What have you been meaning to do, but have been putting off?
Procrastination affects all of us in some shape or form. It’s a very human thing to do.
But the problem is, when we procrastinate, nothing is created and no progress is made. Time passes and small problems can become big problems.
Financial procrastination is especially dangerous because so many money matters are time sensitive. The longer we wait, the harder it becomes to reach our most important goals and objectives. So what can you do to get better today?
I’ve helped countless people get better with money over the course of my 20+ years as a financial advisor. I’m honored to be named to Investopedia’s list of the top 100 financial advisors many years running.
My goal is to share four simple things you can start doing immediately, that can have a big impact long-term.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Improving your credit score
- Conduct a cash flow audit
- Create your debt-free plan
- Clarify and crystallize your financial goals
Let’s get started.
Improving your credit score
Credit plays an important role in our lives. It can be an important factor in where we live, the vehicle we drive, even where we work. We can all agree that having good credit is far superior to having bad credit. So what can we do today to improve our credit?
The first thing is getting a copy of your credit report, which you can obtain from sites like AnnualCreditReport.com. It’s estimated that over 40 million Americans have some type of discrepancy on their credit report. These discrepancies can negatively impact your score.
When you get your report, look for information that is inaccurate, such as:
- Names and addresses that aren’t associated with you
- Accounts that you have closed and are no longer active
- Debts which have been paid, or are incorrect
- In short, things that shouldn’t be there
Should you find any such information, it’s important to contact the credit bureau immediately to correct your report.
You can improve your credit score in the following ways:
- Properly use your credit and make all payments on time. If you’re able to set up automatic payments, that can help ensure on-time payments
- Reduce your utilization to 30% or less. If you have $10,000 of available credit, bring your balance to $3,000 or less
- Pay off existing debt
- Keep old accounts open
- Reduce the number of new credit applications. If you must open new accounts, proactively try and open them around the same time
If you’d like help in monitoring your credit, or getting discrepancies removed, one of our Certified Partners, Dovly can help.
Here’s a post detailing the subject: How Do I Improve My Credit
Finally, check out our Improving Your Credit course if you’d like to dig deeper.
Conduct a cash flow audit
It’s easy to neglect our cash flow, and there’s immense value in conducting an audit of yours from time to time.
I remember the first time I did a deep dive into mine years ago. My now wife and I hadn’t been paying close attention, and we were trying to save money. Between the two of us, we found over $300 of recurring monthly expenses for things we no longer used, or no longer valued enough to keep paying.
To conduct your audit, simply log into every account you use to spend money (bank accounts, credit cards, etc) and go through every transaction. If it’s been 12 months since you’ve done this, look at the previous 12 months. If it’s been 36 months, look at the previous 36.
I’m confident you’ll also uncover things you’re paying for that are no longer serving you. When you do, cut them out. If it turns out you miss them, you can always add them back in later.
Here’s a detailed post on the topic: How to Master Your Cash Flow
Create your debt-free plan
Credit card debt is the worst. It stresses us out and keeps us from pursuing other important financial goals. I was stuck in credit card debt for much of my 20s, so I know the cost of living with the debt.
While you probably can’t pay off your debt today (if you can, please do), you can create your plan for paying it off. I think much of life is about setting an intention. Take out a piece of paper (or open a document on your computer) and write at the top, “I will be debt-free.” From there, write down all your credit card debt, the interest rates, minimum monthly payments, and companies. Knowing what you’re up against is a big part of this process.
Once you know the total amount, you can create a plan for paying it off. From there, you can look to your cash flow and budget for ways to free up funds for making it happen.
Here’s a detailed post on the topic: Debt-Free: Get Back to Living.
Also, in service of helping you get out of debt, you can access our Get Out of Debt course for free.
Clarify and crystallize your financial goals
We (humans) have the ability to think about the future we desire, make plans for bringing it to life, and then work to make it happen. I think it’s a superpower.
And it’s a superpower not enough of us use.
I know I neglected mine for years. In fact, it wasn’t until I was 35 that I finally sat down and wrote out personal goals. Today, I can tell you it’s made a huge difference in my life.
How about you? When was the last time you sat down, thought about, and wrote down your goals? In service of helping you do it, you can access our Goals course for free as well.
Here’s a detailed post on the topic: How to Effectively Think About and Set Goals.
Also, once you’ve thought about the financial life you want, our Certified Partner OnTrajectory can help put numbers to your vision with their free trial.
Procrastination keeps us from pursuing the lives we want. Taking the time to take action on these four things will put you in a better financial situation. You’re someone who is capable of being financially successful. The time is now.
If you’re ready to take control of your financial life, check out our DIY Financial Plan course.
Connect with one of our Certified Partners to get any question answered.
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