Welcome back to Personal Finance Basics month at Optimize Your Life!
We’re spending February learning how best to get our financial house in order and take control of our money situation.
First, we figure out where we are. Then we figure out where we want to go. Finally, we plan a path to get from A to B.
Last week we learned how to figure out where we with regards to our personal finances.
Next comes the fun part.
Where do you want to go?
Remove the mental restraints. Remove the reality blinders. What do you want to do with money?
Feel free to start with an outlandish list.
I want to drive a Tesla and run my own charitable foundation and travel the world in first class. I want a vacation home in the mountains on a river somewhere.
I want to put my kid(s) through college and maybe some other family members too. I want to be able to take care of whatever needs my extended family has. I want never to worry about where the next paycheck is coming from. I want never to have to rely on a paycheck.
What’s on your list? Shoot for the moon while brainstorming. Have fun with it.
How Can Your Money Make a Better You?
Next, let’s go back to who we want to be.
Think about the type of person that you want to be. What type of traits to you want to engender? How do you want people to see you? What do you want your legacy to be?
How can money help make you that person?
I want to be more generous, so I should give more of my money to worthy charities like Give Directly. I want to help people, so I should give money to causes that help people, like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. I want to make positive political change, so I should support politicians and organizations that will further that.
How can money help make you the person you want to be?
Maybe you want to set aside money to travel to visit family more. Maybe you want to start college funds for your kids. Maybe you want to save towards creating your own scholarship fund.
Get creative! There are a lot of things that you can do with money. While we’re accustomed to a culture in which we are encouraged to buy the latest gadgets and the biggest houses and the nicest cars, there is still plenty of good that can be done with our money.
The final step today is to prioritize your goals.
You’ve now got a long list of things that you’d like to do with your money. And you probably can’t do all of them. At least not yet.
So what few things do you want to work on first?
Which are most important to you? Which would take the longest to save up?
You don’t have to pick one single goal.
Maybe you want to. Maybe you have credit card debt that you want to get rid of before you do anything else. Go for it.
But in general you can pursue multiple money goals at once.
I can put money into a 529 college account while also increasing my donations to charity. I can save for my retirement while also saving for a house.
You can also set goals as priorities for different stages of your life.
I would love to travel the world in expensive fashion, but it is not a top priority with young children. I can put that goal in a back pocket for later. I don’t have to straight up abandon money goals that don’t make the top of the immediate priorities list.
Join the Conversation!
Let’s figure out our goals! Get your list together and meet me back here on Thursday to discuss how to budget (or not) to hit our goals and live the financial lives that we deserve.
What’s on your list? How do you prioritize your goals? Do you have other exercises for coming up with money goals? Let us know in the comments!