Carlos Ariel Then – Millennial Business & Finance Coach of Mr Then Consulting LLC – Instagram & TikTok: @mr_then – Learn More About Me.
Many of us have this desire to adorn ourselves with modern, high-in-demand educational degrees, programs and certifications. But what about financial literacy? How diligently have you ever worked on learning and developing better money habits? What courses have you attended to increase your financial aptitude? After all, these are going to help you make more sustainable financial choices in life. No?
In simple words, it is your good financial habits that define your wealth and not merely the numbers (how much you earn). Because if you do not know how to save, invest and multiply what you make, you are unlikely to achieve long-term financial freedom, irrespective of how large your earnings are.
So what money habits should you develop that can help you in achieving long-established financial goals?
1. Set a budget.
First and foremost, a crucial habit to develop is budgeting. A solid budget plan in view of your aspirations to achieve X level of wealth in Y amount of time with a Z of expanding potential is a good idea. It will allow you to keep track of your expenses alongside your income and keep you from living beyond your means. Since it is going to be the major determining factor in creating your overall financial picture, I recommend starting here.
2. Clear your debts.
Clearing bad debts as soon as possible is important because it will halt adding more interest and keep you from living beyond your means, as previously mentioned. Lowering your debts on things like credit cards will also help improve your overall credit score; amounts owed on accounts is a whopping 30% of your FICO score. Paying down your debt will allow for more cash to flow and will allow you to have more money to save and invest, which is what everyone should strive for.
3. Pay yourself first.
Every financial coach or guru has always said that saving a good portion of every paycheck before spending it on daily living expenses is crucial to making big moves. Obviously, you need to pay your bills, but if you save a portion for particular goals, you’ll be more likely to reach them. Ideally, it should be an automatic process so that a good amount of your income can be directly added to your investment and long-term savings goals. One thing I do in particular is designate a particular percentage of all of my earnings into different goal-based accounts.
4. Minimize unnecessary expenses.
It might seem obvious, but it is the hardest to implement — cutting one’s unnecessary expenses and discretionary purchases can be difficult. The glamorous social media world, modern amenities and high-end accessories presented as necessities are some main factors among many others that prompt people to impulse buy. It is no secret that financial stability is not about how much money you make. It is about how much money you are able to retain.
5. Learn smart ways of investing.
Although there are various ways to invest, successful investing depends on learning and staying up to date with changing trends. Investing early and starting small is better than jumping into a big, risky move that seems monetarily attractive but can cause a big loss. With all of these meme stocks and different crypto coins popping up every day, it is advisable that you seek expert advice before choosing investment plans or options.
6. Start a side hustle.
Starting a side hustle is always a good idea to add an extra layer of cash to your main income stream. Your side hustle should be based on your aptitude, skills and interests — what you like to do in your leisure time. I like to say if you treat it like a job, it’ll pay you like a job. It is your paying hobby that excites you to pursue it and fills your pocket with extra cash. But if you treat it like just another hobby, it will pay you like one. You can learn more about some of the high-paying side hustles that match your interests and how you can start with your available resources in my book titled Learn: Drop the “L” and Earn.
7. Build assets, not liabilities.
Last but not least, buying expensive houses, cars and other luxuries always seems appealing and exciting at first, but they are not going to generate wealth for you on a consistent basis. Utilize all the resources you have to learn how to build assets so that your money works for you rather than you working for it.
I, for instance, eventually did buy myself a luxury car, but rather than simply purchasing the vehicle and having it be a liability for me, I put my branding on it and changed my license plate to the word “CREDIT.” Doing this, alongside adding some minimal decals with my Instagram user name and a license plate frame that has my website and the words “Improve Your” on it, allowed me to take what normally would have been a liability and transform it into a marketing tool for my business.
The list of good monetary habits doesn’t end here. It goes on and gets updated over time, of course! But I wanted to leave you with some better money habits that can potentially make a difference for you.