Money can be a roadblock on our path. If we have an idea where our road is going, clearing the path is easier. We should start with questions about our path and not money. Begin with the type of life you want to live and then figure out how money fits the plan.
Working backward this way is a good strategy for several reasons. First, beginning with a goal helps us dream big without selling ourselves short due to fear from a lack of money. Second, starting with a life goal keeps priorities in line and helps prevent the pursuit of wealth as an end instead of a means. Third, budgeting is much easier once we know what resources we need.
Different lifestyles require different levels of funding. On one extreme, many folks are able to live “off the grid” and need very little money. On the other extreme, some folks require huge resources either for themselves or to support causes and institutions important to them. Once we have researched our desired lifestyle and established goals, we have a good idea of the financial resources needed.
Set Goals and Keep Score
The first step to reaching financial goals is a budget. We need to know where our money is going now to help us plan for the future. Tracking spending can be as low tech as writing all expenditures in a notebook. Or we can utilize electronic bank and credit card statements along with spreadsheets to track our activity. Either way, we need to know where every dollar is going so we can adjust if needed to reach our goals.
Watching our expenses over weeks and months is very helpful. Are certain areas of our life taking more and more money? Could cutbacks be made in certain areas? What changes would be the biggest help in reaching our goals? With a budget, we can start to answer these questions and move closer to our desired path.
There are many internal and external resources that can we can access. With money, a useful tool to track resources is a balance sheet. This helps us identify what we own and what we owe. Combined with a budget, a personal balance sheet tells us where we are at financially. It may also offer ideas on where to go.
Plan for the Expected and Unexpected
In The Second Insight we learn to reinterpret history from the perspective of synchronicities. One part of this history is that while we waited for answers to big questions, we focused on making our lives more secure. Although we are evolving, a certain amount of money is needed in the modern world for security. Once we provide for our security then it is easier to move forward. One of the best ways to do this is to build savings for expected and unexpected events.
There are different recommendations for how much we need in a “rainy day” fund. But, saving about six months of our income is wise. Layoffs, health, children, cars, houses, and many other parts of life can lead to unexpected expenses. We may not know exactly which money issue will come up, but we can be sure that something will. Setting aside money can help us stay on our path even in the middle of financial adversity.
Once we have a safety savings, we can start saving for other goals. Maybe new education or training is required for our next step. Perhaps shifting from a current career to a new pursuit will lead to lower income. Saving now can help us to have the resources needed to pursue our mission.