What a time to be alive. This year is certainly not what anyone expected, and we are now all working to figure out how and when things might go back to something resembling normal.
At the same time, all of this has put into perspective just how uncertain the future can be. What better time to take stock of your own goals and objectives for the years — and decades — to come?
While we all have different visions for our own lives, one shared hope is for a more financially secure future. But we all know that getting there will never be easy. After all, if it was all so simple, we would all be rich!
Nevertheless, there are some definite steps to take if you really want to start down the right path. And the following three tips will help you move closer to financial success in 2020.
1. Change Your Priorities
Most financial advisors will tell you to cut costs and increase your savings. This is of course good advice. But trying to implement it can feel like an exercise in willpower and discipline. Not buying the coffee you love or saying no to that new pair of shoes will feel restricting if you merely see it as some financial law from on high that you have to follow.
But it will all become much easier if you actually — and internally — change your priorities. Limiting spending on nonessential items will no longer feel like you’re being punished and restrained. It will actually start to become something you want to do. It can actually become fun!
If you can re-calibrate your priorities to a true, personal desire for long-term financial freedom, you will be able to see all the small stuff through this lens. And then it will become your own journey — not just something you feel like you are supposed to do.
2. Develop Personal Rules
All that said, some of the best — and more basic — finance 101 advice should definitely be followed. And it doesn’t always matter whether you truly want to do it or you end up doing it out of a feeling of obligation. Setting a budget, limiting spending, and putting money into a 401k when you’re young will work regardless of why you make it happen.
Thus, the best path forward is to read as much as you can about the top rules to follow and then determine which of the common financial tips make the most sense for you. Use these as your guiding principles and then establish your own set of personal rules to follow. Maybe Dave Ramsey says “never lease a car,” for example, but doing so actually makes sense for you.
Regardless of the specific “Do’s and Don’ts” you adhere to, make sure they align with your goals. Then try to never stray off course. Ultimately, it will be a lot easier to stick to a set of rules that you create for yourself rather than following someone else’s plan to a T. Just make sure you are using sound logic as you put them together and not acting foolishly.
3. Use Credit Responsibly
Many people have ruined their financial future by abusing and inappropriately using credit. That is not a path anybody should ever walk down. But just because some have been unable to manage their credit, doesn’t make credit itself inherently bad.
On the contrary, credit cards are a fantastic financial tool — when handled correctly. They not only allow for savvy investments and spending on current needs but they offer a wide range of benefits from rewards and cashback to discounts and airline miles. You need to be careful not to make missteps, but the responsible use of credit cards can definitely expedite you journey to financial success.
Really Finding Financial Success
Get a good income, cut costs, save money, and invest sensibly. Then profit! Sure, we all know the basics and recognize how this all works. But much like dieting — nobody thinks ice cream is a health food — the real struggle is in changing your mindset and actually adhering to these known principles.
In a lot of ways, it all comes down to changing your priorities. This will be the only true way to achieve your goals and it will be even easier if you set up your own financial rules to follow — and then stick to it! And within these rules, pay special attention to credit and using your cards responsibly.
Just by doing these three things, you will be in much better shape. Hopefully, at a time like this, you are learning what is really important in your life. So now is the time to take charge of your financial future.