When it comes to building a plan for financial success it’s important to make sure that you are following a process that helps you live your best life, not just get by. As I wrote about a few weeks ago the first step in any true financial plan should be to get a firm grasp on who you are when it comes to using and dealing with money. In other words, you need to discover your financial behaviors if you want to increase the odds that you will achieve financial success.
When most people start financial planning, they jump right into saving or investing their money before they have any idea at all where the money comes from or how to make the most of it. While saving and investing for your goals, both long and short term, is important, you need to first know why you are doing it and how it fits in with your overall plan. So, before you jump ahead to investing or saving you need to start at the beginning and understand who you are and how you relate to the money in your life. Once you do that you will be better positioned to achieve the long-term financial success and happiness you are looking for.
You should start the financial planning process by identifying who you are and how you relate to the money in your life. By identifying your financial “standard operating procedures” you will be able to address any inconsistencies that exist between how you want to act and how you might actually act.
Research in the field of behavioral finance has shown that many of us have underlying beliefs or predispositions in dealing with money. This “internal financial programming” can sometimes directly conflict with our external behaviors, creating a push-pull effect in our lives. Identifying these inconsistencies is a vital step to establishing the values you want to be guided by as you go through life. If you define your values without the awareness of any potential “bad” financial behaviors, you risk going through life in a state of constant financial sabotage, destroying any good financial progress by lapsing back into destructive habits you never knew existed!
All of this became evident as a result of the work done by Thomas J. Stanley and William Danko, who released “The Millionaire Next Door” in 1996. The book was the result of over 20 years or research into how the wealthy became wealthy. It wasn’t because of being born with a silver spoon in their mouth, advanced degrees from elite schools or receiving a big inheritance, as many people believed. It was because of specific behaviors, namely hard work, frugality and diligence in saving and planning.
Since the release of the books, much more work has been done in the world of “behavioral finance” and the knowledge of how people relate to money (and as a result interact with it) has increased dramatically. Thomas Stanley’s daughter has taken that research and built a company that is focused on helping financial planners like myself work with clients to help them identify and understand how they relate to and behave with money.
There are six key behaviors that help determine our ability to be successful with money, and as a result be successful with our financial plan:
Each of these behaviors can have a huge impact on how you behave with money. All of us are “wired” differently and knowing where we are in relation to each of the behaviors can help us achieve a higher level of financial success and happiness.
Assessing these behaviors and knowing where you fit on a scale for each is important. “Great” you might be saying. “How in the heck am I supposed to discover my financial behaviors?”. Well, you can learn a lot about the behaviors by reading The Millionaire Next Door and applying them to your personal situation. That can work well for some people. Another alternative is to take a financial behaviors assessment. I’m happy to say that I have access to a scientifically valid financial behaviors assessment that is based off of the work of Dr. Thomas Stanley, author of The Millionaire Next Door. I use the assessment to help my clients identify and optimize their financial behaviors so that they have a greater chance of living their lives by design, instead of by default.
To help you gain insight into your own financial behaviors I am offering completely FREE access to the full “Building Wealth” assessment for a limited time. This assessment is only available through financial planners like myself who subscribe to the DataPoints service. Here’s how to get your free assessment:
There’s absolutely no cost or obligation and the report is yours to keep. Your results will be kept confidential and will not be shared with anyone.
I will keep this offer open without restriction until June 1st, 2018. After that date, I will handle any requests for the free assessment on a case by case basis.
If you’re serious about improving your financial health and happiness don’t pass up this opportunity to gain the valuable insight the assessment offers!
If you have any questions about your own situation, or would like an independent second opinion on anything in your financial life, you can contact me or set a time for a no obligation call to discuss things further. If my services might be a match for your needs I’ll let you know. If not, I’ll let you know that as well.
To leave me feedback, comments and suggestions on how I can make this blog better, Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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