Clever Economy

5 Small Steps Toward Financial Wizardry

Rome wasn’t built in a day. You don’t become a financial guru overnight, confidently moving money, investing, budgeting, and beating the market. If you want to become a financial wizard, you’ll need to begin making small steps in that direction. It’s all about momentum. You’ll need realistic lifestyle changes which, over time, will change your relationship to money.

1.Picture what “success” actually means

Before the journey begins, before the education and “the grind” hit home, take a minute to sit down and picture where you want to go. If your goal is to “get rich,” I suggest you find a more interesting goal. “Getting rich” isn’t a goal, it’s a lack of imagination. Now, if you really want a fancy boat, a sports car, or to be able to eat out whenever and wherever, now we’re getting somewhere! Do some research. Find out how much your ideal lifestyle, retirement, or trust fund kids actually cost. Don’t just march down the path to financial confidence with some vague idea of having “enough”–thats how people end up wealthy and unhappy! You want to be happy, regardless of whether or not you’re rich. So envision the good life, but only with the things that will actually make you happy, not just a loose collection of rich people things that you’ve been told to desire by the media and advertising.

2.Track your spending

You’ve heard it before. It isn’t sexy–but it’s so, so important. Making a budget isn’t about limiting your spending, and its certainly not an admission that you’re spending too much! You might be living well within your means, comfortable in your spending, and yet making a budget is still an important first step

3.Invest somewhere, somewhere small

You don’t need to have thousands to throw around the stock market, you just need a little bit of money to put into something. If you don’t have the cash to toss around, skip the coffee shop for a few weeks to save a little bit. You can start on apps, like Stash and Robinhood, which provide easy to use interfaces and low capital starting points. The important thing is to get some skin in the game–because once you’ve got a little skin in the game, you’ll start paying attention to the world differently, you’ll start researching and studying. It’s the slight change in perception and the simple research which will launch your journey toward financial wizardry. Every millionaire investor has some story about investing in some small, random stock which started a lengthy, profitable journey!

4.Invest in your financial education

Don’t just google “learn about money” or “how to invest,” make a statement out of it! Go to the bookstore, find a book that looks interesting, and purchase it. Put the book on your coffee table and flip through it. Purchase an online class or sign-up for an educational website. Be willing to spend some money on learning about money. You spend money on fancy coffee at nice coffee shops, so why not spend money on a financial education?! The small decision to pay for your financial education will send the message to yourself that this matters, it’s important, and it’s worth not only your time but your money. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but it needs to be something.

5.Start a folder to keep information

Once you’ve imagined the good life, started a budget, began to invest, and invested in your financial education, it’s time to consolidate the information. You probably don’t want a manilla folder laying around your apartment or house with a bunch of random numbers–but a folder on your computer is a great idea. You can put a journal document with your musings on the good life (so you don’t lose sight of your goals), a spreadsheet with budgeting, pictures of receipts or information, and anything else related to your financial wizardry.

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