If You Don't Like Your Financial Past, Create a New One
This is for the person who can look in the mirror and say, “I have messed up my financial life!”
If that’s you, where do you start?
Well, it can seem like the issues are endless… Overspending? maxed out credit cards? a bankruptcy?
So maybe now you want to get out of this hole that you’ve dug for yourself and you really don’t even know-how. Is it even possible?
Yes, it is possible? But is it easy? No.
Let’s start with something that I heard consultant Wayne Cotton say one time, “If you don’t like your past, then fix your present and you’ll have a new past in your future. Just clean-slate it and build a new past by building your present properly.”
Well, you know, that’s not just cute words. It’s pretty profound advice.
Anyone with a traumatic past (self-induced or not) can become fixated on that past, to the detriment of both their present and their future. Our unconscious selves may even demand a prison term of forced regret to pay for our past financial sins. The problem is no one ever told your unconscious self just how long this season of sorrow is supposed to last.
So, let’s try another method…
- Recruit a partner or a coach. You’re about to go on a long journey, much of it retracing the steps of how you got there, in order to create your new past. Well, most of us will need help with both direction and determination. You’re going to need to get someone in your life, either professionally or relationally, that is 100% for you and will help you stay on course.
- Look at the past one last time…but to learn. You get one last shot to talk and think a lot about what you did wrong. Only this time, you and your coach are going to leave off the blame game. This post-mortem process is solely for the purpose of learning what you did wrong, so that we won’t repeat the same mistakes in the future.
- Give yourself permission to move on. Once you’ve looked back to learn, leave it. Leave your past to the past and give yourself permission to move on. You may need to seek forgiveness from others that you’ve hurt. Go ahead and do that, and it’ll no longer have such power over you.
- Stop bleeding by fixing urgent problems. Personal finance 101 says that you gotta start spending less than you make. You and your coach will have to work on a plan to lower your expenses, stabilize (or maybe even increase!) your income and get your bills paid on time. You may have to work out payment plans with creditors, sell assets or even work overtime. But you don’t just start doing one of those things – you do all the right combination of them as set forth in your plan.
- Start to grow by focusing on important priorities. Once you’ve begun your “crisis containment program,” you need to take the actions that will prevent future crisis and foster future opportunities. That will include protecting yourself, starting to save, and then starting to invest, and staying on track and consistently re-calibrating in light of changing circumstances. This is the proactive and healthy stage that you’ll want to be in for a long, long time.
- Stay consistent by simply not stopping…no matter what. Stuff is just gonna happen. The perfection of your plan on paper is never going to happen just like that in real life. So what? DON’T GET DISCOURAGED AND QUIT. That is not allowed. That’s the main reason for recruiting a coach. When the wheels fall off, put them back on and keep driving. Perfection, that’s not your goal – just persistence.
So, I’m really sorry if you’ve been someone that’s having struggles in your past. But other than what I’ve mentioned above, let’s forget about your past and focus on creating a new past in your future…by fixing your present.
Offering you Wisdom on Wealth, I’m Byron Moore.
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