January 2019 Tasks
January 1st, 2019
I saw a friend not too long ago, and she told me I was her “lottery plan.” When she and her partner win the lottery, I’m going to be the first person they call to figure out what to do with the money.
I was honored. Truly honored. (I also hope she doesn’t play the lottery, but that’s another newsletter.) But the truth is, you don’t have to win the lottery to need financial support.
Financial health is for everyone, not just for the wealthy. To be financially healthy, you have enough knowledge to take the right actions with clear intention, to achieve the results you seek. That’s the four-part framework that guides our work with clients: Knowledge, Action, Intention, and Results. If you can master those things for each category of financial wellness that matters to you, you win.
So make 2019 the year you win. Starting by embracing financial health this month with these suggestions for things to know, do, believe, and measure.
Things to Know
Financial health is for everyone, not just the wealthy. You can be financially healthy regardless of the number of zeroes in your bank account. In fact, there is plenty of evidence to show that more zeros in a bank account can work against your own fulfillment. The trick is to figure out what makes you happy and healthy, and then figure out how those things fit into your financial lifestyle.
Step One: Picture the future. Improving financial health begins with envisioning the financial future you’d most like to have. Once you know where you’re headed, it’s easier to chart the best path to get there.
So what does “financial health” look like for you? That’s the first thing you need to know.
Things to Do
Define “financial health” for yourself. Picture yourself at the start of 2020. Now imagine you feel completely financially satisfied, with no stress or worries about money.
Now define it in detail. Take some time to describe that feeling specifically, either through journaling or brainstorming, or even just making a list of what that feeling is like for you. What makes you feel satisfied at the start of 2020? Is it an specific amount of money you have? Is it how much you earn? Is it related to the things you have (like a home or a retirement fund)? Is it related to the things you don’t have (like debt)? Is it related to knowledge you’ve built in financial areas that cause stress (like taxes and insurance)?
Try to be as specific as you can in crystalizing this vision. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to build a budget to help you reach this point… And the easier it will be to identify a few things to measure to see if you are making progress along the way.
Things to Believe
Financial health isn’t complicated. Getting to a point where you feel financially empowered is easier than you think. It really does come down to picturing where you want to be, setting goals to get there, and building knowledge and habits along the way to sustain the level of empowerment you want.
It’s okay to fall short. The process isn’t complicated, but it isn’t necessarily easy to do either. The steps themselves may be easy, but the noise around them (changing habits, busy lives, feeling like you lack control) is challenging. Give yourself permission to fail this year. And be generous in offering forgiveness to yourself for those shortcomings. There is a lesson embedded in each failure, and by noticing the lesson, you can build the knowledge and actions that enable you to have success in the future.
Little steps shorten a long journey. This is only the beginning.
Things to Measure
Remember that vision you articulated a few minutes ago? Go back and make it even more specific. Make sure it has a deadline. And let’s use that to measure your progress for the year.
As we continue to talk about health and wellness topics in 2019, we’ll keep coming back to this vision, building more and more steps along the way to measure progress toward your goal. And we’ll even adjust it as needed. Because the real victory is progressing forward, not reaching the end.