No matter where you are right now with your personal finances, here are six things you need to start doing TODAY.

  1. Pay $100/month extra on any non-mortgage debt
    • The median household income is roughly $65,000. $100/month represents less than 2% of that amount. You won’t notice the difference
      • Why? Having non-mortgage debt payments hinders your ability to save and invest dollars for your future spending goals. Big time. Eliminate 100% of that debt. Now.
  2. Increase your long-term investing amount by 1% of your income
    • Just like above, you won’t notice 1%. Many Americans misplace 1% of their income each year
      • Why? If you increase your long-term investing amounts by 1% every single year, you will end up with tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars of additional retirement savings. The power of compounding is amazing.
  3. Pay cash for all non-necessities for ONE MONTH
    • Tons of research suggests that we spend (significantly) less when we use the little green pieces of paper with presidents’ faces on them, versus those slick, shiny plastic devices that come from those big, beautiful, and fancy buildings in big cities: credit cards.
      • Why? If you use a credit card for $1,000/month of expenses on average, research says you will spend between $150 – $250 less on those same items if you use cash. Massive savings in a short amount of time. Enough savings to complete items 1 and 2 from above perhaps…
  4. Write down three financial goals…and place them on your bathroom mirror
    • Any three. It could be as simple as “I will not hit the drive-thru on my way home from work this week.” Or, as long-term as “I will accumulate $2,000,000 for retirement by the time I am 60.” Pick three and write them down.
      • Why? For goals to have impact, they need to be in writing. If they are in writing, it is a constant reminder of what you are working towards…and if you are looking at the main person responsible for the success of those goals (you in the mirror) then you have a built-in accountability partner.
  5. Find one highly-recommended book and read it this month
    • One of the traits of successful people is an excellent reading habit. According to research from Ramsey Solutions, the average American millionaire reads two or more books each month. And, they aren’t reading the latest vampire or wizard-themed fiction work. Sorry. There is nothing wrong with a light fiction novel, as long as you are feeding yourself something with more meat on a regular basis.
      • Why? Modeling habits after successful people is an excellent idea. Reading is much like working out: we know it is good for us and nothing stops us from doing it. Below I listed a small sample of the benefits of reading regularly:
        1. Mental stimulation
        2. Stress reduction
        3. Knowledge/education
        4. Vocabulary expansion
        5. Memory improvement
        6. Improved writing skills
        7. Improved focus and concentration
  6. Find a good personal finance blog to follow and commit to not only reading everything on there, but also to applying what you read for a period of time
    • You don’t know what you don’t know. I don’t know what I don’t know. It’s good to admit that and see what experts in certain areas have to say about their topics.
      • Why? We are all gifted in certain areas and it would be silly for us not to take advantage of each other’s gifts. More importantly, we will not see any changes in our personal financial life, if we don’t commit to trying something different. I’m giving you that opportunity. I’ll do the heavy-lifting and come up with the ideas to help you focus. All you have to do is say yes.