One bite at a time
It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link of the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.
- Winston Churchill
Today's financial tip, how do you eat an elephant?
Well, one bite at a time, of course.
Even when you start learning how to cook, you start by cutting vegetables. You don't start with turducken or an elephant. So why do people approach financial planning like they're going to swallow the elephant whole? Well, it's mystified me for awhile, and I think there are more effective ways.
You can make better decisions, learn more effectively, when you do it one bite at a time. I think one reason people try to do financial planning all at once is because you can perceive money management as a task or as a project, but it's not. It's a discipline. And the best way to master a discipline, acquire a new habit, actually a set of habits, is a little bit at a time. A bigger reason people take all their financial planning at once is because that’s how advisors dictate it. The financial planning model is designed for effectively dispensing advice. It's designed for the benefit, for the convenience, of the advisor rather than the client.
For some people, getting their finances in order seems overwhelming. Like handing them a scalpel and throwing them into the operating room without going to medical school. But thankfully, financial planning ain’t surgery, and you can master it.
You can get control of those finances and make really good decisions. It just takes a little bit of time. Analyzing your finances and making adjustments is more effective when it's done step-by-step. It gives you the opportunity to understand each issue as it comes along. Gathering information is less overwhelming that way. And you remember more of it.
Approach money management one step at a time. Get familiar with and develop a routine to check what you own and what you owe, how the money flowed in and out of the household last month, and whether that was what you expected. Make a habit of saving, develop an understanding of basic investment principles, protect against the risks.
You'll find yourself in control of your path, and you'll be surprised how fast it happened. You may wonder why it intimidated you so much in the first place.
Just take it one step at a time, one bite at a time.