Money management tips; the Basics!
We all want a million dollars in the bank, right?
But we struggle with money every day as we try to make a living for ourselves and carving out our future.
Understanding and getting to grips with our money is not always everybody’s cup of tea. However, you cannot go through life without learning the basics of money and how to manage it properly.
I want to tell you a story of two young boys who was at the start of their journey.
Two best friends Noah and Liam were arguing heavily.
They were ambitious and knew what they wanted to achieve, but had no idea how to.
Noah and Liam discovered that for them to be free and enjoy life, they needed a million dollars each.
They were fighting about how to do it and whether they should seek guidance.
Finally, they decided and made a promise to each other to follow whatever wisdom they found behind door nr.365….
Ever wanted to know how to make a million dollars, stick around.
This article is a condensed summary of the money management tips from “the six pages of an old man’s notebook”.
These six pages will show you everything you’ll ever need to know about how you can improve your finances, manage your money better and get to enjoy your life.
Page 1: It’s All in the Mind
All changes start with awareness because if you don’t know what you are supposed to know, you will never know what you should know. Huh..
No, I am not crazy, or am I?
It means that if you are not aware of how to properly manage your money, you will never know any better and go through life thinking there is no better way.
It is the reason you are reading this. It’s because you are curiously aware of your money situation and that you would like to improve it. (or you are just curious about the million)
Awareness fires up the neurones and sparks up the brain.
An example will be if you want to buy the new Black Ford Ranger you will start to see a lot of Black Ford Ranger’s all of a sudden. Why? Because your mind is aware of your focus and brings it to your attention.
Now use this and put your mind in the game. Focus on what you want to achieve and let your brain do its thing.
Take a clear decision on what you want and what you are willing to do to get to your money goals.
Write it down!
Stating your intention clearly and taking responsibility is a huge step already and not to be taken lightly. Your clear intention will guide your decisions and actions from now on.
Action Steps: Write down your “mindset statement” and what you promise yourself to do.
Putting it on paper has a mysterious power. Take it even further and announce your intention to your friends and family, so they will know how to approach and support you.
One step further?
Put your money where your mouth is and challenge yourself or someone to your goal!
Page 2: Expenses
That hole in your pocket, where all your money disappears to mysteriously, is the topic of this page.
What you spend your money on is the starting point of figuring out where you stand and will map out how you can clean up and improve your finances.
Your expenses, which are tied to your lifestyle, left uncheck will over time accumulate some unnecessary costs, some hidden and some just plain ridiculous.
Think of yourself as a business, and you are the CEO running it.
Combat your spending and start to track your expenses.
How you track it is up to you and goes with personal preference.
Some like spreadsheets like me, other use fancy apps that link to your account and do it automatically. Then you also get the old school pen and paper guys. (if you like more suggestions, let me know in the comments below)
No matter how you do it, the principle is, know where every penny is going.
Create categories, groups, types and mark them as fixed or discretionary.
Tracking your expenses will become a monthly habit. At first, it will be daunting and take a lot of time, but in a few months, it will be less than a 10-minute exercise.
Principle two, live within your means and don’t overextend yourself.
This will determine how much surplus money you will have to invest, how quickly you can get to financial freedom and how much money you will need for retirement.
Now that you know where everything is going, let’s see if we can create additional cash.
Building up a surplus is key to your financial success. A surplus is cash left after you have paid all the bills.
A surplus should be your primary aim, and it will save your life.
How do we do that? Here are some ideas.
- Sell your excess stuff. The garage sale has become so easy. It’s a snap of a picture on your phone, loading it online, and you are in business.
- Go through our expenses you are tracking. Look for all the subscriptions and ask if it is necessary and cancel all the ones you do not use.
- Look at the monthly bills like insurance and phone your supplier and request a discount, and don’t take no for an answer.
- Evaluate your healthcare costs, is your plan sufficient or maybe an overkill?
