4 Tips For Maintaining The Right Perspective

I’m sure that most of you are filled with questions about how to get started with regards to your journey to [tag]financial freedom[/tag]. Its daunting believe me, I’m right there with ya! We are faced with changing years of bad money habits, habitual emotional spending and developing and maintaining new goals. Its alright if you fall off the bandwagon, it happens. Just get back up again and keep chipping away at it.

How do you maintain the right perspective?

1. This is a process

Sure, we read a few blogs and get the epiphany that we CAN get out from under our debts AND we have proof that others have done it. Keep in mind that while some of the blogs you read are by people who have reached their goals, they were once where you are today. But it took them going through the process of getting on and falling off and then getting back on again in order to get to their goals. Again, you’re working on changing a large habit in your life. That is, changing the way you view money. How do you view money? What does money mean to you?

2. Set and Maintain S.M.A.R.T Goals

Tristan Loo explains SMART goals here:

Specific: Do you know exactly what you want to accomplish with all the details?

  • Increase savings and/or emergency fund
  • Reduce debt

Measurable: Are you able to assess your progress?

  • Save $2500 per month
  • Reduce debt by $1500 per month

Attainable: Is your goal within your reach given your current situation?

  • Make it automatic via drafts through ING
  • Allocate $1500 of take home pay to debt

Relevant: Is your goal relevant towards your purpose in life?

  • Yes, I will increase savings
  • Yes, I will reduce debt and free up more money to increase savings

Time-Sensitive: What is the deadline for completing your goal?

  • Target goal–> December 2008

Fabulously Broke in the City has a great example of this as it pertains to fitness and personal finance, check it out!

Do this for each area you wish to make a change and write it down on paper or in a journal.

3. Incorporate Discipline

Again, it takes discipline to get situated in your new approach to money. If you are like me and need a schedule then develop one. That is, get on a schedule with your finances, get a Bill Calendar and review it weekly if you need to just to get in the habit of making it a part of your life.

4. Outcome-What Do You Really Want?

Seriously. What do you really want? To be debt free? MY goal is to be one of the callers on the Dave Ramsey Show who screams IM [tag]DEBT FREE[/tag]E!!!! Do you want to fully fund your 401k for the year? 6 months in an Emergency Fund?

Think about it and write it down.

Determine what exactly you want out of this process and maintain that goal. It will take discipline on your part and you’ll suck at it a few times. But you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the process, what you want out of it and how to get there.

  • Anonymous

    I think the most important thing is to set clear, trackable and attainable goals.  I never get anything done unless I write it down first and then set up any easy way to track my performance.   If I say, “I want to be rich” and that is my goal, then it will never happen.  But if I write down specifically that I want to have $1MM by age 50 by saving 15% of my income and earning an average return between 5 and 8% per year on my investments, well that is a trackable and attainable goal.   And the most important part is that I can make adjustments along the way if I what I have done so far does not have me on track to reach my final goal.  

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  • Minimum Wage

    Hard to go back to school when you have no money and can’t get loans.

  • Ginger

    I also understand that employers regard me as a high-risk applicant due to my utter lack of anything which might be considered career-related experience. Since employers are risk-averse, they find it easier to toss my resume than to offer an interview, and I don’t know how to overcome that at this point. There is a major disconnect between my skills and my experience, and that definitely does not appeal to employers.

    You seem to know that you have the skills needed to get past the stage where you are right now. But I think you’d have to cut the negative self talk for a good while before you can really start to see and understand clearly what you have to contribute to a new job. You have the skills-then translate that on your resume. There is such a thing as transferable skills that one can use to demonstrate how they are qualified for a position.

    If it means much to you then go back to school. While you are in school, defer your loans and start over with regards to your career. I agree law school can be a crap shoot, but there are tons of other career paths out there. Again, what are you passionate about? Make that your vocation.

