Personal finance YouTuber Nischa said, “How you spend money is heavily influenced by what others say and do, so one of the best things you can do for your finances is carve out what your ideal financial life looks like. Having clarity on why you work so hard and what you are working towards means you can make conscious decisions and ruthlessly cut back on spending elsewhere.”
The key to success in personal finance is to remember that it’s personal. Your financial journey is unique to you. With that being said, it can be challenging to ignore outside influences when it comes to spending money and organizing our finances. When trying to plan your ideal financial life, you’re going to face numerous obstacles. This is why we will look at how you can plan your ideal financial life based on expert advice. Here are five guiding tips.
Decide What Your Ideal Life Looks Like
Before you can work toward creating your ideal financial life, it’s essential that you figure out what this looks like. Here are a few considerations about your ideal financial life:
- Do you want to rent or own?
- Do you want to focus on paying debt off or building wealth?
- Do you know what matters to you most?
- Do you want to live in the city, or would you prefer a more rural community?
- Do you want to find meaningful work or are you looking to maximize your income?
- Do you want to regularly donate to charitable causes?
All of the experts that we spoke with for this piece brought up the idea of deciding what your ideal financial situation looks like. Now it’s time to share more specific tips and expert advice on making this happen.
Find Inspiration From Others Living Your Ideal Financial Life
“If you want to lead a more financially secure and responsible life, follow others who are doing the same,” shared Vee Weir, founder and owner of Vee Frugal Fox. “Add creators and educators to your social media, your library, and maybe even your social circle that align with the life you want to have. Scrub the same things of negative influences that may be keeping you stuck. These external variables matter when it comes to mindset and your money.”
Once you decide what your ideal financial life looks like, you will want to find those who inspire you so that you can ignore those who don’t share similar values with you. The easiest way to do this is to find creators and communities with people already living your ideal financial life. The good news is that there’s an online community, social media hashtag, or movement for every kind of desired financial lifestyle.
Vee concluded with these insights on finding inspiration for your ideal financial life. “As humans, we cannot completely separate ourselves from comparison. It’s in our nature to look at our neighbor as a metric for our own success and position in life. So instead of completely ignoring outside influence, try being more intentional with who influences your day-to-day.”
The best way to ignore outside influences on your financial habits is to cut out those who don’t share similar values as you. You don’t want to be influenced by the wrong type of messaging.
Find Ways To Enjoy Yourself While Still Saving
“There are ways you can conservatively put money to the side for lifestyle while putting money away for your financial future,” expressed Chris Corinthian, founder of FinLit University and @theFinLitGuy on Instagram. “For example, you can modify the 70/20/10 principle of budgeting. In this budgeting principle, 70% of your income goes to your needs, 20% to saving and investing, and 10% to charity. One modification you can make is to bring your needs to under 50% of your income. This way, you can take the remaining 20% left over from that to go towards lifestyle (or what I like to call ‘play money’ personally.”
This brings up a valuable point about personal finance and planning your ideal financial life. You should always consider setting aside funds to treat yourself so that you don’t feel restricted. Since it’s your ideal life, you can dictate what kind of activities will bring you joy, from playing sports to frequent family vacations.
Prioritize Value-Based Spending
“We lean in hard on value-based spending while knowing that how we choose to spend our money will look different than how others spend theirs,” according to financial coaches Haley and Justin at Price of Avocado Toast. “This is a really hard thing to do for most folks because we all want to be accepted by our loved ones. However, at the end of the day, they are not the ones paying your bills.”
It’s essential to remember that your ideal life should be based on your values. As tempting as it is to follow the crowd or to do what your parents want you to do, you have to stay true to yourself if you’re going to find true joy. Your financial life should be based on your values so you don’t feel like you’re not true to yourself. This is why it’s critical that you take the time to figure out your values before engaging in any financial planning.
Learn How To Unplug From Distractions
“With all of the outside influences skewing your view of ‘what’s normal, contentment in your ideal financial life can be difficult,” shared Andy Hill, family finance coach at Marriage Kids and Money. “Mainstream media, advertising, and social media can fill up our brains with so many counterpoints to what we determine is best for ourselves. If you’re feeling this way, fight back by limiting your exposure to this type of media as much as possible.”
Hill believes that you should unplug from distractions so that you’re not being constantly bombarded with advertising and options for spending your money. The truth is that social media and smartphones have made it easier than ever to spend money because you can have anything you desire delivered to your doorstep within a few clicks.
What does Hill suggest that you do? “Personally, after my work day is done, I put away my phone in an ‘Unplug box’ away from me and my family until the next morning. Do I do this everyday? No, but setting the intention has helped me to decrease my screen time (and exposure to too many consumeristic messages) substantially.”
Hill finds it helpful to put his phone away to spend quality time with his family, and you may agree with this philosophy. The goal is to find your own unique way of unplugging from outside influences to ensure that your ideal life is what you want it to be.
When planning your ideal financial life, it’s critical that you start by determining what this means to you. It’s challenging to work toward financial goals when you’re unsure what you want your life to look like. Once you figure out what your ideal financial life should look like, you can start following creators and joining communities with like-minded people.
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