If you’d stop and ask someone if they’d like to get ahead financially, their answer would likely be yes. But, what does getting ahead financially really mean?
When I was just getting started on my financial journey, I believed that getting ahead financially meant that I’d finally feel stable and all my money problems would go away. The truth is, money problems never truly go away. You’ll always have an unexpected expense or could make a mistake and buy something you don’t need or even pay a bill late by accident.
Like everything in life, there are things you can control and things you have no control over. The same goes for your financial situation.
Luckily, there’s a much better way to measure your financial success without adding up how much money you have in the bank or how incident-free your life is.
When the Unexpected Rears Its Ugly Head
Managing your personal finances is a lifelong journey. I know for me personally, there’s are months when I feel everything is going well. My budget is tame, I’m saving, keeping debt low, paying off my credit cards, etc.
Then, it just seems like everything that could possibly go wrong does so all in the manner of 2 weeks. Recently, we were faced with a few things in our home breaking and needing to get replaced. Then, my newer car started to have issues which left me with a 4-figure bill.
In spite of all of our unplanned expenses, I found myself remaining in a state of peace and positivity.
How is this?
Well, just because I don’t stress out about money anymore doesn’t mean I don’t have problems or expenses that pop up out of nowhere. We all do, so I expect stuff like what I mentioned to happen from time to time.
What gives me peace and keeps me on track is knowing that I have a clear plan – more on this in just a bit. Personally, I love to do financial checkups often. Every month I do a basic review of everything. Every 6 months I try to do a complete financial check-up which include checking up on things like:
- Budget (Did anything change? Do some categories need to be reduced, increased, or taken out)
- Investments/Retirement (For me it’s my Roth IRA)
- Debt repayment and savings progress
- Short-term and long-term goals
- Insurance (Reviewing coverage and updating beneficiaries)
But I do want to stop talking about me and highlight some clear ways that you can actually get ahead financially in the long run.
So if you’ve ever wondered, ‘what does getting ahead financially really mean?’ just keep reading.
Work on Your Mindset
At least 43% of people think of their financial situation at least once per day. What type of thoughts do you have about money and your situation? Mindset is one of the most crucial yet most underrated factors that can contribute to your financial success. It’s clear that your thoughts depict your actions in every area of life. So what you think and believe about money is crucial.
Then you think about it, everything you have and do now existed in your mind first. Take your current job for example. Before you got the job, you had to first think about getting a job, do research, and believe that you were qualified enough to apply and do well in the interview.
Mindset matters. A strong and positive money mindset is the first step toward getting ahead financially.
Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck
I know that this is easier said than done, but I truly believe we were not meant to live paycheck to paycheck. Yes, money is meant to be spent, but life is so unexpected so it’s important to save also.
You should never find yourself spending as much as you earn with no room to save. Track your spending, cut and reduce bills, negotiate on costs, and do whatever you can to ensure that more money is coming in than going out.
Have A Clear Plan
Next, you need a plan. No one just wakes up one day with more money and all of their goals achieved. You have to plan to get ahead financially. The best tool for this plan is a budget. That’s right. If you have trouble with budgeting, I want you to shift your thinking and just view it as a plan for your money because that’s exactly what it is.
You have the power and authority to tell your money where to go. As you pay down more debt and save, you’ll have even more control over how your money is used.
Discipline and Persistence
Finally, you need discipline and persistence if you want to get ahead financially. Realize that everything you thought about money and all your bad financial habits may have to go out the window sooner or later. It’s important to have discipline when developing new habits and working toward hard goals.
It takes time, but you may want to focus on developing a habit for 30 days and tracking your progress. For example, you can commit to tracking your spending, paying yourself first, or checking in on your budget every other day.
Persistence is also key. Realize that nothing happens overnight. You must work at it one step or action at a time and refuse to give up. Even if you do fall off track, brush yourself off and get right back to it. Over time, you’ll start to see results as your hard work pays off.
To summarize, getting ahead financially does not mean you’ll never have money problems or issues that come up. However, it does mean that you’ll make progress when you can. It also means that you’ll be clear on your goals and have a solid strategy in place that you can refer back to even when you do fall off track.
Your financial situation will never be perfect because life itself is not perfect, but you can get pr