    I think first you need to change your mindset as far as how you approach things. The same energy you give off here regarding your situation (perennially dismal) may be the same that you are putting forth in your resume and cover letters. Try to see where your continuing to psych your self out of actually being and doing more than you are right now. Why would an employer take a risk with you if you are unwilling to take that risk with yourself?

  • Minimum Wage

    It took me almost eight years to graduate, as I took classes part time and mostly worked my way through school. I was therefore able to watch many of my friends struggle in that crummy economy with student loan debt.

    My best friend got his law degree and passed the bar exam – and took a minimum wage job as a stiockboy. Struggling with student loans, he went back to school for a master’s degree and ultimately got a $40K job before running for office and moving up the political chain to a $100K job.

    While I like to think that I have above-average intelligence and am capable of learning and doing new tricks, I also understand that employers regard me as a high-risk applicant due to my utter lack of anything which might be considered career-related experience. Since employers are risk-averse, they find it easier to toss my resume than to offer an interview, and I don’t know how to overcome that at this point. There is a major disconnect between my skills and my experience, and that definitely does not appeal to employers.

    Not wanting to struggle with a ton of law school debt and a stockboy job, I chickened out and decided I couldn’t afford law school.

  • Ginger

    Let me preface this by saying that I havent walked a day in your shoes so the following is based on what you’ve said and my own experiences.

    I find that our realties are based on the things we accept for ourselves. I do not for one minute believe that this is all you could ever amount to in life and that your degree is the only thing holding you back from getting the job you really want or pursuing your passions. What are they? If you want to go to law school, what REALLY stopped you? Plenty of people take out loans to make that happen, why wasnt that an option for you? Im just asking here, not preaching.

    I think you have to dig deep and be honest with your career trajectory and figure out what happened along the way. Did you make the right decisions? Do you take ownership or will you just say I cant because X-Y-Z happened to me.

    I won’t give too many details of my personal life-but been there, done that and the key was taking ownership for the decisions I made and learning to make decisions that were right for me. If I didnt know how, then I sought the counsel of those who helped me sort things out.

    Ive seen your posts on other PF blogs so I know that you’re seeking away to make something better in your area of personal finance. Perhaps 2008 is the year and no Im not trying to soup you up with hot air. Sometimes we need to take a look and make a decision. Your life is what you make of it. Not a degree, not a job and damn sure not a paycheck. Your life, you live it and you take charge of it. No one else.

    Start with believing in yourself, charting a plan and following your passion. The rest will fall into place.

  • minimum wage

    p.s. I got the degree so I could go to law school. (Law schools are funny about requireing a degree.) Then by the time I graduated, I couldn’t afford law school.

  • minimum wage

    Yes, I have a college degree. I took a MW job because it was the best I could get and when you have bills to pay, a MW job is better than no job. I graduated at the
    bottom of a recession in a seriously depressed regional economy (Rust Belt) and my liberal arts degree wasn’t in high demand by employers.

    Today I am an aging baby boomer and there is little hope for me. It’s very unlikely I can get a good job now.

  • Ginger

    Why did you take a MW job? Do you have a college degree?

  • Ginger

    @ MW-Ive yet to meet someone who couldnt stand to cut back in other areas in order to save. Ive been there and so I know and learned the hard way when I moved here. I had to cut back on certain luxury/convenience items in order to start saving. You say that you have student loans so I am assuming that means you went to college. Why are you in a job earning minimum wage if you went to college? What happened?

    Thanks Tony! We can all use a lil more discipline!

    Your welcome Rikkia!

  • Minimum Wage

    The only goal which is achievable for me is “make it to the next paycheck without completely running out of money.” (Right now I have $2.43 in the bank plus about $2 in loose change.)

  • Tony the Tiger

    Ginger Im feelin your setup!

    Perspective is key in the process. I know I lose sight of it all the time. Discipline is something I could stand to get a lil more of as well.

    Peace to you sista!

  • Rikkia

    Thanks Ginger. This blog was an answer to my prayers. Your advice is always so helpful.
    I was just wondering how I was gonna discipline myself to stick to it, Imotivated to get started now.