I was staggered recently when talking to a high-achieving lady, who admits she hasn’t been focused on her money life and was unaware how her super fund compared to the best of breed. When I told her that I write about the best super funds about every six months, she still found excuses for not understanding that reading me each day was a small ‘task’ in order to be financially better off.
It made me think about the questions I’d love to ask someone like my friend and then put those questions on show for everyone to think about asking themselves.
First question: Is your money situation as good as you’d like it to be? This makes someone think about how much they earn and how much they need to live their most desired life.
A desired life could involve the money needed to live materially happy, the money to ensure their future will be at least comfortable for themselves and their loved ones and the money needed to perhaps help the people they want to help.
I know happiness is not all about money but gee, it can be a nice part of the mix that creates some happy moments in life. I’ve also known great families that did it tough because the income per person in the big family meant the kids felt like poor relations at school, which they coped with but made them feel second-rate at times, in what can be a pretty hard world.
Second question: If you’re not happy with your money situation, then what are going to do about it? If you’re happy, then you probably don’t have to keep reading but if you’re like most people, you probably know you need to lift your money game.
Let’s assume you aren’t doing cartwheels when you think about your income and bank balances, then also assuming you’d like to change that, you have to understand that if nothing changes, nothing changes.
You have to have the guts to do things differently and you can’t make excuses, unless you want to use those excuses to stop you confronting your role in your pecuniary predicament or, to put it bluntly, your creation of your crap cash position.
Third question: now that I accept my role in my unwanted money situation, what can I do to change things? This is a crucial step forward in your money life and I’d tell you that you need to list your goals and evaluate how far away you are from making them happen.
Let’s say you want the equivalent of $1 million in super, in future dollar terms, when you stop working. You might want to have a house in a suburb or town where you want to live and an investment apartment in a beach area. You then have to price these goals and come to know how much you have to earn to pay off the loans that make them happen.
This links your goals to the income you have now and what you need to earn to make them happen.
Fourth question: How am I going to get the income I need? This will force you to think objectively about your life, your education, your commitment to self-improvement, your guts to work harder than the average person and your willingness to make changes.
If you’re not happy with average or below average for your life and your income, then you have to be up for a makeover.
Fifth question: What does a makeover entail? It’s so obvious but I will spell it out so it’s crystal clear. If you’re earning $50,000 a year but need $100,000, then you might need a second job, a part-time business, a higher degree, a training course, a mentor, a business coach, a life coach, a tenant (if you already have a property) or maybe a life partner to share your dream and their income to make it happen! You might need to see what government help is out there and if the tax system offers help to build your wealth.
For example, when I was a young man, most people thought negative gearing was something wrong with the clutch of a car! However, many people have used this method of borrowing and using the taxman to buy an investment property that not only reduced their tax bill but gave them income or capital gain that became crucial in building their wealth and making their dreams/goal come true.
A makeover takes something that doesn’t look great and turns something into something greater, better and more attractive. If you want that for your money situation, then a makeover is for you.
Sixth question: Who’s going to do the makeover? Well, if you have the time, the ability to be objective about yourself and the inclination to be your own adviser, then you could do it. However, if that doesn’t sound like you, search for an honest financial adviser, even though you might think that’s hard because this is about you, your financial future and any happiness you might link to the availability of cash in the bank. Some people find a good adviser and see them every year. Others go just once and get a plan that they monitor, while committing to learn as much as possible about important money-generators such as shares, bond funds, financial product comparison websites and the best money info publications (in the online or in the real reading world) so eventually they can become their own advisers. We have over 5,000 subscribers who receive our online newsletter (The Switzer Report) who are self-educating and self-advising and get insights from some of the best stock pickers and wealth-building strategists in the country. The knowledge and ‘inside information’ is there but you have to see it as important enough to get it inside your head. But if you don’t want to do it yourself or don’t think you can, then your job is to find a trustworthy adviser!
Seventh question: Do you really have the guts to make a permanent change? It’s tennis time with the US Open on right now, so let me share a quote from a tennis great that pushes me in everything in life I find that’s really hard to endure. You know, like diets, losing weight, getting fit and giving up something you know is fun but is not good for you, like drinking to excess or too regularly!
Chris Evert once said about her huge win rate in professional tennis that “There were times when deep down I wanted to win so badly I could actually will it to happen. I think most of my career was based on desire.”
Chrissie had a 90% success rate in pro-tennis — what a winner!
So I ask you: do you really desire a better money life? If so, go for it and don’t make up loser excuses. As I always argue, anything worth doing, is worth doing for money!