How to set yourself up financially for the future and still live?
There seems to be a bit of divide between living in the now and set yourself up with future success. I remember in college, my homegirl moved to England to study abroad. For my 21st birthday, she wanted me to come to Spain, sip mimosas off the Mediterranean, and enjoy life. Always being “practical” I traded my trip to buy a car. I was proud to buy a car with no help at 20 years old. I bought a car to secure transportation commute 45 minutes to work and school, you know make money moves. Buying a car was responsible, so why did I feel like I was still missing something? Well, guess what after a bit of use of the car and heck of a lot of tickets, I totaled the car! However, after months of being afraid to drive, I regained another car. That was 7 years ago and I never made it to Spain. Since then, I have had several cars but not the experience. I couldn't help but think, what would have happened if I would’ve gone on the trip? I could've gone on the trip, and then got the car. I'm not sure why I didn't re-up to make the trip months later. One day I’ll make it to Spain, so delayed not denied, right? It’s so many scenarios on how things could’ve played out. What would you have done? I never want to compromise being able to live in the now and make responsible moves for the future. I must still remind myself that I can do both. There is true patience that is required but there are things to consider when trying to live in the now but make moves to secure a successful future.
1. Have a plan and have patience
You may be looking to minimize debt, travel the work, make money in new investments, purchase a new house while trying to pay your bills, save, and buy the newest fashions. It can be overwhelming trying to figure out the best way to manage your goals. Create a realistic and balanced plan (action plan, budget and spending plan) that you can stick to and then practice patience.
Pro tip: Have a financial coach/advisor
Financial coaches/advisors are not just for people who have a lot of money or debt. There are financial professionals for every stage of your journey. You may be good at managing your finances, however, a financial planner or advisor provides perspective, resources, and save time to reach your goals. Having a financial advisor does not replace you doing the work.
2. Save(ty) Net
Being able to plan for the future while still living means saving. It is easy to get caught up with bills that you don't save. After the bills are paid, you feel that you don't have money left to save. Trust me the money is there. Saving money starts by changing “every day” financial practices. Pay yourself first, as in save before you spend. You don’t have to drain or deprive your current lifestyle by saving either.
Resource: -Digit (enter code) – Now, being that I use to work at a financial institution, I am an advocate for traditional savings options and advocate for credit unions. However, I find Digit to be very to a user-friendly and convenient app that allows you to automate your savings to reach your goals. Digit happens to be one of them. I love it! I think it’s a great way to get anyone excited about saving.
3. Survive with minimal debt
Get adventurous with finding ways to lower your every day/monthly expenses. Finding these ways will help you, in the long run, to create healthy financial behaviors and help you remain conscious of where your money is going. Being debt free or having minimal debt is the goal! No matter how much money you have, you can still have a comfortable lifestyle if you are not weighed down by loads of debt.
4. Don’t allow other people to make decisions for you
I know the pressure is on while "adulting"; trying to get all of the ducks in a row. There may be different people pressuring you to make financial decisions. In one case, you may be working with creditors, that are eager to settle their debt. Their goal is to have your debt paid, they are not looking out for your well-being. YOU are responsible for your well-being! Sometimes, you must cut back to reach your financial goals but you do not have to extend yourself to a commitment that will jeopardize your current lifestyle. They don’t care if you are stretched thin, they just want their money. Don’t allow someone to make financial decisions for you. In another case, you may see trends for investments and purchases. It may seem like the right thing to do based off how well it may look for someone else. Make sure your decisions are realistic for where are you are.
You may find yourself with a deep desire to adult. You are ready to correct your financial past, stay fly in the present while trying to set yourself for a pretty amazing future. First, understand that it can be a process to get everything that you want, however, trust that it can happen. Everyone has a unique financial situation and there is more than one way to reach your personal goals. It is easy to constantly worry about securing the future (or even with correcting your past) that you can forget to enjoy life now. With proper planning, usage of resources, and willpower, it is possible to live your best life and set up for a good future.