Life is a puzzle and full of uncertainty.
However, what's really interesting about it is that our decisions and actions have present and future implications.
Such implications could have positive and negative outcomes, not just for us but for those around us.
Last night whilst writing in my journal, I asked myself two questions:
- What is important in my life?
- And what is essential in my life?
I often ask myself these questions when I feel there are many moving parts and I need to cut the noise out.
Both answers had one common element – My financial life.
I even asked myself, what if I lived in another country or continent? Would my financial life still matter?
What if I I didn't have a home, car, children etc?
Although the extent to which my financial life would matter differed with each question, it nonetheless remained important and essential.
Our finances play such a crucial role in everyday life and will for many years to come as we live longer on average and our relationship with money evolves.
It doesn’t exist in a vacuum as we often think but rather it underpins other very important aspects of our lives such as health, relationships, spiritual etc.
The need to design your financial life is necessary if you are to live a sustainable and well-fulfilled life with options to experience life to the full years into the future.
Must Read Book: Designing Your Life.
Our finances are also so important because we have a responsibility for looking out for others in society.
Without a well managed financial life, you will be unable to help others even if your heart desires so.
Related: The Power of Generosity and Why It Pays
Given the huge role our finances play, it is surprisingly often downplayed and shied away from in daily conversations with friends, family, schools and local communities.
[yellowbar]In my experience, the optimal way to live and achieve financial joy is to approach your finances with a design mindset. It is never too late to design a financial life that works for you.[/yellowbar]
This isn’t a domain reserved for the creatives among us, nor do you need to have strong prior financial acumen to take action today.
This is instead an accessible approach to building a financial life that is intentional and coherent with who you are.
The 7 steps below are thought processes you should explore whilst you're zoomed out from the nitty-gritty of your financial life:
1. Think Like A Designer
Designers don’t just think their way forward but instead, they build their way forward.
The latter overcomes the emotional stalemate that arises from overthinking but without taking steps to try stuff out.
Building connects our thinking to the real world. It makes our intangible thoughts and ideas tangible and allows us to make mistakes that we can learn from.
I believe this goes some way towards making us more risk loving and opens our minds up to opportunity.
2. Start Where You Are
The interesting thing about where you are right now with your finances is that it is unique to you only.
The design mindset complements this but before you can move forward, you need to frame where you are right now and spell out what problems you are trying to solve.
Your current financial position could be far from ideal, however, but remember that the process is as important as the destination.
3. Be Curious
Curiosity adds a ‘what if!?’ dimension which is crucial for a well-designed financial life.
Practically this means asking yourself questions outside your immediate comfort zone and boldly pushing doors that might open.
I recently did this when I asked my self, what if we lived in a smaller house? How game changing could that be for our financial life?
This question alone led me to practically explore what living in a smaller house might be like. In particular, how it would help us pursue a more minimalist lifestyle.
4. Try Stuff
Trying stuff is a bias to action, which is a positive attitude towards just doing things without overanalysing or worrying.
I find the acronym ‘ABC’ (Always Be Closing) very useful as it produces a mindset of not only doing things but actually completing them.
Have you been trying to create a budget that works for you? or make money from new sources but haven't quite started yet?
Try something different: How To Start A Profitable Blog (step by step tutorial)
Related: How To Create A Budget That Works For You
5. Reframe Problems
Reframing is where we look at our problems from an entirely different perspective.
Have you ever stood and looked at an object from one direction and yet from another direction and they looked completely different?
The same principle applies to solving our design problems.
For example, rather than believe you want ‘more’ money, for example, it is helpful rather to ask yourself how much money you actually need?
This is a major question on the path to financial independence and how to achieve it.
6. It’s A Process
Being in a good place financially is a process and a journey that changes with every action you take.
Understanding this ensures you don’t lose hope or get too frustrated especially where it might require a lifestyle tweak to get to you to where you want to go.
I decided months ago to take cooked meals from home into the office 4 days a week and eat out once on a Friday.
As frustrating as this might sound, its one in a list of other things I have had to tweak to get the wheels moving in a direction that I desire.
Such marginal gains collectively create a giant force that will help push you towards attaining your desired goals.
Ideas on saving: 50+ Ways To Save Over £10,000 Every Year
7. Ask For Help
Have you flown lately? What was the first thing you did when you landed?
You likely turned your phone on. When you did that, at the top left corner of your phone it would have said “searching”.
Why is that?
Your phone would have been searching for a connection; a connection outside itself because it needs that network to get past its limit.
[redbar]This connection is what we are looking for in life, in business, in relationships, and in our finances. A lot of the time we don’t realise this is what we are searching for, instead we often live our lives as a network to ourselves.[/redbar]
I think one of the big tragedies of our day is that we don’t share our financial problems and lessons learned with others in our network.
Asking for help shouldn’t be one directional but rather a dialogue of shared problems and ideas in a confidential setting.
One of the major beliefs I live by is the need to use what is in your hands to solve your problems.
So much of our time is often focused on chasing the next thing that we forget all about the richness of people and resources we potentially have access to in such a connected world.
Getting to a good place in your finances requires a collaborative effort.
Investing in a coach or mentor is a very good idea for helping you focus on the desired outcome or simply to get unstuck.
Are you ready to go on this journey of transforming how you approach your finances?
If so, please Join the FREE Master Your Money course below, which uses the ideas above to create practical steps you can begin taking today with immediate results.
Do please share this article if you found it useful, and remember, in all things be thankful and Seek Joy.
Anthony Anaka says
Hi Ken, I always enjoy reading your blog.
Point 6 really resonates with me as I’m currently listening to Tony Robin’s (money mastery) allocation of wealth.
According to Einstein “life is like a bicycle, to keep steady, you have to keep riding “.
Thus year I paid 3 times the tax I paid last year do to tax changes that impacted badly on Landlords/ property investors.
The Humble Penny says
Hi Tony, brilliant quote! I’ll look out for Tony’s book/audio. I follow him too but via his podcast and find his work very impactful.
The tax changes you refer to have been brutal and have driven many into considering alternatives to property investing.