find yourself in.
Step 2) Take Inventory
To get from point A to point B, you first need to know where point A starts. Before you map out your recovery, you need to take full inventory of your financial situation today.
Ask yourself a few questions and answer honestly:
How much do you owe lenders?
What is your monthly income?
How much do you spend?
How much do you have saved?
What is your credit score?
What do you risk losing if you can’t pay your bills?
Your goal now is to identify everything in your life that is costing you money. Once you have a list of all these expenses, you can begin prioritizing which ones get paid first based on how much income you have coming in.
Step 3) Set 3 Goals
We recommend choosing at least three goals based on three different time frames, for instance:
One short-term goal (the next 30 days).
One medium-term goal (the next 12 months).
One long-term goal (the next 3 years).
Each goal should follow the S.M.A.R.T formula, meaning it’s:
Goal 1: Save $200 by not eating out and cooking more. “I will not order takeout or go out to eat for the next 30 days (until March 1st). Instead, I will cook all my meals and if I am too lazy to cook, I’ll skip that meal.”
Writing out your goals like this works because it clearly follows the S.M.A.R.T. framework. It’s specific (not eating out), measurable ($200), achievable (cooking your meals), realistic (your options are to cook or skip a meal), and it’s time-bound (March 1st deadline).
Don’t overcomplicate this. Think of a goal, write it down, and make sure it checks all the boxes.
Step 4) Map Out Your Route
Once you’ve written down three goals, it’s time to plan how you’re going to achieve them. You can do this a number of ways. Like in the example above, it helps to write out your plan of action in the first person. “I will not order takeout…”
Your plan of action should be simple to follow and ideally it’s a system that you can automate either with technology or by habit.
For example, your goal might be to save $5,000 in an emergency fund by December 1, 2021. Your system to ensure you achieve this goal is setting up bi-weekly fund transfers from your checking to your savings account for $225.
A habit-driven goal, however, might be skipping your daily Starbucks every Thursday. By making a simple rule like this, you easily save money without having to think too hard.
Step 5) Put Your Plan Into Action
Now that you have written down your goals and developed systems to achieve each goal, you need to actually do it.
Block out an hour or two in your calendar to go to the bank or set up e-transfers online. Set up a recurring appointment in your calendar that reminds you not to buy Starbucks on a particular day.
Leverage technology as much as possible to help remove the burden of having to remember. Over time, your savings systems will become ingrained as new habits. But you won’t be able to reap any of these rewards until you do the work. So don’t wait!
Step 6) Fine-Tune Your Plan
It’s rare all your systems and plans will go off without a hitch. You might find it too difficult to achieve certain milestones because your plan is too restrictive.
Don’t let this stop you from doing the work in Step 5. You won’t know until you try. So, give yourself permission to fail but recognize where your plan is falling short. Make the necessary adjustments and keep making progress toward your goals.
You may be tempted to change your goals. Resist the urge. If you followed the S.M.A.R.T. formula, your goals should be achievable but challenging enough to stretch you.
If you’re not making progress, likely something in your plan has to change. Adjust your system until you are hitting the milestones you have set for yourself.
This might all sound overly simplistic. What you’re feeling probably seems insurmountable. But if you follow these six steps and do the work, we promise you will begin climbing out of the hole.
Your finances will go from red to black and your confidence will return.
The coronavirus pandemic is outside of your control. Don’t beat yourself up or waste more time wishing things were different. You have the tools now to change your circumstances.
To a richer life,
The Richlife Roadmap Team