Five steps to financial success

Author: Daniel Brown


I’ve been involved in and operating Financial Planning practices for over 16 years, meeting with clients in Sydney, Central Coast and Newcastle and one of the most common goals is to achieve financial freedom.

While financial success will look different to everyone, I believe we have common themes among those clients who have achieved financial success, including clearly defined goals, owning assets that are aligned to their goals and having a team of experts to support them along the journey.

Our financial outcomes are generally a reflection of our own money beliefs or values that are entrenched in us from a very young age (courtesy of our parents) therefore, we just continue to replicate the same experiences.

However, you can do it differently. I believe there are five fundamental steps to implement, to change your outcome and provide the greatest opportunity for financial success.

1. Mindset – a direct reflection

We have had many different experiences in our lives that have led us to our current decision-making process.

Take some time to reflect on why you have chosen the path to your current position and how you would like to see it change in the future.

As an example, if you choose to spend every dollar you earn and complain about having no money left over, what are your beliefs around the money you receive and why do you continue to spend it all and create the same patterns? If you elect to retire and follow this path, it’s likely you will spend all your wealth and create exactly the same outcome.

Our past impacts our future. A mindset or feeling that there’s ‘not enough’ can be driven by the generations before us. Acknowledge that if we set goals with this mindset we will only have just enough or place limitations on what is achievable, e.g. “When we can save enough money to book a holiday, we will find something affordable”.

Creating the opposite of scarcity, abundance, means changing your belief system through creating a new experience, to reinforce your new belief of no limitations!

2. Beliefs = your projection

Our belief system is like a projector screen of our past. Alter the slide on the projector screen to change the vision for your future.

Our language is generally a direct reflection of our thought process. Write down your current goals and look for anything that seems limiting or restricting on what you would really like to achieve.

One of the best tools I utilise with clients when establishing goals and supporting the change to their beliefs (that you can replicate), is to start by removing timeframes from your goals, write the actual goal as it will occur and attach the feeling you will have once you have attained it.

For example, “I want to buy an investment property next year” compared with “we will buy the ideal property, in our preferred location and at the price we can afford”.

Remaining motivated and disciplined is far easier when you already believe your goal will be achieved.

3. Responsibility – owning your choices

One of the best pieces of advice I received was to complete a yearly plan for yourself that includes family, wealth, business and personal goals; then ask your partner to do the same and ensure you have alignment on all aspects of your life.

When you have alignment between you and your partner, it ensures the decision-making process throughout the year is simple, easy and that you are both on the same page. Ideally, it will remove the blame from any future discussions and sets clear expectations that have been communicated and agreed upon.  

I have completed this process for the last 4 years and just completed it again this year. What I have come to appreciate is that most of the goals are achieved due to the communication and decision-making processes of both partners being organised and consistent.

4. Accountability         

Accountability starts with you and making daily choices to influence your outcomes or goals. Your beliefs and behaviour are heavily related to the likelihood of achieving your goals. Create some new routines, listen to or read material that supports the changes you’re making.

Break down the steps involved in reaching your goal and get started by preparing your action list.

Three key tips to support implementation:

  1. Share your goals with someone: whether it be a partner, colleague, friend or mentor that will support you to remain accountable and build a process for updating/checking in that keeps you on track to achieve your goals.

  2. Make it personal, really personal: e.g. I will get out of bed at the same time every day (great for routine) and spend 30 minutes reading about how to develop or be better at my role, which will in turn help support or provide for the business and my family.

  3. No excuses: excuses come from not taking responsibility for your actions.

The world’s most financially successful people form routines and habits that make them efficient, accountable and facilitate continuous learning and growing.

5. Acknowledgement

We are taught from a very young age that if you do good, you will be rewarded. Unfortunately, for a lot of people this becomes ingrained and they seek evidence of the goal being achieved before they get started.

It is hard to remain focused on achieving goals unless there is a worthwhile reward. We are used to this reward system and seek evidence to support our belief.

I find that the clients who achieve goals and remain focused for a long period of time have one common characteristic – a reward system that supports their belief process.

This could be as simple as reaching a milestone like $10,000 in the bank and then having a night at the movies, or something bigger, like a holiday once you pay off the mortgage.

Setting milestones and rewards is vital to achieving all of your goals.

Implementation of the five steps for success starts with taking action. Book a complimentary financial planning meeting with one of our Advisers who are goal setting specialists.

Make your goals part of your financial plan but not your only plan!

Book a complimentary financial planning meeting with one of our goal setting specialists.

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