When people casually ask me what I do, and I say I am a Financial Adviser, the next question tends to be “what should I invest in?” or “is property a good investment?” which normally morphs into “how much money do I need to live on?”
My usual response is “how long is a piece of string?”, or even better “it depends”. Just kidding!
These questions can only be answered by similarly vague answers – “where do you want to go?” or in other words, “what are your goals and objectives?”
The real question you’re probably asking is “can I meet my goal of X?” or “how do I get to Y?” When you’re looking at the lifestyle you want now, over the medium term and ultimately during retirement, there’s some planning that needs to be done. What do you want out of life? How much risk are you willing to take on? What happens if I get sick or ill and I can’t work?
My experience is that it’s all well and good to have a plan, but what will really build your wealth is discipline and implementation. It’s like saying “I’m going to lose weight”. If you don’t do anything about it or put together a strategy to make it happen – it probably won’t. Furthermore, if you don’t put the plan into action, and then continually review, tweak, and assess the plan, it definitely won’t happen.
So, in saying that, here are my top 5 tips on getting the lifestyle you’ve always planned:
- Start with setting realistic goals: make sure you’re adjusting your expenses to what you can realistically achieve. It can be really demotivating when your expectations don’t meet your reality.
- Get help by developing an effective plan: seek professional advice. For instance “I know I don’t have the skills or qualifications to fix my own car so I’ll take it to the professionals who can.” Enough said.
- Reward your progress: set short term goals, and if achieved, reward yourself. I am not saying to give up everything now in sake of the future lifestyle, but be disciplined and reasonable.
- Make it automatic: the more automatic the better. 'Pay yourself first' is some of the best advice you can receive. If it is a savings plan, tuck the monthly contribution away first, then pay all necessary bills, what’s left? Discretionary spending!
- Work together to reach your goals: make sure you have the right players on your team. Review the strategy, assess your progress and make changes if required. Your goalposts will most certainly change too so both players need to be aligned.