I learnt a new phrase this week you guys! Hyperbolic Discounting. It’s “the tendency for people to increasingly choose a smaller-sooner reward over a larger-later reward.”
The first thing that came to mind when I learnt it is ‘that’s most of us when it comes to money!’
Which inspired me to write you this piece on things to do to ensure that you become financially successful in 2022 and beyond.
12 steps to financial success in 2022
1. Get over your negative money emotions
In my first article on this blog, I told a story about a relative who’s super kind to most of my family members. He’s generous with his money and will go out of his way to make sure people are comfortable.
He, however, doesn’t have a grip on his financial life. He once told me that he did not believe in saving, that he believed that through constantly blessing others with what you own, things will eventually work out for you. However mellow that sounds, money doesn’t work that way and he often finds himself struggling to pay his rent and other basic bills in his old age.
Financial therapist Rick Kahler says that “only about 20% of financial planning clients respond to logic and education.”
The other 80% of the population uses emotions to make financial decisions, my relative is in this group.
From my research, almost all of us have a negative money emotion often referred to as money scripts that direct our relationship with money and therefore affect our financial wellbeing.
Some common money scripts include:
- I don’t deserve to be paid so much money. This is common among women.
- Women are terrible with money. Anyone can be terrible with money if they’re not deliberate about learning and talking about money
- Money is bad/evil.
- My riches are in heaven. This is often used as an excuse to impulse buying.
- As long as the money is in my account, I need to spend it.
- I don’t believe in saving. As long as I’m a good person, the universe will take care of me
- It’s not good to talk about money.
- Money will solve all my life’s problems.
These and many more money scripts are what leads to us associating our self worth with our net worth or the size of our paychecks, emotional spending, thinking that buying certain stuff will make us feel better and such behaviours.
In the same article, I also shared that one of the reasons that led me to debt was that as soon as I got my first job, I went on a shoes and clothes shopping spree to compensate what I missed in childhood as I grew up poor.
What negative money emotions do you have?
Is your current relationship with money based on deep self-awareness and deliberate plans or do you depend on external factors to determine how you spend and feel about yourself?
If you don’t get over such negative money emotions, they compound. It leads to debt, gambling, financial enabling, compulsive buying, financial dependency, hoarding, workaholism, financial denial and even financial infidelity.
So one of the things you should do in 2022 to ensure that you experience financial success is to get over these negative money emotions. There are several ways you could do this, the most recommended one is seeing a financial therapist.
Seeing that some of these services such as seeing a therapist are sometimes unaffordable to most of us, I will share what I did to overcome my negative money emotions.
A. Investing in self-awareness through reading.
The more you read personal finance books, the more you become aware of the existence of these conditions. I’m sure by reading this article you’ve learnt something about yourself, which is a great step. You need to take it further by reading more.
With time, I realized that so many people who grew up in similar conditions like me harbour similar self-defeating thoughts. These books also provide solutions.
The first step is always self-awareness.
B. I got comfortable with saying ‘It’s not in my budget.’
Lemme tell you, this one was hard at first. It’s hard because I’d associate it with admitting that I’m broke or poor and just like most people, I associated money with shame and fear.
I’d wonder what other people would think of me (don’t we all) for saying I couldn’t afford to go out and spend $100 per night.
But it gets easier with time. Especially if you have a financial roadmap/goals you’re dedicated to.
Nowadays, I don’t give it a second thought especially if it’s a want.
C. I have a budget and stick to it.
Creating a budget that works is hard for most people because we think budgets are supposed to be like a jail. That a budget is supposed to take away all the fun from our lives.
No, my budget includes a fun/eating out category because as always, I’m the biggest cheerleader of ‘life is for the living.’
I still have some negative money emotions such as financial enabling which means I sometimes put myself in financial risk in order to help others. I’m work in progress. In the new year, I will continue to tackle each of my negative money emotions and be deliberate about overcoming them.
Oh, I found a great free online Money Disorder Assessment test that shows you all your negative money scripts and gives you suggestions on how to get yourself to a healthy relationship with money.
Related read: Is a scarcity mentality keeping you broke?
2. Calculate your net worth
If you’re going to experience financial success in 2022, you’ll need to know your starting point. As the year begins, I hope you have the courage and commitment to sit and answer the question ‘what is your net worth?’
I know that a lot of us think that knowing your net worth is reserved for Jeff Bezos, Oprah and the likes but no, it’s for anyone who makes money.
Calculating your net worth is simply knowing how much your assets are worth and knowing how many liabilities you have and subtracting the two. Getting this starting point, whether it’s a negative or positive number will let you know how you’re doing financially and enable you to make achievable financial goals for the new year.
I wrote an easy step by step guide to help you calculate your net worth here.
3. Write down your smart financial goals
Remember that just saying ‘I know I’m going to be rich’ is not a good enough financial plan. For a long time, I used to be that person. I had this conviction that there’s no way I wasn’t going to end up a multi-millionaire.
I still do have that conviction but this time around, I have a plan on how to get there.
What are your 2022 financial goals? After calculating your net worth, write down your achievable and time-bound goals.
Don’t overwhelm yourself. Overwhelming yourself makes you feel like you’re not making any progress, which will lead you to give up.
It’s better to set one or two goals and keep adding to the list when you achieve them as opposed to setting audacious goals that make you feel worthless if you don’t achieve them.
At the beginning of 2020, I was determined to finish paying my student loan and had decided to be paying $160 per month. Then I reduced that amount because it wasn’t sustainable. As James Clear says…
“Take on manageable challenges and you’ll get frequent signals of progress. Bite off more than you can chew and progress stalls.”
