Why You Must Prioritize To Thrive-FCP007

“Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work.”

— H. L. Hunt

Decision Time

Life is all about decisions. We don’t have unlimited resources or unlimited time. As a result we must make decisions about how best to allocate our limited resources. No matter where we are at financially, where we live or what we do for a living, it’s the decisions we make and the priorities we set each and every day that largely determine where we end up.

We’ve all probably heard the stories of the lotto winners who are bankrupt in 5 years and on the other end,  the janitor who died and gave 5 million dollars to charity. In both of those cases. The “ending” of the story was the result of decisions made well before the end. Is either one of those better than the other? Not necessarily. The janitor, while he gave millions to charity on his death, might have lived a life of extreme self-deprivation and never really enjoyed life. On the other hand the lotto winner might have a had a hell of a fun time in those 5 years before going bankrupt. Which one is “better”? I guess it depends on how you look at things and where your priorities are. Everyone is different and as a result, everyone’s goals and objectives are different, for better or worse. The important thing is to do what you can to best manage the resources you have, in the way that you want them managed throughout our lives.

If we take the time to evaluate and prioritize our lives based on what we truly want to achieve, there is a much better chance that we will Thrive rather than just survive.

In today’s world, pretty much every decision we make, good or bad, involves money in some way. We either give it up to get something we want or give something up in order to get some of it. Because of that people often assume that money is the ultimate goal, which is wrong.

Your Life or Your Money

Money isn’t the goal…life is the goal. Having a bunch of money in the bank at the expense of missing out on opportunities to live/enjoy life isn’t really an optimal situation for most people. Money is just a tool to be used. Money by itself does nothing and means nothing. The entire “value” of money is based on what other people will accept/provide for some of it. So, In order to live the life we want to live, however we define that, it’s up to us to set money-based priorities in pretty much every area of our life and review and update those priorities. By doing that we can help allocate our limited resources, balance out the long-term vs short-term needs while living the life we want to live.

Prioritize, Prioritize

Most decisions aren’t black and white, they’re more gray, just like most things in life. When we approach the decisions with a more open mind, the possibilities are much greater and we can really “have our cake and eat it too” to a certain extent. It’s much easier to view things as opportunities rather than obstacles if we have taken the time to establish some priorities around our lives and our money. Those priorities can give us some context in which to make our decisions and Once we have the context in which to operate we can create many more opportunities. Now, coming up with priorities and creating context just doesn’t happen, it does take some planning. But, the planning doesn’t need to be super-complicated, it just needs to be realistic and consistent. Here’s the basic steps:

  • Take some time to get an honest accounting of where you are at from a financial and time perspective, How much money and time do you have available to you and where are you currently allocating those resources? This is the starting point, your current reality.
  • Think about where you want to be and what you want to be doing in the future, say 1 year, 5 years, 10 and 20 years out. Be as specific as you can and write down your answers. Consider what you enjoy doing, what you don’t particularly like doing and what you would like to change. These are your current goals.
  • Begin to put some numbers to the goals and get an idea of what might take of your available money or time to reach them. Don’t worry about getting the exact number, just get in the ballpark so you know what you’re dealing with. If you don’t have enough money or time to meet the goals then you have a “gap” that needs to be accounted for.
  • Now here’s where the priorities start to come in. Look at any gaps and decide how important the goals associated with them are. Is it something that’s Extremely important, somewhat important, or not that important given everything else that’s going on. There are no right or wrong answers. Build an initial list of priorities and start working towards your goals.

Once you’ve started to prioritize things the picture usually becomes clearer and you find yourself empowered to start making things happen by consciously and actively making decisions instead of waiting for decisions to be made for you. As time goes by your goals will change and your priorities will be re-shuffled, which is all completely normal. The key is that you will be actively involved in the process instead of passively going through life.

That’s thriving instead of just surviving!

What I’ve described above is essentially what happens during the financial planning process. A true financial plan considers your time as well as your money and helps you prioritize both in order to achieve your goals. If you would like some help in building your own list of goals and priorities feel free to reach out to me at mark@financialclaritypartners.com

The Fun Money Segment-Save Money On Your Jerky:

I love Jerky as I’m sure many of you do. Whether it’s made from beef, turkey, or some other tasty meat, jerky is a great snack. It’s full of protein, compact and portable. The problem is that if you buy it at the store, it’s darn expensive. Jerky costs anywhere from $1.30 to $3.00 an ounce (or more) for fancy pants “Artisan” jerky! Well, to combat the high price I’ve made my own jerky many times over the years. Homemade jerky is still a treat but by paying attention to ingredients and buying quality beef on sale I can get my cost down to much less than $1.00/ounce.

The Best Jerky Recipe

I have tried a number of recipes and methods over the years with varying degrees of success. My brother recently turned me onto a fantastic recipe from AmazingRibs.com that is easy and tasty. The recipe is soy sauce based but adds some molasses, whiskey, and hot sauce to the mix. Unlike many recipes, the AmazingRibs recipe suggests cooking the jerky for a couple hours and then dry the jerky. I’ve used the recipe a couple of times with excellent results. So, if you’re into jerky and want to save some cash while eating the good stuff check out the recipe.

Jerky is just one example of the many food items you can make yourself and save big money over store bought items. A little research, motivation and work on your part is all it takes. It’s yet another thing you can prioritize and take advantage of.

Connect

Remember, I’m always looking for feedback, comments and suggestions on how I can make this podcast better. Just email me at mark@financialclaritypartners.com with your ideas, comments and suggestions.

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Twitter: @MarkSinderson or @PlanWithClarity

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Resource Links

YNAB budgeting software

The best Jerky recipe I’ve tried

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