In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Alma teaches his son Helaman that “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6). This truth can also be used as a guide to the personal changes we decide to make in 2019. The month of January can be a time for self-reflection and an opportunity to consider starting—or stopping—some of the small and simple things in our daily routines. Before beginning the year by jumping into a large and complex fitness-centered goal, it may be of long-term value to pause and attempt some smaller and simpler changes. These two easy suggestions can help you begin the process of building a more attentive, stronger, and healthier you.
One of the most precious gifts we have been given is the gift of agency. Besides being a gift, it is also a responsibility. As you take your agency and apply it to the following simple yet powerful principles, you will not only be financially healthy, but will be financially thriving.
Sound financial habits will enable you to live a financially healthier life. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and exercising daily are the staples of a healthy physical lifestyle. Likewise, to be financially healthy and thriving, you must employ healthy principles concerning your money. A monthly spending plan, being accountable towards your plan, and making smart financial goals are the staples of a healthy financial lifestyle.
Develop a Monthly Spending Plan
Setting and following a monthly spending plan is the most important thing you will ever do for your long-term financial independence and well-being. To accomplish this, figure out where and on what you are spending your money by reviewing each of the last three to six months of expenses, and classifying them into categories like rent, groceries and dining. Once you do this, average them out to get a picture of how much you spend in each category. Create a monthly budget based on your averages in each category, and stick to your spending limits.
The biggest reason people fail in achieving the most meaningful things in life is because they fail to be accountable. Shortly after setting a goal, motivation may diminish, and soon that very meaningful goal set days earlier is forgotten. To overcome this, report your goals to someone you trust, and set rewards for yourself as milestones are reached along the way. This is a key and oft overlooked step in obtaining those meaningful results we all seek to achieve in our lives.
Set Short and Long Term Financial Goals
Once you have these basic steps down and have done this for six months, you are in the driver’s seat. Obstacles will arise, but you will by this time have the discipline to follow your plan. From this point, set some basic goals like generating emergency savings and paying off debt. Then consider more substantial goals, like a home purchase and retirement savings.
The ultimate goal is to reach retirement age with enough savings to retire. By employing these three financial principles, you may not have to rely on social security when you do retire, and will be set up to live financially free. Many will be forced to keep working past retirement age. By following these basic principles, you may continue to work past retirement age, not because you have to, but because you want to. This is one of the many ways to define financially thriving.