4. How will you improve your income in 2022?
One of the questions I ask myself every end month while reviewing my expenses, is what is the one tangible way I can increase my income in the next 6 months?
Notice that I give myself the gift of time, 6 months. This is enough time to plan, test ideas, execute, experience some results. And since I ask myself this question every month, I’m always reviewing my progress and swiftly moving on from ideas that are not working.
In 2020, I increased my income in two ways;
I became a personal finance coach.
I help people who:
- are struggling with debt
- are unable to make budgets that work
- want to grow their savings
- want to improve the quality of their lives and
- people who are looking to diversify their investment portfolio
to attain financial freedom by offering personalized financial coaching.
I made money through affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is selling other people’s products.
One of the easiest ways to improve your income in 2022 is through consulting which simply involves providing professional advice to people based on your area of expertise.
Here is a guide on how to increase your income streams.
5. Consider hiring a financial advisor
A lot of us are willing to go to a dentist when we have a toothache, pay a mechanic when your car breaks down, pay a gym instructor when you want to lose weight but when you ask them to do the same with their money, it’s a big NO!
Well, money is like oxygen. It’s part of your everyday life. People who are financially illiterate are more likely to live paycheck to paycheck, not have an emergency fund, get into debt, are charged higher interest rates because yeah, financial institutions take advantage of them.
Seeing that money controls almost all aspects of our lives, you should have a goal to get over your negative money emotions and get financially literate so that you learn how to make more out of your money.
One way to do this is by hiring a financial advisor. Yes, you can learn to DIY but not all of us enjoy learning about investing and interest rates and how inflation affects our net worth. So instead of losing your money through making bad financial decisions and wasting time while at it, consider hiring an advisor.
I do it too, and it’s worth every penny.
6. Have a debt payment plan
You might have gone into debt in 2021 to stay afloat, which is okay. But since these debts accrue interest rates whether we get them when happy or sad, come up with a plan on how to pay off the debt.
Again, come up with a feasible repayment plan but don’t overwhelm yourself like I wanted to do with my student loan.
7. Come up with your WHY
Why do you want financial success?
One of the reasons we get sucked into lifestyle inflation (your cost of living increases when your income increases) and lifestyle hyperinflation (Increasing your standard of living without increasing your income) is because when it comes to our money, we’re like a flag on a windy day. We go whichever direction the wind blows.
When your friends upgrade their furniture, you want in. When your friend invests in x, you want in. When people are moving neighbourhoods, you do the same. When the new iPhone hits the market, you’ve got to own it.
It’s a series of dumb money moves.
With the new year, we’ve got to stop. One excellent way to do this to have a self-reflection session with yourself. You need to have a strong ‘why’ to avoid the same mistakes you’ve been making.
It’s almost impossible to not compare ourselves with other people but why is having healthy financial habits important to you? Why do you want to get wealthy?
I have 2:
- I have been poor before. I do not want to taste poverty 2.0
- I want to always be 100% financially responsible for myself.
If you have a strong enough why, and you constantly remind yourself why it matters, it’ll be harder to get trapped. It’s even more powerful when you write it down in your journal.
“People who live far below their means enjoy a freedom that people busy upgrading their lifestyles cannot fathom.” — Naval
8. Start your investing journey
It’s time for #newyearnewyou financially. Decide how much money you’ll be setting aside per month to start investing.
And as always, I’ve got you. I wrote how to invest in your 20s (the best beginners guide!) that covers where to invest, how to invest and of course, my best book recommendations.
9. Review your investment portfolio
If you’re already an investor, it’s time to review your investments.
A lot of us invest but don’t actively manage our investments. It’s time to ask for statements from companies you invest with, time to review their management charges, time to get better deals, to fire your portfolio managers if they’re not keeping their end of the deal.
And it’s also time to read the four golden rules of investment management.
10. Be prepared for the worst possible scenario
The pandemic won’t be over as soon as we start the new year, but I do hope and pray that it does!
It’s possible that things might get tougher. What can you do? I always advocate for calling out the government coz these guys are clearly in the business of messing us up and choking us with taxes. Your financial situation has got more to do with the system than your choices.
11. Manage your social media use
I’m not going to tell you to delete your social media accounts. I’m sure you’ve heard enough of that plus if you’ve watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix, you know.
What I’ll suggest is find smart ways to protect your attention from these multinationals who are in the business of selling your attention.
One way I do this is through creating lists on Twitter. Twitter is the only social media I use (well, and also WhatsApp) and to be honest, it’s starting to be overwhelming with the ads, suggestions of people I should follow and tweets of people I don’t follow but Twitter thinks it might be interesting to me.
I learnt a trick. Create lists of topics that you’re interested in then add the people who tweet the best stuff about that particular topic. I have 4 lists so far on Twitter.
- Personal Finance. The learning never ends!
- Power tweets. For people who tweet powerful stuff that makes me addicted to Twitter.
- Writing. We’ve got to improve the craft!
- The revolution. You’ve got to stay woke!
Why create Twitter lists? You get to avoid ads!!! And, you get to use Twitter to grow your knowledge by only seeing tweets from people in your list.
You can follow my lists btw. Yeah, you’re welcome.
12. Release the stress and tension
A friend shared this free course that takes you through a series of exercises to help you release the stress, tension and anxiety that we’ve all accumulated for the past 2 years!
The most awesome part is these guys created this course to help the world reduce the stress caused by the pandemic. How sweet! I’m already taking the course and yoh, my zen game is top-notch!
Financial success is primarily the result of doing something about your financial situation. You have control over your financial situation. Be deliberate and intentional about doing something about it, however small.
Which of the 12 financial success tips will you do before the new year? Leave a comment in the comment section, I might volunteer to keep you accountable 😉
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