Building wealth is a progressive realisation of your financial goals…

Unfortunately along the way, it is not always clear what you should be doing with your money. And worse, you will find your money management activities are mostly focused on solving your most urgent financial needs instead of taking a step back and changing your financial life for the better, for good. I have outlined 10 immediate activities your money may need now, plus my reasoning behind why each one will make an enormous difference to the financial results you achieve next year. They don’t apply to everyone, so focus on the ones that are for you.

  1. Don’t spend all the money you earn in December, because you know this money is actually meant for your January expenses. Work out the amount of money you need for January and put that aside somewhere safe before the madness begins. I know this is a hard one but unfortunately it’s where most people end their prospects of a good ‘next year’ before it even begins. As my wife says ‘It may be time to put on your big boy panties’.
  2. If you share financial responsibilities with a partner or spouse, commit to sitting down every month before your salaries come in and discuss your expenses for the following month. (Especially January’s expenses, now) This way you will not be caught off guard and put pressure on your relationship. Commit to the date now and set a reminder in your calendar for every month going forward.
  3. This December, read either the ‘Richest man in Babylon by George S. Clason’ or ‘Think and grow rich by Napoelon Hill’. Your life will be changed.
  4. Spend some time this December thinking freely about what you want to achieve in your life. This is the one time of the year you will have the headspace to do so and not be spending your time trying to achieve everyone else’s objectives. You will have an amazing year ahead if your activities are focused on your own outcomes. This is not a dress rehearsal; it may be time to find your groove.
  5. If you have kids, sit down with the family and write down what each of you are going to do next year to improve your lives. Think about different areas like financial, spiritual, stress management, health improvements, spending more time together etc. You will not believe the difference it makes when each member of your family understands what everyone is working towards. I do this with my young children and I’m always surprised how connected they are to areas that they know have let them down. Besides being very sweet, you will teach them that we do make mistakes and that a bit of deliberate focus and action will put them on the right track.
  6. If you have debt that has been troubling you (or not), it is time to get rid of it, not time to make matters worse. Do yourself the biggest favour and set your financial goals by compiling a list of everyone you owe money to and how much you are supposed to pay them each month. This is vital information if you want to dump your debt in 2015. Strangely enough, dusting the issue under the rug is much more stressful than knowing what the situation is and dealing with it. Action is the best remedy for fear by the way.
  7. If you want to get rid of this debt and don’t know how, then sign up for our financial education course. In just 6-8 hours you will be equipped with enough skill, knowledge and confidence to tackle this issue. Your same thinking will not solve this problem.
  8. If you are honest with yourself and know you are drowning in debt and don’t know what to do about it then apply for debt management and let professionals help to negotiated your repayments with your creditors and arrange for you to make one simple payment each month. No loans, no nonsense.
  9. Make an appointment to meet with your financial planner early next year to calculate how much money you will need in retirement and how much you will need to save. When you see the amount you need to save, don’t get depressed. Get motivated! This must become your goal! I did this exercise this year and got a big fright but it motivated me to increase the amount I’m investing each month substantially and I did this by cutting some household expenses. A very high percentage of people who work their whole lives and end up with nothing are completely to blame for this outcome. They had the money and time but chose to do nothing.
  10. If you have kids, then involve them in your household discussions about money. You have to teach them deliberately about money. If you miss this opportunity, advertisers and lenders will teach them how to buy now and pay later. If you think they’re expensive now, wait till they leave the house and cause financial chaos.

As a matter of interest, 9 of the above activities applied to me along my way to becoming a skilled money manager and the reasons I’ve provided around each one are the real outcomes I experienced.

The good news is that it’s up to you. The bad news is, it’s up to you.
I wish you a meaningful December and if you are on the roads, travel safe.

Author: Gary Money Coach, The Money School