- Shop smarter. Look for coupons and discounts you can use as well as spending rewards.
Action Steps: Track your expenses and cut unnecessary expenditure so you can comfortably live within your means.
Page 3: Surplus
You have created some surplus or already have a surplus. As mentioned saving or creating a surplus is vital.
Make saving automatic and set up a regular transfer to deposit money into your savings account.
Also, try the 52-week saving challenge.
The question is what about al this extra money that I don’t use.
*Don’t be tempted…
Apply your surplus in the following ways.
- Build up a buffer. Many call it an emergency fund which to me sounds too much like crisis management.
Build up a buffer that if anything should happen your bills will be covered for 3/6/12/18 months. The size of the buffer is up to you and what you are comfortable with.
- Save to replace assets or buy new ones. You have the dream for that house on the beach, or your car is coming to the end of its life. Rather than let the bank finance you, fund yourself and buy your next asset cash. It is an empowering feeling!
- Pay off debt. Get rid of the chains. Debt is a destroyer of futures and of time. If it is not productive debt get rid of it fast. Rid yourself of debt first before any investments, unless you get substantial favourable returns with low risk.
List your debts and start paying the one with the highest interest(most effective) or if you want to see faster results the one with the lowest amount.
- Save for an upcoming expense, be it college, school or that long awaited beach vacation.
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Day 4: Assets & Liabilities
Know your Credit
Debt brings a lot of people to their knees.
Start by getting your credit score. You can get it online easily.It will give you a profile of all your debt and where you stand with your credit.
List all your debt with the amounts outstanding, interest rate, the term. Use this to determine your debt payoff plan as mentioned above and start to pay it off.
Know your Assets
Start and list all your assets and what they are worth. This will be everything you own.
Take the value of the assets and deduct the value of all your liabilities mentioned above. This will give you your net worth.
Net worth is what you are worth should everything be stopped today and sold off.
This is a figure worth tracking for the future, and you should aim to maximise it for your retirement.
Grow your net worth by investing your surplus in income producing assets with the lowest amount of risk.
Invest only if the growth on your investment is better than the growth you need to be financially free.
Day 5: Risk
The sum of all fears. There is a whole financial industry build around this.
What to look out for.
Insurance– This is to cover for anything unforeseen happening to you or your assets.
There is a cover for basically everything from your car to your life. The question you need to ask is can you live with or without it?
Let’s take life insurance. It is to cover you in the case of death so that you do not leave your loved ones with the burden of debt and bills to pay.
How much insurance then?
The question should rather be what’s the risk and can you live with it?
- What’s the value of your debt and outstanding bills?
- Do you want to leave a bit extra?
- That’s a good place to start. Should it be more? Back to question one.
- Can I live with it?
- Most of the insurance work the same way do you take the cover or not and if you take cover do not take less than what you can live with.
Get a Will or Testament drawn up. Again save your loved ones from the admin nightmare and make sure you leave your stuff and legacy to whom you intended it.
Organise and protect your financial records. Make sure you have all your financial documents saved and secure somewhere.
Retirement – This is a whole subject on its own.
Briefly put, make sure you grow your net worth with low-cost income generating assets with low risk and follow Warren Buffets 2 most important investment rules,
“Rule No. 1 is Never Lose Money.
Rule No. 2 is Never Forget Rule No. 1.”
Budget – Most people hate doing this. What I propose is doing it once and using a lifestyle rate or burn rate to track your progress.
Set Up a list of your expenses as you did with the expense tracking. Also, list your income.
Set it up optimally and according to what you want to achieve. If you need to guess, a few figures go ahead.
Take your Income and divide it by your surplus.
This will give you your burn rate(% of income left as surplus).
Income = Lifestyle or Burn rate
(Income – Expenses ) Surplus
Make sure monthly you are better of than your burn rate if not revisit your budget and investigate why.
Have multiple income streams. It is quoted all over that the rich have an average of 7 different income streams. Don’t just rely on one income source.
