Hands up who wants to be financially successful? While you may not all yearn for the riches of President Trump, or Warren Buffet, I’d hazard a guess that if we define financial success as the security of knowing that whatever life throws at you, you have the financial resources to cope with it, then it’s something that all of us strive for. And something that stand a great chance of attaining.
You don’t have to be stinking rich to achieve financial security, it is easily within reach for anyone earning a reasonable living, but it doesn’t just fall out of they sky like manna from Heaven. You aren’t going to wake up one day with a six figure sum in your bank account, you have to put in some effort. This doesn’t have to be too onerous or time consuming, it’s more a question of adopting certain habits. So here you have it, the habits which, from my vast experience of financial planning, I believe will turn you into a financially successful person.
More specifically, ditch unsecured debt. Taking on secured debt such as a mortgage can be a wise financial decision to make as, although you will pay interest, when the mortgage is paid off you will have an asset. The same cannot be said of debts on store cards and credit cards – debt racked up on those are a sign that you are living beyond your means. They have to go! So make a resolution to only purchase what you can afford to pay for in the here and now, bin the cards and make a concerted effort to dedicate part of your monthly income to paying them off. It may take time but you will never be financially successful with debts hanging over your head.
Learn to make sacrifices
As the Rolling Stones said ‘You can’t always get what you want’ although I’m not sure they were talking about finances! If you are committed to living within your means then there will inevitably be sacrifices to make. The luxury five star hotel might be calling for your annual holiday but you’ll probably have just as good a holiday in the four star one. Eating out four times a week certainly makes life easy but cooking at home instead can free up a lot of cash for other things. Beware of depriving yourself of too much though – you could burnout on your good intentions if you sacrifice too much. It’s all about balance.
Saving is absolutely vital to securing your financial future and the best thing about it is that once you have savings, your money starts working for you because instead of paying interest on debts you are earning interest on your savings. The effect over a long period of time can be quite astonishing as compound interest works its magic. The key ingredient for compound interest is time, which is why I always recommend to clients, even the young ones fresh on the career ladder who think they have better thing to do with their money than save, that they start putting money aside.
I have learned over the course of my career that some people don’t see themselves as ‘investors’. They feel safe sticking to the safety of bank deposits rather than take the risks involved in investing in other assets such as the stock market. The irony is that since the financial crisis money in the bank is earning such little interest that it risks being outstripped by inflation. You really can do better! Investment risk can be controlled diversifying your investments across different assets. If you don’t have the confidence to go it alone, find a financial adviser that you can trust who can help you build your wealth within risk parameters that are acceptable to you.
Don’t see yourself as a victim
You might not have had an easy start in life but you can’t use it as an excuse for a lack of financial success. We are all ultimately responsible for our own destinies. Former Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, grew up on the wrong side of the tracks but it hasn’t stopped him becoming a successful billionaire. If you see youself as a victim and blame your lack of success on someone or something else, financial success will remain elusive. Take control of your own life, learn from the misfortunes that you have suffered and let your history be something that drives you on to success, rather than something to blame for your failure.
While the path to financial success may not be easy, it can be achieved by making small changes in your life. Adopting the five habits above is a good start but I’ve so much more to say on this so come back next month for five more habits of financially successful people. Your future self will thank you for it!
Infinity Financial Solutions provides impartial, tailor-made, personal financial advice to clients in Cambodia and Southeast Asia. Should you wish to contact Paul, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.infinitysolutions.com