How 8 Words Written on a Napkin Changed My Financial Future

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I remember it like it was yesterday.

I was sitting in a cafe and my mind wandered back to its familiar place: money anxiety. My heart became heavy and everything started to feel like it was closing in on me. How did I always end up here? I was at the end of my rope. I had to change something.

I looked at the briefcase in front of me, grabbed a pen, and decided to make a resolution. I wrote the the biggest financial goal I could think of:

“I will be debt free in five years.”

I only half believed it while writing. As a fresh college graduate and newlywed, my $30,000 debt balance — along with my memories of a financially stressful childhood — made that briefcase goal out of reach.

But by then, six years ago, I was tired of trying to keep my financial goals “realistic.” Tired of spending the first year of my married life discussing student loans on the phone during my lunch breaks. Tired of bursting into tears at every financial inconvenience, like my health insurance deductible going up or a cashier refusing my ice cream coupon.

Becoming debt free was the greatest thing I could dream to do with my money.

Turns out my towel goal was more within reach than I thought.

And in reality, many financial goals are – we only have to make a few changes in our lives to start seeing progress.

Keeping my resolve at the forefront of my mind, I decided to take control of my financial journey by enrolling in an inexpensive online course, reading books, and gathering all the free information I could find on Internet.

Nicole Stanley, a mother of two, has gone from debt and stress to a net worth of over $250,000 with an average annual salary of $56,000.

Although it was more painful than glamorous, things started to change for me after that towel moment. I started out achieving small financial goals and then moved on to much bigger goals, gaining financial confidence along the way. In the middle of this process, I bought a house to resell and sold it for a profit, gave birth to two beautiful babies, started a business during a global pandemic and built our retirement accounts beyond the six-figure mark at the age of 27.

In six years, I went from debt and stress to a net worth of $250,000+ on an average annual salary of $56,000.

It was no easy task, and I sometimes recoil from my past, but I learned crucial lessons along the way.

5 changes that will help you reach your financial goals Feel Out of reach.

1. Let go of guilt and shame as a financial motivation.

There is an unhealthy idea that our financial reality is all about numbers. It boils down to a simple equation. However, money is also emotional. For a long time, guilt and shame about money were my main motivations for improving my money. I would feel bad about a purchase and spend hours blaming myself for what I should I’m done with my money. I became scrupulous with my spending because if I wasn’t perfect it had to mean I was bad with money. It was a lie.

Shame-based tactics will help you a little, but in the long run, they will make your relationship with money miserable. No one is perfect with money, so don’t hold yourself to that standard.

Pro tip

Write down your current biggest financial dream. Let that be your motivation.

2. Embrace your real data.

In my experience, most of us make unrealistic plans for our money. We ask ourselves: “What should we spend on gasoline? rather than determining what we are actually spending. For example, if you’re spending $200, pretending you’re spending $125 isn’t useful for your budget sheet to add up. I used to get frustrated with budgets that didn’t work because I wasn’t being honest about how I was actually spending my money. Now I don’t feel that way because my numbers are accurate for my lifestyle.

Instead of judging your spending, become curious why you spend the way you do. You will learn a lot more that way.

3. Focus on big needle movers first.

When we set out to change our financial life, there are dozens of things we can improve, but we have a limited amount of mental energy for money. It is important to resist the temptation to try to do everything at once. It won’t work and we’ll burn out.

Prioritize what will have the most impact in your life first. Then, manage your expectations so you can celebrate every little victory instead of embarrassing yourself for not being “more advanced” than you are. When you focus on one thing at a time, you’ll make more progress than trying to do it all.

4. Rig the system.

Yeah you heard me. We have to do it so as not to lose. Instead of planning how much we hope our bill will be or what our next vacation will be ideally cost, we can plan for MORE than we see ourselves spending. If (or when) we spend less, we begin to change our relationship to money to become more positive.

If you rig the system, it creates a dynamic with the money where you win, and it reinforces your identity as someone who is “good with money”. When you’re good at something, you spend more time doing it, which has a ripple effect.

5. Get a mentor/coach.

This was a HUGE step for me. Asking for help from someone who could tell the truth, encourage me, and help me get results is perhaps the biggest boost to financial confidence. When we don’t know what to do, having someone who has already done it and who won’t make us feel stupid or lonely is a game-changer.

These 5 principles that helped me build my financial confidence and net worth even when my situation wasn’t perfect. I’ve learned to make sure financial anxiety doesn’t control my life. That’s why I started Arise Financial Coachinga company dedicated to helping professionals pay off debt, save more, and enjoy financial confidence, no matter where they start.

The ideal starting point does not exist

If I’ve learned anything over the past six years, it’s never believe that what you have today is too little to get started and make massive financial progress. This is unbelievable how your finances can change with a few months of intentional focus. If I had waited until I had more income, if I wasn’t pregnant, if I was in a less competitive housing market, or if luck had come to me, I would still be in debt and anxious about my future. financial.

Imperfect financial action today is better than perfect action 10 years from now (or more likely, never). Financial confidence is not about perfectionism. It’s about making clear choices that align with your values ​​and desires for your life. As your financial confidence grows, your bank accounts will grow with it. No matter what might be stacked against you, you have exactly what you need to get started towards the financial goal you can only dream of now.

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