Financial Planning vs Planning to be Financial

by Crystal on April 5, 2009

istock_000002613046xsmallThey say that you need to have a budget, and cut your expenses until you can live within it. You’ve heard it over and over again, right? Maybe even tried to do it – it’s not easy, is it?

Here’s the thing I’d like you to think about, though. It’s common advice, and it’s free. So what’s it actually worth? Are the people who are telling you it’s what you need to do, really living the kind of life you want to copy? Usually, I’d suggest, the people that tell you that you need to live that way, probably aren’t the rich ones. If you’ve read books like “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki and Donald Trump’s “How to Get Rich” you’d know that isn’t how the people living the good life operate at all. They work out their expenses (or the cost of living the way they want to) and then figure out how to expand their income to fit it. Personally, I much prefer the second approach! :

In the interests of brutal honesty, I need to tell you that there is one big problem with trying to go that way. There is an incredible amount of pressure behind ’conventional wisdom’. It’s surprisingly hard to buck the trend and do your own thing – that’s probably why there’s so few people do it. One of my favourite books is called “When They Zig You Zag” by Siimon Reynolds. (No, that’s not a spelling mistake, but it’s a long story.) ; It’s only a thin little volume, but it’s packed with absolute gems of wisdom about how to blaze your own path.

I love books like that. When you’re surrounded by people stuck in the mindset of 9 to 5, living a blinkered version of life within self-imposed limits, books can be a lifeline that help you remember that you don’t have to give up your dreams and allow yourself to be squashed into a mold you hate. I’ve relied on Siimon and many other similar books in learning how to follow “the road less travelled”.

If you’d like to start down that track yourself, here’s a few small steps that should help you make your shift from one mindset to another, without attracting the attention of the naysayers.

  1. Don’t tell anyone your intentions unless they’re already rich themselves. Anyone you tell will give you their advice and/or opinion on what you want to do, whether you want it or not. Since most of the people around you probably aren’t already well off, you can be pretty sure their advice won’t help. You can also be pretty certain they won’t like it if you ignore what they tell you to do, so the best course is: don’t give them the chance to give it to you in the first place.
  2. Build a support network. Remember the point above – ideally you want to be in touch and talking with people who are where you want to go, but if there’s nobody in your circle who’s reached that point, start with people who are better off than where you are now, and can at least help you progress that far (chances are good they’ll be progressing too, and can keep helping you go forward). As I already mentioned, even books and mp3 tracks can be a source of support.
  3. Start with the basics. Draw up your ’unbudget’ and work out what your target earnings are. Once you know that, you know how much you have to expand your earnings to get there.
  4. Expand your ideas about yourself. If you haven’t read “Believing in a Better Lifestyle“, that’s a good start, but as I’ve said before: your income is limited mostly by your beliefs about what you’re worth. Use affirmations, subliminal videos, whatever you feel comfortable with and start feeling like you’re worth the amount you’ve set as your goal.
  5. Once you know what you want to be worth, the next step is to find ways to deliver value that equals that amount. If you’re aiming at $60,000 a year, what do people earning that much do, so that employers/clients/customers are willing to give them that amount of money? What skills, knowledge or experience do you have that people might value and that you can share in return for their contributions? It’s an important principle: you have to give out before you can get back. Find a way or ways that you can expand what you give out, to increase what you get back.
  6. Watch your language. How many times do you use phrases like “money doesn’t grow on trees”, or “I can’t afford that”. You need to start pulling these from your vocabulary. They’ll only hold you back. Find alternatives that are more positive, like “I have other priorities I’ve chosen to spend my money on right now”.
  7. Read to grow. Nobody gets threatened by you reading. Pick the people you most want to learn from in the big leagues and start reading their books, biographies, or if they have online newsletters, twitter accounts, whatever; subscribe to those. That gets them one step closer to being in your inner circle and, who knows, you may see some way you can help them out, delivering value and putting them directly in contact with you.
  8. Ideally you want to find a mentor who’s made it to where you want to go, and there’s no better way to catch their attention than by finding a way to help them meet their own needs… PS DON’T start out the conversation by telling them your story, hopes and dreams. Until they know you, they don’t care. Focus on them first, and once you’ve established yourself as trustworthy and valuable in their eyes, THEN you can make your request for their help. Their time is valuable, though, so make sure you’ve got specific questions for them to answer, and can tell them exactly what actions you want them to take – along with what it will cost them (even if it’s not money, but time, that’s still valuable to them) and what THEY’LL get in return for it.
  9. Finally, one of the hardest steps to take, but one that will make the biggest long-term difference: minimise the negative influences that might be holding you back. Is there someone in your inner circle who’s always full of doom and gloom, convinced the world is out to get everyone, and that it’s a jungle out there? It’s their right to believe that, but you can be pretty sure that success is highly unlikely to happen in the face of those type of beliefs. It’s your right to choose whether you continue letting that influence into your life. If they don’t take your gentle reminders that you don’t feel the same way, and you’d rather not hear it, then you may have to find some way to move them out of your orbit. Like I said, this one isn’t easy…

Remember, while many of the friends and family you have around you now would love to hear about your plans, unless they’re closer to where you want to be than you are and can pull you along, it’s better to be careful about letting them into your dreams. No matter how good their intentions, you’ll often find they either passively or actively sabotage your efforts to keep you where you are now – after all, that’s where they’re comfortable, and they like having you around. Most of the time they’re not even aware of what they’re doing, but you need to prevent it ever having the chance to happen.

The best way to convince people that you’re worth more is NOT to start telling them, and definitely not to spend time arguing the point, but to quietly start believing it, taking the actions that make it happen, and then let the results convince them without you ever saying a word.



{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Туарманос April 8, 2009 at 7:12 am

Хорошо пишешь, подпишусь на рсс.

(Google translation: Good write, consider subscribing to the RSS.)

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Josephine April 5, 2009 at 11:55 pm

Just wondering what makes you an expert in financial success? From reading your blog you do not appear to be qualified to advise others. From the recent posts published you are a single, morbidly obese, office worker who does not appear successful in any area of life. Surely just reading books on a topic does not make you an expert – especially when you fail to apply any of the principles to your own life.

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Crystal April 7, 2009 at 8:10 am

Thank you for your comment – I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect illustration of my point.

I’m also very glad you picked up on the irony of my post suggesting that you evaluate the worth of free advice.

You’re absolutely right, I hadn’t put a lot of personal details about my background up here. I was hoping to let the information I provide stand or fall on it’s own merits, rather than because of the string of letters I have after my name, or the higher than average salary I enjoy. (That’s one of the reasons I haven’t tossed in the ‘office work’ and just gone online: the higher the cliff the more daunting it is to jump off it…). I don’t talk a lot about the successes I’ve had here, mostly because this blog is meant to be about the goals I’m still working towards, and sharing the journey. You are, of course, perfectly free to have your own opinions, and to choose for yourself whether my journey has any usefulness for you. I hope it does, but if not I wish you all the best.

One last point: The principles I talk about here on the blog have been applied, and after years of developing and refining them, in fact I’ve just about doubled my income in a single step, not once but three times now. That, too, I’d like to verify before I start trumpeting about it, so later this year I’ll be trialling the same methods with a few other people to see if they get the same results.

Best Wishes,
Crystal

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