A poll conducted by Global Strategy Group, a Democratic polling firm and North Star Opinion Research, a Republican group, found that 31% of Americans say they’re worse off financially than they were two years ago, while 33% reported no change in their financial position since January 2017.
I’m not a gambling woman, but I’m willing to bet that those poll respondents also never tried to do anything different with their finances since 2017. The thing is, even if you decide not to change your habits and make saving, investing and perhaps side hustling for additional income a priority. it is going to be painful when you realize the world around you is always changing and forcing cost of all things to trend upward.
Today, if you find yourself in the percentage of people that are financially stagnant or worse off today than you were two years ago, I would like to offer you a couple of solutions.
When I was financially stagnant, it was because I made excuses for why I needed to spend whatever I managed to save. And what did I know about investing? Not much. I’ve since learned that ignorance is a great, if not the greatest, excuse wrapped in a lie for not doing better.
If you are reading this you are living in “The Information Age.” There is no other time in the history of this planet that detailed information has been so easily accessible.
I remember craving a raise from my employer because I wanted to have more money. I also remember when I realized that I had the power to create more money in my life and give myself the raise or bonus I wanted by making better choices. I deserved a raised, but I didn’t have to wait for anyone to grant it to me.
David Bach inspired me to make my first investment. At the end of his book, Smart Women Finish Rich, he listed all the various types of investments from the safest to the riskiest. I chose one of the safest at the time, U.S Savings Bonds.
I decided I was going to put action behind all the information gleaned from that book. I logged on to Treasury Direct and set up an automatic $25 bi-weekly deposit. Halfway through the year, I noticed the interest that my bonds were making and decided to increase the amount I was putting in.
By the end of the year, I was looking at nearly $1,700.00. It was the bonus that I had given to myself! It was the result of a good choice. I was going into the new year $1,700 richer and I was hooked. And just like that, my financial position had changed in 10 short months.
I think you can be stuck or stagnant for a season. But if you allow yourself to be stuck for two years, that’s a rut. You alone, have the power to make dramatic changes in your life, financial and otherwise.
Start small. Whatever you endeavor to do, whether it’s debt reduction, weight loss or building wealth, you probably need to start small. Be consistent. You must take that first small step over and over again, consistently. Push yourself to do a little more each time. If you’ve mastered consistency of your first step, you will have the confidence and motivation to take bigger more demanding strides toward your goal(s).
I’d also like to offer another hack. Don’t wait until January to get started, get started now with the changes you want to see in your life. I no longer wait until January 1st to increase the automatic deductions in my portfolio. I start in December, increasing all the automatic deductions in my portfolio between 2%-5%. This gives me 30 additional days to get acclimated. And psychologically I feel as though I’ve been given a head start on my goals for following year.
Remember. It is a fight to build wealth no matter where you are in the process. Everything around us conspires to take money out of our hands. But you must fight the good fight. Continue to save, invest, and grow your net worth even when it seems impossible. Save your pennies (copper) until they become dollars (cotton).