Safeguard your income by working part-time, doing side projects, work on that hobby or on that special skill. You never know when it might come in handy. Grow your skills and competencies!
Day 6: How to make a million dollars.
So to continue with my story, Noah and Liam were standing nervously in front of door 365. An old man slowly opened and invited them in.
They explained their predicament to the wise mentor who was intrigued by their request.
The man behind a massive empire of wealth sat back and thought for a minute.
He leant forward and spoke in a deep voice. He explained that if they were willing to follow certain steps, work very hard and never deviate from their plan that he would share a method with them to amass great wealth.
Without any consideration, two boys agreed.
The old man withdrew a notebook with six pages and two one dollars notes from his pocket and gave it to them.
He told them to take the dollar and duplicate it each year for 20 years. And if they follow the six pages wisdom and grow their competencies, they will end up with their desired fortune.
The boys looked at each other somewhat disappointed. They were expecting a silver bullet of some sort.
Out of respect the boys took the money with the six-page notebook and did not utter a word as they left the room.
Not knowing what to believe they decided to put their faith in the old man’s wisdom and agreed to honour the challenge they have set.
The boys went their separate ways and agreed to meet again in 20 years.
>Forward 20 years.
Noah waited for Liam in a restaurant not far from where they both grew up. Noah, cheerful and happy was surprised to see his friend enter with a lot less enthusiasm.
After the greeting rituals, they started sharing their twenty-year journey that passed.
While Noah was thrilled with $1,048,576 in his bank account just like the old man promised, Liam only had $256 to his name?
What happened to Liam?
Liam followed the wisdom of the pages and for 12 straight years never went off track.
Frustrated by the slow progress, in year twelve he took all the money he had, $4096 in total, and spoiled himself to some luxurious clothes and went on an expensive holiday.
Reality struck him when he was left with only one dollar, the same amount he started his journey 12 years ago.
His journey had to start all over.
When the day came to meet up with his friend he only had $256, eight years worth of “doubling” his one dollar.
Jonah on the other embraced the pages the old man shared and diligently persevered through all 20 years by following the wisdom and growing his skills and competencies.
He was rewarded with the freedom and now do what he wants when he wants and now enjoys the fruits of his labour.
You might think that the $4096 Liam spent is not that bad, but let’s compare the results over the same period.
In comparison, Noah had $1,048,576 in the bank, Liam after restarting had $256 in his pocket with some luxuries he bough and an expensive vacation worth $4096 to talk about. That’s a total of $4352
It would take Liam an additional 12 years to get to the same level as Noah is now.
Who would you rather be?
The principle here is not about how you make a million dollars. It is to determine your plan of action to become free. Then to productively and diligently follow it till you succeed.
Then you can enjoy the freedom life has to offer.
The more you improve your competencies and skills the better you’ll be at growing (doubling) your money each year.
Page six final thoughts on how to improve your finances.
Feed the grey stuff.
Read and stimulate your brain and get more competent with the subject of money.
You will always work or be in contact with it, so you might as well get to know it.
I always say you need to know enough to be able to tell the so-called experts what to do. Otherwise, you give away your responsibility to a financial institution while you take all the risk.
Put those dreams on paper. Write down the things you aim to achieve.
Sometimes the goals you set is not so far off as you might think. Owning an island is crazy but renting it for a week every year is not that bad, so why not save up for it and experience your dream life in action.
A money date. Do you involve and plan the finances with your significant other. Try it out, also get the kids involved. The sooner, the better.
Lastly, there is a saying, give, and you shall receive. Always be grateful and give in return for the blessing you have received.
Hope you enjoyed the overview and that there were valuable takeaways for you on “How to make a million dollars & the six simple Money management tips you need for life!”
This was a very condensed overview of the whole financial planning and personal finance industry. If you would like more in detail discussions or further info, please comment below or contact me.