Financial success is a mirage that we all look for. Whether you are highly qualified or an average clerical worker, whether you come from a big town or a small one, almost everyone you will see is hankering for financial success in some ways or the other.
Of course, the manifestation and the goals that they strive to achieve would be different for different types of people, but the tryst for a better financial stability is omnipresent. That brings us to the key question, why do you need financial success. The fact is being financially successful helps you achieve some key targets.
Security: It kind of makes you feel empowered in taking up any challenge, after all, there is very little that money cannot buy. It makes you feel more powerful in terms of taking care of your loved ones and preparing better for future comforts. Money often also allows you to pamper your loved ones in terms of getting the best for them in every possible manner.
Stability: It would not be wrong to say that financial success also brings in a degree of stability in your life. When you know that you have access to adequate resources to fulfill any type of need of your family, it surely puts you at ease. Sufficient money also removes any type of uncertainty that you might have to worry for otherwise. As somebody once said to me, ‘Money cannot be everything in your life, but it sure is something rather important.
Comfort: Access to greater financial resource means you can surely have a better life. From a comfortable house to comfortable car to better lifestyle to enjoying more amenities, the possibilities are endless. Better financial condition always ensures that you can have a more comfortable life than you imagined. In terms of material happiness too, money can often mean a lot more of all of those.
More Time: Money no doubt helps you buying a lot more amenities, gadgets and help if needed. This means that you do not have to spend your time dealing with the daily chores too much. This frees up time for you to pursue a lot of personal work or to pursue a hobby and the like. This means that you can use your time better and also use it for knowledge enhancement. It would not be therefore wrong to say that financial success is as much about material joys as it for inner happiness. When money gives you the resources, you can also indulge a lot more into various charitable opportunities that might come your way. In many ways, this means that you can guarantee a lot more inner peace once you are able to pursue your dreams without any limitations. It makes you become a better individual and often helps you create opportunities for many other deserving people who might not have access to the type of financial resource that you have.
How To Achieve Financial Success?
The question that would next come to your mind is how you can achieve financial success?
Well, obviously you know why you need financial success now so it is imperative to understand how you can go about achieving it. Well to put it very simply, you cannot achieve financial success overnight, and it is only a gradual process that enables you to achieve it. A step by step procedure, as the saying goes, ‘many drops make the ocean, many pennies makes the pound’. But the trick is not to lose the drive in between and go ahead with greater and better precision.
1. Need to Set Targets for Your Financial Success
This no doubt is the first step to any great mission in life. Your journey to achieving financial success begins from here. You need to establish clear and achievable goals. This, no doubt, is the most crucial part of your financial plan. In very basic terms it often is the exact amount of money that you must earn within a particular time period. This goal then helps you undertake a real-time analysis of the time you need to achieve the goal. You can then set and then you can tweak your overall investment and earnings plan in a way that offers you the maximum benefit.
When you talk about setting up targets, there are three types essentially:
- Short-term targets
- Mid-term targets
- Long-term targets
While your short-term goals will be about the financial needs that you might have immediately, within a year or so, the mid-term ones are spread out over 5-10 year time range. They can involve anything from higher studies for your children to a bigger house or even your personal vacation outlook. The long-term ones inevitably involve your retirement plan and even a house perhaps where you want to settle down post retirement. The reason you need the financial goals or targets is primarily. Because this helps you understand how much money you need to set aside every month to reach your target.
It also guarantees your financial success despite your current earnings. By communicating your goals and setting aside targets, you can work towards achieving them a lot more efficiently. It gives you the leeway to provide for urgent emergencies without disturbing the overall savings plan that you might have outlined.
2. Take Stock of Current Situation
This part of the financial plan goes hand in hand with the overall target setting and goal setting aspirations of an individual. The moment you set your target, you need to understand how much you earn now and how you need to allocate it. Often when you are making regular savings, there are times when you forget to value the savings thus far. Most importantly what you save in comparison to how much you spend and the liabilities that you must fulfill. This net worth assessment will put the overall financial situation in relative scale.
Then you can gauge how much you need to set aside in reality. You must remember that you cannot look at your savings in isolation. They need to be seen in relation to the overall mortgages and other loan liabilities that you might have. When you calculate your net assets minus your liabilities, it gives you a true picture of the financial state you are in. If this amount is positive, then you can look to add to it going forward. However, if the net worth is 0 or in a negative zone, then you have to rework your finances in a way that you can address this aspect at the very beginning.
You are highly mistaken if you thought that cashflow is a condition that only entrepreneurs need to worry about. Just like cash flow is indispensable for running a business smoothly it is equally important for running a family and your house smoothly. Of course, in the context of your personal savings and household savings, cash flow denotes a detailed structure that determines where your money is spent every month. First and foremost, you have to calculate the exact amount of money that you have to spend every month.
More often than not, it is seen that instead of a cash crunch problems, most who are undergoing financial distress is essentially symptoms of overspending on credit card and dealing with credit card debt. As a result of this, your ability to save would also get crimped. Therefore, once you put down your actual needs and resources on pen and paper, you can assess the relative inflow and outflow of money better. While the income or inflow of cash would essentially be the salary that you earn but it can also comprise of
- Alimony settle cash inflow
- Child support
- Earnings from investment
- Rents from property that you might own
- Government benefits
The next step no doubt involves understanding your overall tax liability on the inflow and how you can reduce this in case it is too much. Often the lack of proper financial planning not only impedes your financial success but also increases your tax burden. Savings also in that context could often be considered as an expense in your cash flow condition. While you might not be spending the money but by setting it apart, you no doubt also limit its ability to be spent on any other purpose going forward.
4. Create a Plan for Savings & Spending
So once you get a relative idea of the overall cash inflow and outflow accurately, you can draw up the plan for savings and spending quite effortlessly. This plan needs to be broad and extremely comprehensive. It should account for everything, from how much you want to save for old age to how much you spend on clothing, just about everything is covered in this Spending-Savings plan. One aspect that you should not forget while making this plan is the golden rule of financial success.
Your expenses should in no way exceed your savings. This even includes the overall savings that you might be having and the money you are setting aside for that.
For starters, you could begin with a cash flow worksheet.
In case there is a negative cash flow in the worksheet, you could make adjustments as per the need. But when you are looking ways to close the gap in the negative cash flow, ways to increase your income is not just about reducing expenses or savings; it could mean something more than that too. Sometimes it could be about increasing your income too by taking up a part time job or putting up a property for rent as well.
You could even look at managing expenses like looking for value for money phone connection services or buying various day to day articles at a cheaper rate from local deals at departmental stores. But remember that your plan is as good as you follow it. For making it work as effectively in real life as it looks on paper, you need to exercise strict financial prudence. You also need to ensure that you follow the plan on paper very closely to the last T. According to Robert Kiyosaki, financial success is not the matter of how much money you make.
It is the matter of how much money you keep which is income to expense ratio:
5. Emergency Savings Plan
Often you would have noticed that a sizeable chunk of your savings might be eroded away because of some sudden emergency. You never plan for these, but the fact is that when they do come upon us, it can severely erode the overall savings plan for the long run. In many ways, this could severely hamper the overall financial success that you might be looking for. Therefore, apart from the regular savings that you might have planned for, it is very important to make an allocation for any sudden emergency that might come your way. This emergency fund always comes handy for accounting for expenses that come up suddenly.
In fact, most financial experts say that this emergency fund should be sufficient to support at least 3-6 months of living expenses for an individual. Another fact is as this expense is never planned for; you must always use a savings instrument that can be accessed without delay. It is also important to choose the investment instrument that does not invite any penalty payment for early withdrawal. Therefore, you don’t just need to plan an effective emergency plan but also the one where there is a minimum liability if you end up using it.
6. Direct Deduction
In the context of creating effective channels of savings, it has always been observed that savings is always more effective and efficient when it is done through direct deduction. You could opt for an electronic transfer from your account or even the ones that have the facility to submit post-dated checks. What this ensures is that you are forced to follow a certain degree of fiscal prudence at any cost. Whatever your monthly outgo might be, your savings would not be crimped. This is important to ensure that today’s problems do not hamper tomorrow’s plan as well.
The golden rule of financial success is therefore all about achieving financial discipline in our daily lives. It often entails that you must follow a strict and disciplined approach that you have to ensure in a firm. Remember while you might not have employees to pay to, you still have your house expenses to cater to. Unlike entrepreneur, in your personal finance sphere, you never have any angel investors to bail you out crowd-funding alternatives to tide over emergencies. You should be keen, alert agile and extremely flexible in making alterations and adjustments in your finances depending on the requirement and the demands of the time.
You must never be too rigid in your plans and the choice of the financial instrument for your savings is as crucial. Do not just make a savings in some financial vehicle because someone suggested. You must give it a deep thought, research well about the alternatives available for you and then only make a choice. This will ensure that you are able to balance both your income and expenses in a way that you can provide adequately both for your future and present. Your financial success is completely dependent on your skills in managing your funds effectively.